Memories of a good first job

We all pass through milestones in our lives, and many change the direction of our lives for better or worse.
You will remember the day you married, the birth of your first child, the death of a parent. All are important days in our lives.
For children, a big event is their first day of school. On that day, parents realize their youngster is growing up. And on their graduation from high school, it is the sudden realization that their child is moving on into the bigger world.
But there also are other great memories that mark our lives. Our first love affair, our first vehicle, and our first job all are memorable marks in our lives.
Often that first job helps us to understand what we like and what we are good at. It teaches us the skills we will need for future jobs.
It even helps us to understand the jobs that we don’t like.
Each October, a week is set aside to recognize newspaper carriers around the world. This Saturday (Oct. 13) is International Newspaper Carrier Day.
I still remember the day I began delivering newspapers. It was Jan. 23, 1962. I had dreamed of being a carrier for years but my parents kept putting me off until they thought I was old enough.
It was a huge day.
Forty years ago, you would receive the Bulletin five days a week and the Times on Thursday.
My route began at the Fort Frances Bakery on Central Avenue, going along both sides of First Street and the avenues between First and Second all the way to the arena.
My brother and I shared the route. He delivered to all the homes on the south side of First while I delivered the homes on the north side of the street and the avenues.
We learned a lot about business. We learned that you had to have the paper delivered on time and that meant by 5:30 p.m. School didn’t let out until 4 p.m. and we had to go from the Robert Moore to the Times office, which back then was located where the Customs building sits today.
Our paper route had more than 130 customers.
It was a black eye to end up with a complaint because every carrier would know you had made a mistake and you would be teased. There was lots of competition between the carriers.
We learned that you had to collect from all your customers and sometimes that meant that you collected from people where they worked, which took you out of your way.
We learned that the best time for collecting was right at the supper hour—between 5 and 6 p.m.—because everyone was home then and you only would have to make a single call.
We also learned about respect and kindness from our customers. They, too, watched out for us.
We delivered papers in the rain, the cold, in snowstorms, and in hot, humid weather. My brother and I collected every week from our customers, and we were invited into their homes.
Today when I walk down First Street, I remember many of those customers who I delivered papers to. They are good memories as they were friends.
It was a good first job.

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