Delivering memories

It was a cold day on January 23, 1962 when my brother Don and I took over our paper route from the Burrell sisters. The route had 123 customers and ran from Central Avenue to the arena. We had one day to learn the route and then we were on our own.
My mother had dressed us in lined corduroy pants and we had long underwear on. My father had insisted on buying the two of us felt boots that we wore underneath rubber zippered galoshes. Each of us had a new paper bag to carry our papers.
The newspaper building was located where today’s customs building is now found on street. School let out at four in the afternoon and we had to run to the building to pick up our papers. We were jealous of the kids attending St. Mary’s because they were out 15 minutes ahead of us as were the high school students. You had to wait in line in the order you arrived to receive your papers in the small carrier room in the basement of the Times.
That first month, we did our papers in darkness. Most days we got home around six in the evening. The first week, we did miss a few houses and would learn about it the next day and my father insisted that we would go to the home, knock on the door and apologize for missing the paper and offer the previous day’s edition to our customer. Seldom after did we ever miss a paper. Customers knew our name and if a paper was missed would call our home and I would go back after supper and deliver the paper.
Friday night and Saturday morning we would go and collect 15 cents from each customer for delivery. And after collecting on Saturday morning, we would pay our bill at the front counter of the newspaper before picking up our Saturday Bulletin and delivering the papers
It was tough for a nine and eleven year old knocking on doors asking people to pay their bill. Often a customer would not have the 15 cents and they would ask us to come back a second or third time.
Over time, we got to know all of our customers and today as I walk down First Street, I can point out the various home by the owners from the 1960’s. The lessons I learned by being a newspaper carrier have served me well through my life. Being courteous, dependable, honest, and appreciative of the way I was treated, I used through my career. Apologizing for mistakes has always helped diffuse anger. I was a carrier for four years, before I began working part time at the newspaper. My brother continued for another two years.


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