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” Our Generation ” The Paper Boy

All newspapers were delivered by boys and all boys delivered newspapers –my brother delivered a newspaper, six days a week. It cost 7 cents a paper, of which he got to keep 2 cents. He had to get up at 6 AM every morning.

On Saturday, he had to collect the 42 cents from his customers. His favorite customers were the ones who gave him 50 cents and told him to keep the change. His least favorite customers were the ones who seemed to never be home on collection day.

Rain, snow, and summer heat never stopped them from getting their papers to their customers homes.

At My House

My brothers were paper boy’s in the early forty’s, they were in third and forth grade, let’s see, I guess that would have made them about 9 and 10 years old. It was in the city of Hartford Connecticut. They delivered them after school and used a red wagon instead of bikes, we couldn’t afford bikes.

We were Irish catholic’s living in an Italian neighborhood and that meant trouble for the boy’s, especially my younger brother because he had bright red curly hair and big freckles all over his pale white face.

You ask….how is it that that, would be trouble for the boy’s?

Irish and Italian’s did not mix together to well. The Italian boy’s named Jo, Rocky, and I don’t remember the other names would be on the corner when the bundle of papers were dropped off to be folded and put in the red wagon by my brothers.

Rocky and friends would scatter the papers all over the streets and passing cars would carry them off on their hoods, roofs and trunks never to be seen again. Other times Rocky and friends would wait till the papers were all folded and stacked neatly and ready to be delivered, then throw them all over the streets. No one could do anything about it and the boy’s just took it. Well it did escalate to the point where Rocky and friends were waiting on the corner along with, this time, untouched papers.

They had other plans this particular afternoon.

They wrapped white adhesive tape all over the boys heads. My mother had to cut most of their hair off and they went to school the next day almost bald, along with mother, who went right to the principal’s office to give Father O’Malley a “Show and Tell” complaint. The Father questioned my brothers until he was blue in the face because my brother’s would not “squeal” on Rocky and friends.The very next evening the Italian boy’s were waiting on the corner for my brothers. The news papers were all folded and stacked in a neat pile. As soon as the boy’s appeared, Rocky and friend’s placed the folded papers nicely in the red wagon and walked away. That was it !!! My brothers were never bothered again. Though every now and then when my brothers got to the corner where the bundles of papers were left off for them, they would find a nicely folded stack of news papers and they knew they were safe from not just Rocky and friends but from any other bully’s that might be around….the word got out, don’t nobody mess with the Irish paper boy’s because the Italian boy’s were watching over them.

Eileen

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