I was thinking about a job the other day that probably doesn’t really exist anymore. The paperboy. Me and my brother delivered papers for a thousand years with the Moline Dispatch. What’s the equivalent to that job now? I know I didn’t realize it at the time, but I learned a TON of things by delivering papers and I’m not sure some of these things get learned by kids today. Here is my list:
1. People are relying on you – As a kid people don’t really treat you like you can contribute much, but when you are their source for something all of a sudden you are important and you realize it quick when you screw that up.
2. The world is a strange place – I remember learning VERY quickly that people are really weird. I would ring the doorbell to collect the weekly “bill” (initially 90 cents a week) and people wouldn’t answer the door when they saw me. It was even funnier the people who WOULD answer the door, but tell me they didn’t have any money. ??? 90 cents? Even back then most people could find 90 cents behind the cushions on the couch.
3. Rain, sleet, snow or heat – The stupid paper HAD to be delivered. It was my job. That is a huge lesson to learn as a 12 year old kid. I didn’t have very many papers to deliver, but they had to get there somehow and if they didn’t all eyes were on me.
4. Interacting with people – I had people on my route that made delivering less than 50 papers last all day. Mrs. Freitag who was from Sweden and still talked with an accent, or maybe it was Germany, who knows? “Butch” who was a great guy and would tell me all kinds of stories. Mrs. Love who I always thought was some reclusive old rich lady. There were tons of them and it was fun to get to know them.
5. The Sunday newspaper weighed a ton.
I also remember tying the bag to my bike and zipping along as fast as I could to get those papers out and go do something I wanted to do. I wish I still had one of those bags. This picture is from 1954, but it might as well have been from my days with the paper.