In 1946, when I was 11 years old and in the 6th grade, my neighbor, Ronnie Mannoni, who was two years older than me, first asked me to substitute for him on his paper route. He would pay me a dollar a day.
Once I delivered a whole week for him and he gave me a Daisy Pump BB gun! Another time, for a week delivering, he gave me a basketball goal — the type you attached to the top and front of the garage.
When I was 12 years old and in the 7th grade, I got my own route, #7. It was 87 papers, and started at 1st and Walnut going south to Kansas and west to Catalpa. I had this route approximately 1 1/2 years.
After that, since I lived north on 18th and Pine, I got route #17, (not sure that was the number). It had 107 customers and went from 15th and Broadway north to 20th street and east to, and including, Joplin Street. I averaged $7 a week. With that I bought my first ball glove at Bowlus School Supply. It cost between $7 and $8, so was equivalent to a week's work. It was a "Playmaker" and I think I still have it.
I would collect every Saturday. My customers were great. I still remember one Christmas I must have received ten pairs of Argyle socks as gifts from my customers. Argyles were very popular during that time. The cost of the newspaper at that time was 25 cents a week (1947-48).
When the Whizzer Motor Bike came out in 1948, I bought a new one for $99 at Marshall Auto Store, which was located on 8th and Broadway. I paid $9.00 a month from the money I earned from my paper route. I was really something. I did not have to pedal a bike any longer.
I married my childhood sweetheart, Georgia. We both graduated from PHS in 1952. In 1954, I went into the United States Air Force for 4 years, then spent 31 years working for Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. in Topeka, Kansas.
I will always credit my experience in delivering papers when I was just a kid to learning how to handle money — as well as how to meet and get along with people. It helped me in so many ways.
— Kenneth Smith, July 12, 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. — J.T. Knoll