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Was Anyone Else a Paperboy?

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Was Anyone Else a Paperboy?

Old 03-10-16, 08:44 AM
  #101  
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Delivered the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle for three horrendous years in the early 60s. Used to get up around 6:00am and do half my route in one direction, come back and refill my rear baskets and do the other half of the route in the other direction. It was a 26" five speed bike, Huffy I think. With chrome baskets it must have weighed well over 35lbs and then the weight of the papers. I was under 100 lbs and 5'3. I have no earthly idea how I did that...except youth means a lot. The worst days were Sunday because the papers were three times the size and Thanksgiving papers bigger and heavier still. Also, the salt on the roads would muck up the chain and shifters and we would have to take the bike to the bike shop to get it all cleaned out and re-adjusted. Boy, was that a hassle.

This was back when Rochester, NY had LOTS of lake effect snow and pushing through all that as a small kid was incredibly tough. Glad I did it, but hated almost every moment of it. Once a year my father would take pity on me and take me in the car and once one of my customers felt bad for me and threw my bike in the back of his pick-up and took me home. We were a very blue collar family, you signed up for it--you do it. Not sure it's exactly the way I would parent today, but it was a different time. And, there was no "throwing" All papers were taken up to the house and either put on the porch or put between the screen door.

PS: On Friday or Saturday during the day I would have to go house to house to "collect". There was a younger women on Rogers Drive who had a white '58 Impala convertible with red leather interior. I always looked forward to seeing them both. Whenever I see a '58 Impala today.....I smile.

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Old 03-10-16, 09:24 PM
  #102  
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I delivered the Hartford Times every afternoon after school for about four years back in the early 70's...5 1/2 miles on a very rural route to some 22+\- customers.

The first year on my route, I rode my black, single speed Royce Union 26" (Purchased by my parents at Western Auto(?))...took the fenders off of it so it would look more like the cool ten speeds! I saved my $3/week for almost a year and bought a platinum/blue Raleigh Record that I used for the next 17 years (and my next three years delivering papers). That bike made me feel as though I could ride almost anywhere and taught me most of my basic bicycle mechanical skills.

I learned a lot about people on my paper route...especially when collecting. I was amazed at all the excuses people could come up with for not paying the $.75/week, even when I still had to pay my district manager. I also learned how generous and appreciative other customers could be.

Winters in north central Connecticut could be a challenge, and I remember walking my route at times when the roads were not cleared. I still carry some scars on my elbows from skidding in the springtime on the loose gravel left over from the winter road treatments.

I also remember delivering the heavy Thanksgiving morning edition of my paper packed past bursting with Christmas ads...and stepping on my customers' back porches to drop off their papers and smelling the turkey cooking!

It's been a long time since I folded my papers, pulled the flap over them in my paper bag to protect them from the elements, and rode my old Raleigh, but the memories are still vivid...45 years later.

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Old 03-11-16, 06:58 AM
  #103  
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Our family had a paper route that went through 4 of us boys. In the family for about 15 years, we just kept handing it down once we reached age 16. 75 houses, very good tips in a regular neighborhood with a mix of docs, dentists, old retired guys, widowers, old maids, blind people, deaf people, young families, etc. Yep, had the attack dogs, a sweet old lady that taught piano from her house that had the neatest door chime. Rain was always the worst to work in, Sunday mornings were the absolute best (5am delivery time). Saved every dime of the earnings, learned about money, personal communication skills, overcame shyness, and honestly, it was the best job I ever had. Enjoyed it immensely.

The savings were stolen by friends of my brother. He got into dealing dope, told his buddies about the money being transferred between banks and it was at the house in dad's top drawer. He set it up with them. He is still my brother and good friend. Stuff happens, especially when being stupid.
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Old 03-16-19, 02:18 PM
  #104  
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Hey Hey, My My, Paperboy Threads Must Never Die.

Yes, I was a paperboy! A proud one, 1968-1970. 63 customer route of the Battle Creek (MI) Enquirer & News.
As a 12-14 year old, that job taught me so much about people, managing money, persisting in the face of adversity, and the value of hard work.
I learned in the first week not to park a heavy bike with a kickstand on a customer's new asphalt driveway on a hot summer day, not to ride across a customer's lawn, and that the customer is always right.
I'll always remember my dad getting up early with me on Sunday mornings in the winter when snow was more than a foot deep and the roads were full of slush.
He'd drive slowly drinking his coffee, and I'd run from house-to-house after grabbing 5 papers at a time from the warm car. It made a 2 hour job in the winter a 1 hour job.
Of course, being a paperboy led to other jobs in high school, college, and beyond, so I think the lift-off into the adult world of responsibility was by being a paperboy.

