Note: As delivery of the print edition is now by mail only, each week the Morning Sun will be honoring paper carriers of the past by publishing the stories many shared with me years back when my collection ‘Paperboy,’ was published. – J.T.K
I carried the Headlight back in 1938. At that time there were two deliveries — Sun in the morning and Headlight in the evening. The subscription price was 15 cents per week. My route was located in the southwest section of the city.
There were very few jobs available at that time. I was fortunate to have a great uncle who was a prominent coal operator and was a friend of Mr. Brinkerhoff who was the editor at that time. He was one who was instrumental in getting me the route.
We picked up our papers in the basement of the paper office. Had to collect weekly. There were a few of my customers who didn’t have the 15 cents to pay for the week and I would have to wait for weeks at a time to get my money.
Ed Herbeck, March 8, 2000
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My folks were on the WPA but I still remember that my dad told me when they got their raise (I think it was from $29.00 to $32.00 a month) he would buy me a used bicycle. I got my bicycle and often wonder how many hundreds of miles I rode it peddling papers all over Arma.
My dad died in 1940, when he was only 34, leaving two young teenagers and a three-year-old sister. The little income I had from the paper route helped supplement my mother’s income, which was practically nil, and gave me a little loose change in my pocket once in awhile.
I remember when I started waiting tables at the Tower Ballroom in the early '40s along with some of my friends, we would often have to hitchhike home to Arma after we cleaned up after the dances. On early Sunday mornings, I would get home and get my bicycle and go to the city hall to pick up my papers and deliver them before I went back home to bed.
I certainly do admire anyone who gets up early each morning and delivers papers to our door. We should appreciate how much effort it takes to crawl out of warm bed and go out and do this job.
Bill Anderson, March 8, 2000
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Along with my little brother, David, I delivered The Pittsburg Headlight back in the early '50s. We first had a downtown route from tenth to first streets and from Pine to Locust. Later we had a route around the college.
We would ride our bicycle from Lakeside school to the paper office. (We had one bicycle so my brother rode on the handlebars.) When we got to paper office, we went downstairs to get the papers. After they came off the press and were bundled. The bundles would be sent down a chute to be distributed by route number. We folded your papers there before heading out.
When we had a downtown route we didn't have to fold our papers. At that time, we delivered to a lot of apartments, doctors offices, barber shops, restaurants and pool halls, coffee and gift shops — not to mention Fogerty News and the Hotel Besse. Every business along Broadway took the Headlight.
When we got a residential route my brother would ride on handlebars and throw papers as I pedaled and gave him directions on customers preferences on where to put the paper. If you had a complaint it cost you a quarter.
At Christmas time we would always get cookies and candy — sometimes even a little fruitcake. We also had to collect our route and pay our paper bill every week. I always hated that some people would try to duck the poor little paperboy. If they got two weeks behind they got cut off.
These are fond memories in simpler better times. I wouldn't trade my experiences as a paperboy for anything.
Bob Torbett, March 8, 2000
If you have a paperboy story to share, you can send it to me at email@example.com or 401 W. Euclid, Pittsburg, KS 66762.