Jul 28, 2022

Newspaper Deliveries and Sales, Back in the Day

For every generation I guess there are different and unique life experiences. Heck we even have one that went on to do bronco busting, now carnival barking from those least likely in my limited knowledge of them. I was reflecting back on those days and realized I missed much of those experiences, however I realized I did some barking of my own.

Unfortunately, I spent to many years of my youth working/owning the news stand at 111th and Western Ave. I do remember that from time to time I would grab some of Daily News and Chicago American and walk Western Ave when the light turned red and yelling “Get your news” or some such bright comment. However, I do remember two days in particular that I did that because of the breaking news and wanted to be part of it in my own way.

The first was after the devastating fire at Our Lady’s of Angles school. 90+ kids perished that take and the pictures were so vivid on the front page. And of course the shooting of JFK and later Lee Harvey Oswald made me get out there in the street and hawk my newspapers, big news.

I think a lot of people thought I belonged in a carnival at the time!!!! 

Ron Veenstra MPHS


Ron, I had forgotten that you did that l. I had a Sunday morning gig selling papers for the northbound lane of Western at 95th.  No stand.  Just me and a pile of papers dropped off by the news agency.   Every stoplight cycle I would walk up between the lanes of cars selling a few papers each time, dollars folded just so between my fingers to make change quickly.

I reflect back on those days when I see current day panhandlers just standing by the stoplight and never moving.  I think, "don't they realize they would do a lot more business if they walked up to each car as it was stopped?"  I guess that is why they are panhandlers and we aren't.

Cousin Will Hepburn MPHS 66


I was the youngest delivery boy for Sonny Rudolph's agency.  480 papers, Monday thru Friday. No collections. Sat/Sun guys did that. Largest route Sonny had. Youngest, smallest on delivery. My greatest fear was banging the aluminum panel on screen doors. Woke light sleepers. Complaints cost
 50 cents. 3 complaints cost you your $2 weekly bonus. My mom, shrewd, and cagey, printed up fliers telling customers to call BE 8 1265, home number, instead of agency and we would respond to any issues. Saved me a lot of $$$ back then. Penny/paper/day, plus $2 if no complaints.

My first day, I bumped down a curb, pitchpoling my bike. Papers everywhere, forehead streaming blood, tears. (I don't cry a lot). Got home, mom got station wagon, bandaged forehead, collected spilt papers. Finished route. Next day, my mom insisting I carry on, I returned to bundling shed, Sonny even charged us for rubber bands and I still had a whole box, $2 as I recall. Learned to not bounce down curbs, as I was too light to balance bike. Was delivery boy for about 4 years. My route was so large that last half papers were dropped at my house. Mom bundled, rubber-banded, loaded my basket. Mom had lots of issues, but we were always her no. one priority. And, still a hero to me.

Tom Schildhouse MPHS Jan 66


This dialogue and some of the content of this blog come from Group emails of 1960's MPHS Alumni. If you would like to join to connect with 70 alumni email craighullinger@gmail.com

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