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Old 03-16-19, 04:17 PM
  #105  
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Good for you SpeedofLite. I think being a paper boy and a boy scout (never perfect at either) had a lot to do with how I matured. Your Dad sounds like a cool guy.
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Old 03-16-19, 07:33 PM
  #106  
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Yes, Seattle Times. I took over my brother's route and needed to keep it in his name for a year or so because I wasn't old enough. Used my Schwinn two speed bike and hung my paper bag on the front or just carried the bag on my shoulders. There was a large doberman that loved to terrorize me when it would get loose. One time it charged me, stopped, lifted its' leg and peed on my paper bag and then walked away.
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Old 03-16-19, 09:27 PM
  #107  
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Delivered on foot 6 days/week year-round in Fairbanks. Coldest evening was ~-65°F. Every house had a different preference for paper placement. Rode my bike a lot in the summer, 20-30 mile gravel rides at 13.

Was a street seller before I got the route. "Fairbanks Daily Newsminer, paper!"
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Old 03-16-19, 09:45 PM
  #108  
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Good for all of you... by the time of my childhood papers were delivered by sad adults in cars
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Old 03-16-19, 11:20 PM
  #109  
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Delivered the "Toledo Blade" in our neighborhood around 1965. My dad was so proud I was finally being responsible, he found me an old Schwinn Wasp. He called it a paperboy special, since it had a large front basket and double rear baskets, as well as extra heavy spokes. Believe it or not I still have the bike. I only had the route for about 5 weeks because when it came time to collect for the month, only half the people paid and he had to make up the difference.
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Old 03-17-19, 05:31 AM
  #110  
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Cool thread.
I waited two years for an older friend to bestow his route on me when he ‘retired’
If I recall I had to bribe him with candy daily to get 1st consideration as it was an after school route which was more desirable back then.
It was only around five blocks but all right around my house. That was around 1975 and I think on a good week I would make $10 in tips.
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Old 03-17-19, 06:12 AM
  #111  
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Cleveland Plain Dealer in my North Olmsted neighborhood in ‘62, ‘63. Delivering the big Sunday edition broke my bike. I liked the delivering part of it but back then we also had to collect the money for the paper, which was a huge hassle!
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Old 03-17-19, 06:57 AM
  #112  
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Originally Posted by SpeedofLite View Post
Hey Hey, My My, Paperboy Threads Must Never Die.

Yes, I was a paperboy! A proud one, 1968-1970. 63 customer route of the Battle Creek (MI) Enquirer & News.
As a 12-14 year old, that job taught me so much about people, managing money, persisting in the face of adversity, and the value of hard work.
I learned in the first week not to park a heavy bike with a kickstand on a customer's new asphalt driveway on a hot summer day, not to ride across a customer's lawn, and that the customer is always right.
I'll always remember my dad getting up early with me on Sunday mornings in the winter when snow was more than a foot deep and the roads were full of slush.
He'd drive slowly drinking his coffee, and I'd run from house-to-house after grabbing 5 papers at a time from the warm car. It made a 2 hour job in the winter a 1 hour job.
Of course, being a paperboy led to other jobs in high school, college, and beyond, so I think the lift-off into the adult world of responsibility was by being a paperboy.

Thanks for reviving this. It was fun to read old posts from folks who have long since gone from the site.
I had a route in the mid 60s, but it was a weekly (Saturday), not a daily. It was the old, long defunct Toronto Telegram, and I thought at the time they must have felled an entire tree for each paper, because they were huge.
My route was about three miles of trekking in a rural area, and my one speed coaster brake bike carried me the distance during the months that we were not buried in snow. The rest of the year I trudged through on foot.
Good way for an 11/12 year old to build character.
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Old 03-17-19, 07:06 AM
  #113  
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Coming from a large family of low income, we all had to do something if we wanted spending money. 10 was the age required to become a paperboy/girl in my town, Woodstock, IL. Delivery took place in the afternoon, which was ideal for us kids. My first route had just over 40 customers, and I made about $10/wk. I used the proceeds (after candy, movies, etc) to purchase my first bike, a green Schwinn 5 speed Fastback. A cool stingray style with a big 'ol stick shifter on the top tube, like the muscle cars and hot rods had! My first big major purchase, and boy was I proud of it, and myself! When I go into my current local bike shop in Hudson, WI, the owner has many vintage bikes hanging from the ceiling, and a green Schwinn Fastback is one of them. Takes me back every time I go in there...
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Old 03-17-19, 08:27 AM
  #114  
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News Day, Merrick, NY in the mid-50's.
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Old 03-17-19, 09:16 AM
  #115  
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Originally Posted by Greenhil View Post
Cleveland Plain Dealer in my North Olmsted neighborhood in ‘62, ‘63. Delivering the big Sunday edition broke my bike. I liked the delivering part of it but back then we also had to collect the money for the paper, which was a huge hassle!
Cleveland Plain Dealer bag on the big auction site right now. Might not be the same style bag you used, but just sayin'.....
https://www.ebay.com/itm/202626699025?ul_noapp=true
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Old 03-17-19, 09:56 AM
  #116  
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Originally Posted by SpeedofLite View Post
Cleveland Plain Dealer bag on the big auction site right now. Might not be the same style bag you used, but just sayin'.....
https://www.ebay.com/itm/202626699025?ul_noapp=true
Good grief, the ridiculous amount of loose money available for a canvas bag with a logo. Just like high fashion.
This is from my closet a Philadelphia Bulletin paperboy bag like I used in the late 50's and early 60's. This one was used by my late cousin who used it in the mid 50's.
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Old 03-17-19, 10:30 AM
  #117  
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OK, when I had paper routes, which would have been in the 60's, I had to use a double sided bag similar to this random web pic without the hi-viz, of course. Crammed full, you had to spin it around every few pounds to stay balanced. Most always done on foot, with little folding and tossing, as most people wanted their paper put between the storm and entry door. I would ride to get the papers and carry them back draped over the rear rack. I don't even remember how or when I got paid but probably mostly relied on tips, which is good learning for life.
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Old 03-18-19, 11:29 AM
  #118  
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Yep, for many years

