I must have been 10 or 11 years old when I got my first job as a paper girl for the Daily Record, Kittitas County’s only daily newspaper. I can’t recall if it was 4th or 5th grade when I started delivering the news but I continued doing it until I was 13 or 14. I think.
After school I would go pick up my papers (maybe about 30?) and load my bag over my shoulders. It took less than an hour to make my rounds, but in the heat of summer or frigid-cold of winter it felt like it took much longer than that! I had those terribly mean parents who actually made me deliver my own papers, too, and steadfastly refused to drive me around unless there were extenuating circumstances.
Back then, we had to collect payment from most customers on our own. I remember going around knocking on doors once a month. I remember dreading going to some houses because they would never answer the door. But I loved going to other houses because I would be invited in for some cookies and soda then would visit for a while before heading out for more money collections. Many customers gave me a monthly tip and many more gave me great presents at Christmas.
At the end of the month all of the local paper carriers would meet down at The Harris Street Deli (later Killer & Babes, and now Beau’s) to turn our money in to someone from the paper. They’d count everything up then give us our share of the money. I don’t recall what the monthly rate was for delivering papers, but I do recall that often times I made more in tips than wages!
When I turned 14 I took a job washing dishes at the local truck stop cafe and I haven’t delivered a paper since.
Every once in a while I stop to wonder if kids still deliver papers door-to-door. I don’t know that I’ve seen any out and about where I live, but then, I don’t read print newspapers anymore. I get my news online or on the radio during my morning commute. Well, if you can call it news…
Quite honestly, I don’t know what the point of this post is. But I blame Plinky for making me do it.