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Was Anyone Else a Paperboy?

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Was Anyone Else a Paperboy?

Old 02-18-16, 02:08 PM
  #51  
RonH
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Paperboy? Yep. That's how I got my first bike. It was in 1957? After walking my route for "too many" months I saved enough for a bright red 3 speed from the Montgomery Ward catalog. I rode that bike everywhere. And it was a definite plus with getting the papers delivered.
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Old 02-18-16, 04:33 PM
  #52  
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Coincidentally, I was just thinking about my old paper route last night!

I delivered “The Bulletin” (which eventually folded). I made 2 cents per daily paper and 6 cents per the Sunday paper. I had 44 customers and they were the toughest people on the planet to collect their weekly bill from. I typically had at least 8 to 10 customers that were behind by anywhere from 2 to 5 weeks, so I had to pay their bill every Saturday morning out of my own pocket until I could eventually extract their long overdue payments from them. I only made $3 at Christmas time from those 44 tightwads! Needless to say, I was so glad to finally quite that paper route (though I missed seeing Debbie and Virginia on that route).
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Old 02-18-16, 05:21 PM
  #53  
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In my childhood & tween neighborhoods, paper routes had already long since been taken over by adults in cars.
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Old 02-18-16, 05:50 PM
  #54  
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Those Sunday editions with inserts and rolled in brown wax paper on rainy days, a rubber band on each end, sure made one hell'uva noise when you nailed a front door from the street as you sailed past on a bike. As a diversion I used to fill my mouth with handfuls of sunflower seeds and work them around with by tongue until I had cracked open the seeds one-by-one and spit out all the shells...
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Old 02-18-16, 06:00 PM
  #55  
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I was a media logistics specialist, er, paperboy for the Alton Evening Telegraph for a couple years. It was a fairly small route, I walked it and put papers in/at the doors. Customers loved me!

And before that, I sold Grit newspaper.
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Old 02-18-16, 06:09 PM
  #56  
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Yup, but my routes in the late 1960s were inside multi-story apartment buildings, so it was all walking.
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Old 02-18-16, 06:41 PM
  #57  
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Had a paper route in 1950-51, Los Angeles Times. Had an old Schwinn. Sunday was a pain. Collecting was a pain. But, the biggest pain of all was the Saint Bernard that would chase and try to bite me. That damned dog was as tall as the Shwinn's top tube and he was mean, the only mean St. Bernard I ever met or heard of. Finally cured him with my squirt gun filled with vinegar.

Joe
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Old 02-18-16, 08:07 PM
  #58  
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I was the worst paperboy on the planet. I hated it but inherited from my older brother, who inherited from the next older, etc...

Walked it as it was too steep in my neck of the woods to ride a bike filled with papers. Used to cut thru one back yard and carefully walk around the perimeter of "Mugsy", this huge mongrel mutt who would come charging out of his dog house and get yanked backwards on a truck chain around his neck. Every day I teased that dog by staying just outside his range. Then one day he broke the damned chain and I about pissed on myself, only able to stand there in fear. He just walked up, sniffed me once and went back in his house. I was his best friend after that and petted him every day after.

I used to to get side tracked at a friends house who had a ham radio setup, which I found way more cool then delivering wet papers on a freezing cold rainy fall afternoon, walking dark streets where I knew I was going to get mugged for the $10 I made on collection day. And I just hated the old farts who would claim they would pay me next week. Customers would call my Mom to find out where their friggin paper was at 5PM. She would then call the home of my ham radio buddy to tell me to get a move on.

My route started at 56 customers and dropped to maybe 25 within a year, when I passed it along to a neighborhood friend who is still my best friend, 50 years later. I recall the smell of the papers when they were wet, which was never a good thing as the customer got a freebie and I ate the cost.

I might have started the trend of people finding alternative news sources to a printed paper, TV, radio, Internet at a later date, etc... Once you wean yourself from the printed press you never go back.

Which is is funny as I subscribe to a rag called L.I. Newsday and have done so for 35 years. I don't tip the paper guy having learned to be an old curmudgeon myself.

