I really don't know just how to start this, but here goes. I started delivering newspapers when I was 11 years old. I had a Wichita Beacon route over in Parsons, Kansas. My route started from Central Street and ran all the way east to the city limits.
The route that I had ran back and forth between the central part of town then back to the city limits. The papers were scattered, with one here and maybe two or three in a row. It would take me until almost dark just to get over my route in the evening. I don't remember just how many papers I delivered, but my route ended up in the Winnway Housing addition in the south end of town.
Trying to collect for the paper was even worse. I finally left that part up to my boss, as he had more time to do the collecting than most of us carriers. I eventually quit that route.
Then I got a chance to get a route for the Parsons Sun. The first route that I had only had 85 papers, which wasn't a bad route. The only thing wrong was that it wasn't close to home as I would have liked. However, that changed one day quite by surprise as a friend of mine got the route that our house was on. We asked if we could trade, as his house was on the route that I had. He was more than willing as he had to ride back up from his house to his route as I had to ride down to where mine was.
So we traded — with the approval of our boss. This route had 150 papers, all in a half-mile area. Then my brother had a chance to get the route next to mine, so we put the two together and we had 300 papers to deliver all within a mile of our house.
If our mother hadn't been at home to help with the folding, I don't think that we could have gotten finished with the route as quickly as we did. We had ten houses that were kind of out of line with the regular part of our route so our two little brothers thought that they were really big getting to deliver those houses for us.
I really don't know just how many days that we had before we were told that one of the biggest papers that we would have to deliver was coming, but we were told to be prepared for when the edition about the new Parsonian Hotel would be coming out. It would be one of the largest papers that Parsons would have in a long time.
We had to take our wagon up to the paper office to get our papers that day, as the trucks that delivered them to our house couldn't haul all of the out of town routes as well as ours. So here we are trying to haul 300 papers in a wagon as well as our bicycles. Believe me, that wasn't an easy task. We even took our little brothers that day just so they could help. Talk about problems! We ran a wheel off our wagon and had to leave it with one of our little brothers. Then we would take as many papers as we could, deliver them, then come back and get some more.
We didn't get finished until late that evening as we had to put those papers behind the screen door to keep them from blowing away because they were too big to fold and you couldn't roll them either.
I could go on about our paper carrying days but I think that I have said enough. I would like to say this. We had some of the greatest customers you could ever ask for. After we started to do our own collecting, things got even better as we got to really get to know our customers on our route. I guess that's the reason that we received a lot of nice things for Christmas. One Christmas we received so many gifts that I alone made two trips home in one evening just trying to collect! My brother and I received a lot of candy, money, and clothing items, which we were glad to get.
I forgot to mention that we were paid the whole sum of $3.50 a week. If we didn't get any complaints, we got a 25-cent bonus, as well as a free pass to the movies, good for a week. Along with the job, we were enrolled in the YMCA where we could go and swim all year long and enjoy the fellowship of our fellow carriers. There was a time that there was a waiting list for a route.
My brothers and I often see some of the old friends that were on our routes. They sometimes don't remember who we are at first, but after talking with them a few minutes, they do. Believe me, a lot of good memories are talked about. Thanks for letting me share with you about my carrier days.
— Harold Woodward, July 26, 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