Those Were the Days: The Paperboy, Pt. 2


Every Saturday, I had to knock on 116 doors and collect a quarter for that week’s work. That’s $29 a week plus $1 charged for your savings account. My bill each week was $16.75. The rest, or $13.25, was mine which I kept in a shoebox in the top of my closet. I always had money in my pocket and bought many of my own clothes. When I retired at age 14, I bought my first auto ... a 1938 Ford Coupe!

Dealing with people was quite an experience for me and I have many wonderful memories of my customers, which ranged from the elderly to newlyweds. There were lots of kids everywhere and I knew every one of them by name. I’ll never forget a house on Warren Street with a very elderly couple and a white picket fence around the front yard, so their little white dog could play outside. As I would turn the comer from Wynne Street, I would see her waiting at the comer of the fence all excited. Her name was Maggie, she was a ball of energy. I would lob the paper into the yard and she would run to catch it before it hit the grass, and off she would go into the house through her “doggy door’’. On Saturday’s when I would go by to collect my quarter, they would always have a drink of water and a piece of cake or pie for me. What a wonderful couple.

My third-grade teacher was Mrs. Rankin. She had a big black dog that hated bicycles and ME if I happened to be on one! I developed this little contest between us. I would try to sneak up on him and if successful, I would do my “high arc floater belly flop throw” so when it hit the concrete porch it would make a big “BLAP” and if I could catch him sleeping, he would jump about a foot high! If he saw me ftrst, he would come charging off the porch and I would go to my “skimmer throw” for the legs. If that didn’t work, I kept a tightly rolled up paper that I used to whack him across the bridge of the nose and that always stopped him.

There was a blind couple who lived on my route. The man’s name was Tommy and I don’t remember his wife’s name or the name of the Seeing Eye dog. They had the concession shop, which sold popcorn, candy and drinks, next door to the LaNora Theater. Every now and then someone would try to cheat by paying them with foreign coins and Tommy would rub the coin with his fmgers and hand it back to the customer saying he only took US coins! The dog made sure the merchandise was paid for before the customer left the shop. On Saturday mornings Tommy, his wife and the dog would be sitting on their front porch. I would stop and visit with them from time to time. The German Shepherd was always at their side. They received the Amarillo Daily News each day in Brail, so they were not one of my customers. But I really enjoyed visiting with them.