Who remembers the big canvas sack strapped to the handlebars of your bicycle with your local newspaper’s name stenciled across the front? paperboysIf you do, you once had a Paper Route, and we salute you on


Once upon a time for a lot of kids, being a Paper Boy or Paper Girl was their first job, a solid lesson in handling and earning money, as well as their first taste of real responsibility.

People cared about their newspapers and insisted upon prompt delivery. Seven days a week, in rain, shine or blizzard, newspaper carriers were out there tossing papers on porches and doorsteps, pedaling like demons and remembering every face in every house where they delivered the day’s news, still smelling a little like wet ink.

Friday was collection day, and a referendum on how well you did your job by the extra dimes and quarters that were your tips. Papers were about fifteen or twenty cents, and you got maybe a nickel apiece, not exactly a ticket to easy street, but decent pocket money for a 12 year old for an hour and a half’s work a day (an hour once you honed your paper tossing arm and took crazy chances on your bike).

These days adults driving mini-vans deliver newspapers wrapped in plastic bags, and payment is done online, so most people never meet their newspaper carrier. That is, if they still read newspapers.

•Suggested Activities: Checking the box scores while riding a bicycle in heavy traffic.

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