Last edited by Steve B.; 02-18-16 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 02-18-16, 08:23 PM
  #59  
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Howdy All;

Late 50's early 60's we lived in Princeton, N.J. Had 3 papers weekdays and 2 on the weekends.
N.Y. Times, Philly Inquirer and WSJ. Had (I think), somewhere near 40 to 60 customers, some took all 3
some 2 and the others only 1. Housing developments (sub-divisions), were the rage and it sure kept me busy.
Hated going through the "in the building process" sections as flats were common. I remember asking my Pop to
pick-up a new tube for me once ... he asked why I didn't peddle my but to the hardware store / bike shop.
When I held up a tube that was entirely covered with a least one layer of patches he said ok ...
I think the bike was a Cambridge form the mid 50's It was bought large and used so I could "grow into it". Think
it was 1.5 to 2 years before I could keep in contact with the peddles all the way through the circle of travel.
As I earned money I could get "improvements", ditched the canvas bags and got some wire panniers for the rear.
Would make the morning run then off to school. after school had some more to deliver then home. No truly large hills,
some grades to pull but nothing to write home about. Did it till they sent me off to school in '62.

hank

PS. Ok, did some searching and there wasn't a Cambridge Bike made, must have been a Raleigh,
as Pop was happy it was 'English', and a 3 speed.

Last edited by hankaye; 02-19-16 at 09:21 AM. Reason: Add PS.
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Old 02-18-16, 08:36 PM
  #60  
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I was a paperboy for 2 years in grammar school (7th and 8th grades). I had a morning and an afternoon route. 40 papers in the morning 75 in the afternoon. About half my morning route was in a residential hotel. My afternoon route was all over town. I absolutely HATED Sundays!
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Old 02-18-16, 08:56 PM
  #61  
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I had a paper route for 3 years, and that paper route paid for two different bikes. The first was a gas pipe Murray 10 speed, and my first LBS bike a couple of yrs later, a Coventry Eagle.

I'll bet most kids these days have never even heard of paperboys.
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Old 02-18-16, 09:13 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by Wileyrat View Post

I'll bet most kids these days have never even heard of paperboys.
My daughter, now in her 30's,was the last kid carrier for the Alameda (Ca.) Times-Star. She was 12-13 at the time.
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Old 02-18-16, 09:24 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
I was the worst paperboy on the planet.
I may not have been the worst, but had a morning route and was always the latest. Never did like getting up early.
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Old 02-19-16, 07:07 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by mobilemail View Post
I was a media logistics specialist, er, paperboy for the Alton Evening Telegraph for a couple years. It was a fairly small route, I walked it and put papers in/at the doors. Customers loved me!

And before that, I sold Grit newspaper.
Was that the Alton Illinois Evening Telegraph? I was just down the road from you. I delivered the Granite City paper. Can't remember the name. My buddy made the "big bucks". He delivered the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
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Old 02-19-16, 07:26 AM
  #65  
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That's the one! My home town. I believe they claim to be one of the oldest papers in the country in continuous circulation, and academics reportedly love to use their archives. David Herlehy (sp) used it extensively when researching "The Lost Cyclist".
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Old 02-19-16, 12:53 PM
  #66  
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I must have been one dumb, stupid kid. What's with all these 'rear racks' and 'baskets' you guys are talking about? All I had were those huge canvas bags with straps that I'd wind several turns around the handlebar grip to keep them from sliding off, or sliding down to the goose neck. Thank goodness there wasn't any OSHA around those days, else they would have put a stop to that post haste. The bags just hung loose from the tops of the handlebars and sometimes rubbed on the tires.

From the age we were first allowed to be paper boys until high school track and field interfered with afternoon deliveries, I delivered the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. Since the L.A. Times was the morning paper, the Herald was the afternoon paper. I loved Saturdays! The paper was so thin that they folded easily and packed tightly. Only problem is that they didn't toss as far because they weren't very heavy. I absolutely hated Sundays. The Sunday paper was so thick that I could only deliver half my route, then have to go home to pack up the other half, and head out to deliver them.

But in one regard, I really did love the Sunday delivery because the city was MINE! There was nobody out and about. I owned the city. For awhile in high school, I delivered the Montrose Ledger. It was only a twice-weekly local paper and it wasn't as much 'fun' delivering that, and by that time, other things commanded my interests.

I think I made about $32 a month and usually purchased all of my own clothes with the money. Not sure how that happened. Maybe I just got tired of wearing hand-me-downs all the time.

I think I used two different bikes during those times. At first, a black three-speed Strumey-Archer with fenders. So, it must have been a Raleigh. Later on, I used a Sting Ray.

