Work To &Thru College

Paper Route 

Deseret News/ Tribune

    Our family always took the Deseret News which was an evening paper for the six days of the week.  They did not publish a paper on Sunday because it was the Sabbath, but they provided the Tribune on Sundays.  The Saturday evening paper contained the Church News as an insert in the paper, and the Tribune insert on Sunday was the colored funnies and ads. I always admired the newspaper boys because they always came by every day.  One was an all-state center in basketball. Glenn Ray Spencer had a paper route that made him rich or at least rich compared to me.  One day he came and explained all of the advantages of delivering papers.  His route had the highest rate of any in town, actually because it had more hills.  He talked me into taking his route.  I learned it during the nice warm summer and thought this would be a good idea.  

When I took over the route, I found some negatives.  Sunday morning papers had to be delivered very early.  You had to collect for the paper once per month and if someone failed to pay you still had to pay the distribution company.  If you picked up the papers on time for a month you got two movie tickets as a bonus.  If you were late delivering papers people would complain.  I had 48 papers to deliver and thus 48 houses to collect $1.75 from each month.  I heard every excuse.  Why wouldn’t people pay on time? People would pull a twenty dollar bill and expect you to make change.  One family was always doing this so I arranged to visit them last.  When they pulled their $20 bill I pulled 18 silver dollars and a quarter from my bag and they quickly found the exact change. After that all I had to do was jingle the bag and they would find the exact change.  No one wanted these silver dollars because they were so heavy, but they would be worth a lot of money now. 

    I kept the paper route for a year so there are years worth of stories from this paper route. One Sunday morning after a new fallen snow I ended up with an extra paper.  I then ran the route from memory and was certain that I had been to every house. How could I have an extra paper?  Soon the phone rang and it was my former first grade teacher Mrs. McClellan.  She thought that someone had stolen her paper and could she have another.  She related she could see where I had ridden my bike to the porch, but the paper was missing. She said someone must have stolen her paper. I said I would get her a paper.  I had ridden the bike to the porch and had tipped over.  A bike with all of those papers was never stable. I picked up all of the papers and road off. I then remembered my error but I let her believe someone had stolen her paper and I was the hero who found her a paper. 

    Another Sunday morning they were predicting 40 below zero weather so dad feeling sorry for me, dressed me in his long handled underwear, bundled me up and then broke down for the only time and offered to drive me around the route.  I remember the snow squeaking as I would run the paper up to each house.  When we got over the hill Billy Carter and his wife stopped us for hot chocolate.  They were newly weds and so caring for me and even dad.  

I did do the papers on a couple of occasions riding on my horse, Ginger. In the winter I went bareback to keep warm but it was almost impossible for me to get off and back on such a tall horse without a saddle and with a bag of papers.  Once I did get off and I had to use a fence to get back on my horse. On the summer delivery the meanest dog on the route came out to bark at us but old chicken Duke chased him off.  I have never figured whether Duke was defending the horse, me, or that he was brave with his big buddy to back him up.  Duke did sleep with the horse in the barn and they were close, possibly buddies.

    After a year it was time to move on to other jobs. All-in-all this was a good job I did save some money for college, I learned to collect money on time, and learned to be responsible.  The bad side was I learned to spend money and go to the movies quite often.

Foot Note: I wonder if Billy was descendent of Simeon and Jared Carter who baptized our ancestors (John Tanner and John Loveless).

Note: One summer day when I was training someone to take over the paper route a serious accident on highway 91 occurred involving a truck hitting Glen Ray in his car as he was crossing the highway. The trainee watched the accident while I was collecting for the paper. The sun was in Glen Rays eyes and he didn’t see the truck coming down the hill. Glen Ray really looked pale and was taken to the hospital.  He had a ruptured spleen that seemed very serious.  It was many years later when my son would be hit while crossing a road in Oxford, Ohio that this memory would be even more realistic and the severity understood as Boyd had surgery on his spleen.