"Read All About It"
Recently, I had the opportunity to enjoy a Musical Theater production revealing the efforts of newsboys in the early 1900’s. It got me thinking about the newspaper industry and how attached we are to our daily delivery of information. And, how this enterprise influenced my growing up years.
In the late ‘40’s, my older brother acquired a paper route for our Cleveland neighborhood. The thick Shopping News was to be delivered on Wednesdays and Saturdays because it showcased all the bargains the downtown stores were featuring. My brother hired me to help place the thick, folded newspaper in the spokes of everyone’s front porch or balanced on their doorknob. It was tiring, but we soon got the hang of it. Our meager earnings enticed us to check out other weekly papers that we could deliver on our off days or weekends. Many local publications came out with news in different neighborhoods that would be of interest to those living there. We got a few weekly papers to distribute nearby. Our after-school time was busy.
When we were seasoned carriers, and with our parents’ permission, we inquired about daily newspaper service. There was a need in our area and the pay was much better. We signed up to take the job as long as our friends took over some of our weekly responsibilities. Now, every morning before school, my brother would use his bike to deliver his lengthy route. This activity morphed into a summons for me to wake up and join him in order to get done faster. It wasn’t so bad but I could hardly toss the paper onto a customer’s upstairs porch, being fearful of clogging their gutters with my wimpy delivery. It was a little easier to deliver the Sunday paper. Our parents would pile the huge bundles in the car and chauffeur us around the neighborhood to serve our patrons.That was the fun part. The tedious part came every Saturday when we had to collect payment from our customers. What made a difference in this agonizing task was the fact that many ladies were baking cookies at that time. Safety was not an issue in those days and knocking on doors produced not only successful payments but some tasty snacks as well.
We are fortunate the news industry evolved into what it is today. In our busy world, some folks may catch the news on radio, TV and even the internet. But nothing matches the leisurely page by page info along with a cup of coffee whenever the mood is right. A silent bonus is that newspapers are handy to re-read for special topics and saved for future reference. Looking back, the newsboys from years ago are to be admired for their steadfast persistence. Reporters, printers, other talents and carriers certainly do a great job and have made a difference in our lives. Thanks to this industry, when something happens and we have questions or we’re just looking for answers, there is usually immediate satisfaction at our fingertips. All we have to do is read all about it.
I'm a retired Sun Newspaper typist. I've been writing freelance articles for the past twenty five years. Some of them are personal experiences having to do with my family of eight children and a total of twenty grandchildren. They keep me busy with a variety of subject matter.