Last edited by volosong; 02-19-16 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 02-19-16, 04:31 PM
  #67  
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To Beatle Bailey . . .
Linotype operator?

Was a printer for about 20 years and among other things ran a Linotype. Finally was fast enough to 'hang the elevator' and even did stereotyping and making pigs for the lino.
A 4-year GI-Bill apprenticeship that got me the coveted ITU union card at twice the pay!
Yes, did have a paper route in the late 1940s for the long-ago defunct Detroit Times.
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Old 02-19-16, 06:46 PM
  #68  
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I substituted one day for my stepbrother when I was living in Whittier, CA. That was enough. It was also the day of the Jonestown massacre. . .
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Old 02-19-16, 06:49 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by mobilemail View Post

And before that, I sold Grit newspaper.
Someone actually sold Grit? I remember always seeing the ads looking for people to sell Grit, but never actually saw a copy or heard of anyone who actually sold it.
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Old 02-19-16, 06:51 PM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by beatle bailey View Post
on a rural Iowa route by auto......but when I was younger I worked as a Linotype operator for a couple of newspapers, one was the Des Moines Register, Des Moines, IA and the other was the Albuquerque Journal-Tribune, in Albuquerque, NM....that was some of the best years of my life.
Used to love to watch the presses through the picture windows downtown Des Moines.

80 papers, one high-rise, 15 minutes, but I did ride my bike to the building. Bought a Sunfish sailboat with the money.
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Old 02-19-16, 07:16 PM
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Nashville Tennesean - about 1964 + 1965. A smallish route, 60-70ish papers, if memory serves.
Maybe $25 per month, after supporting the deadbeats who wouldn't pay.
I had a good sized apt complex (maybe 20 papers) on the route which was excellent for speed & bad for collections.

After that job was Sat. work at the A&P grocery for $1.62 per hour.
More monthly income and a ton less effort.

edit: yeah - zombie thread from 10 years ago = How did I miss it the 1st time around?
And I too delivered with a bike, the family balloon tired POS with basket on the front. Wed was ad day and required 1 over-the-shoulder bag. Sunday required 2 shoulder bags and was a bit_h riding the two moderate hills. I could roll 'em real tight when I had to. What kept me at it for almost 2 years was that the pick-up point was only 1/2 block from the Krispy Kreme Donut Shop. What a smell at 5am on a crisp cold morning!
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Old 02-19-16, 07:17 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by HopedaleHills View Post
Was Anyone Else a Paperboy?
Does this answer your question?


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Old 02-19-16, 08:18 PM
  #73  
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I can still fold a paper proper for throwing with no thought at all and my left ankle tied up behind my back. My biggest long lasting memory from those days is delivering papers the morning after the first Sputnik launch....thought of that often after I ended up in the overhead business.
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Old 02-19-16, 08:34 PM
  #74  
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I was. Delivered the Boston Herald American. (Now, just "The Herald") Boston used to have the Herald, Boston Globe, Record American, and The Traveler.
I did my route on a small coaster brake bike. Not bad money for some riding and a little manual labor. I did this into high school. Then I stopped and worked on
Saturdays at the agency office, assembling the Sundar papers. This was called "subbing". No idea why it was called that. We simply inserted the editorial
sections into the comic and ads section, wire-tied them in bundles of 20, and stacked them for morning pick by the drivers. The paper boys would do the final
assembly of the new sections, before delivery. Not a bad day's pay for a few hours of manual labor, and us high school age males had some fun on the job.

Bought a nice, all metal, Pickett Slide Rule with some of my earnings. Yep, I still have it. How many calculators have ended their existence in a landfill
in this time? Who knows?

Paperboys are surely just one of those things that are a lost part of Americana. You will not see them again.
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Old 02-20-16, 07:10 AM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
Someone actually sold Grit? I remember always seeing the ads looking for people to sell Grit, but never actually saw a copy or heard of anyone who actually sold it.
I think I must have been the last of the breed. I got started by actually responding to the ad, I never knew anyone else doing it. Several of my customers (mostly older folks) said they had sold Grit as a boy, which had probably been in the 30s or 40s. Didn't pay a lot because it was weekly, but they actually had a good program for tutoring young salesmen. With a little mentorship and guidance, it could give a motivated student some lifetime skills in sales.

Sadly, I was not really guided or motivated, and ditched that gig as soon as I got my daily route. (A motivated kid would have done both! :-) )
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