Toledo Blade for me too, but in Fremont Ohio about 50 miles from Toledo. Less daily papers so bike time and 4 times as many on Sundays, so father drove us in pickup. Sat on tailgate and jogged off 3 or 4 houses. Brother on one side of street and I on the other.
This was mid 60s, so started out with balloon tire beater bikes. Wanted 24" Schwinn 5 speed stingray, but bought the Sears version in late 60s with money saved. The 20" stingrays looked cool, but the 24" was WAY faster. A 13 year old kid on that 5 speed could really go. Remember, there was sidewalks, lawns, driveways, so maneuverability counted too.
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Old 03-18-19, 11:40 AM
  #119  
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I delivered the Oxnard Press Courier back in the sixties on a Murray (Sting Ray Copy). The tall handlebars were perfect for pitching papers! The local hospital would let us use the lobby for folding our papers at 4:00am and the money was good as I was raised in poverty. I mowed lawns to get the bike so I could get the paper route. Good times for sure, and it got me to love my bike and the possibilities of going places outside the walking range of my house. We had no car and were limited to the walking radius of where we lived , Oxnard California. Joe joesvintageroadbikes.wordpress
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Old 03-18-19, 07:43 PM
  #120  
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Des Moines register early sixties. Up at 6:00 and a couple miles to the paper office to pick up the dailies. and all done in time to head to school. Learned to love Dad's reperked coffee, the money that opened up possibilities, and the lady on 14th street that would come to the door when I came to collect in her bra and slip!
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Old 03-21-19, 10:27 PM
  #121  
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Never had my own paper route. Seems the local routes were always taken. I did sub a lot for my friend when he was sick or on vacation with his folks. It was an early morning route. Prepping the papers (no rubber bands, they had to be folded and tucked for tossing) and delivery took a couple of hours. Rode a J.C Higgins crusier that I had from when I was about 5. Took a couple of years to actually grow into it. As I recall I finally gave that bike to my younger brother after he had long since outgrown his smaller crusier. He was already taller than me by the time I was in junior high. I wasn’t really using the bike anymore anyway after I bought my first real road bike when I was about 12. Also from Sears, it was a Ted Williams signature edition sport racer. As I recall it was $110 delivered. Those were the days...
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Old 03-21-19, 10:55 PM
  #122  
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I lived across the street from the local paper shack, Oakland Tribune. Afternoon during the week and weekend mornings. All the flat routes were taken, so I had some steep hills. Had Macaurther Lane, then with the Cardinals, and Blue Moon Odom for customers. The kids all covered routes for each other. I remember swinging the bags around and using them for candy on Halloween. Paid for many movies and ball games. Good times...
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Old 03-22-19, 07:47 AM
  #123  
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I was never one myself, but I helped my older brother on his route.

I was recently bemoaning the fact that papers are now delivered by adults driving cars through the neighborhood (in an Escalade? WTF) rather than a kid on his bike. It was the perfect "first business" for a budding entrepreneur.
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Old 03-22-19, 07:59 AM
  #124  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
This is from my closet a Philadelphia Bulletin paperboy bag like I used in the late 50's and early 60's.
I delivered the Evening Bulletin for a while in the 70s. It was originally my cousin's route. Sometimes I would tag along. Then he broke his leg. Since I knew the route, I took over. I did have a bag, but most of the time I used a wagon.
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Old 03-22-19, 08:17 AM
  #125  
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
I was never one myself, but I helped my older brother on his route.

I was recently bemoaning the fact that papers are now delivered by adults driving cars through the neighborhood (in an Escalade? WTF) rather than a kid on his bike. It was the perfect "first business" for a budding entrepreneur.
Back in the 70's they had some pretty high subscription rates. Just recently cancelled after 40 years. All the merging of papers, they lost touch with what was local to many people.
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