Fond memories being a paper carrier

I am peering out my dining room window and looking south on Victoria Avenue remembering the people who lived along there more than 50 years ago.
They all have moved on, but the kindness they gave me as I delivered the Fort Frances Times to their homes will never be forgotten.
I recall a fierce thunderstorm and Mrs. Osborne told me in no uncertain terms that I had to borrow a raincoat from her to keep from being soaked and to return it the next day.
I recall Mr. Dan Hampshire who lived next door and had begun driving taxi after having returned from the war. He always had the correct change and too great care of his wife who was confined to a wheelchair. The floors in the house shone as brilliantly and the paint on his old car that he kept in car showroom condition.
Next-door was the Hyatt clan a family of all girls. Down from there was the Rev. Kennedy who preached at the Presbyterian Church.
And on the northeast corner was the Manister home. Mr. Manister had been the Esso bulk fuel dealer and I’m told made a fortune delivering oil to build the highway to Kenora.
Across the street was the Ozero home. Mrs. Ozero’s home always had delicious smells, and the wood trim and hardwood floors were grand. You sure didn’t want to step off the floor mat.
As a paper carrier, you never ventured further than the mat at the front door. It was a silent rule that my mother must have instilled in us.
Next to the Ozero home was the home of Woody Hughes, who was the manager of Rainycrest at the time. Barney Maher later purchased the home.
As I venture south on Victoria, Magistrate Cornell occupied the main floor with his wife. His children were all my parents’ age. The Cornells paid for their paper once a year and I never ever ventured inside their home.
The upstairs was rented to various people. The door always was opened to the stairways, and I would climb the stairs to the second and third floors and lay the newspaper in front of the appropriate doors so that there was never any mistake.
A newspaper carrier back then made a fortune every week. My route that I shared with my brother had 135 customers, which would earn us just over $6.25 per week. We didn’t deliver many flyers and the paper was delivered six days a week.
If we ran, we could do the papers in about 40 minutes. It usually took us an hour from the time we picked up our papers at the newspaper office where Canada Customs is now located.
Our route began at the corner of Scott and Central, and then ran all the way down First Street to the arena.
Paper carriers were envied. We always had some spare change to buy a pop or bag of chips although my parents insisted that half of what we earned had to go into savings. Today I still have that four-digit code account at the TD bank.
With our earnings, we were able to buy some of the fashion clothes of the time that my parents felt were foolish. We could indulge ourselves with buying a 45 album for a dollar that the latest pop singer produced.
Don and I believed that anything was possible and the world offered us great opportunities. As a 12-year-old, nothing seemed impossible.

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