The Paperboy, February 6th, 2019
Back in the 1960’s I became a paperboy in Lincoln,
Nebraska. It was an early morning route for the Lincoln Star
Us paperboys for the Star awoke at 5:30 AM and went out
to the street corners to get our papers. Then we’d have to
wrap them with rubber bands into a tube of newsprint so
we could throw the news onto the subscriber’s porches
from our bicycles.
My favorite memories of the paper route were in winter.
The clear skies of stars with Orion holding court overhead
were amazing as I bicycled about the neighborhood while
everyone was asleep.
Once even I fell asleep on my old Raleigh 3 speed bicycle
that my Dad had bought me at a bicycle store on “O” Street.
I rammed into a parked car and awoke upon the back
window of same, unharmed. I finished my route.
And then there was the morning that I happened upon
Mary X being….well, let’s just say the windows of the car in
the driveway were really steamed up and happy sounds
were coming from the car.
Mary X always tipped me well after that when I came
collecting for the newspaper subscription. I never told a
For me the paper route was sacred. No one really knew
what I did before I went to mass at the Catholic school
every day. The paper route was my time seven days a week.
But there was that winter day. I awoke to the remains of a
huge blizzard that had hit Lincoln overnight.
I opened the garage door to see three foot snow drifts in
My bicycle was useless so I walked up Prescott Street to the
drop off point for my newspapers.
And there abandoned one block after delivering my Star
newspapers was the Lincoln Star van stuck in a snow drift.
No idea what happened to the driver of the van.
But I had my bundle of 50 newspapers and back in the
1960’s; you followed through.
So my skinny 13 year old body carried the papers back to
the garage at home. I wrapped the papers with the rubber
bands. I took the newspaper bags off of my old Raleigh
bicycle and packed the papers into the two canvas sacks
tied together with a large opening for the neck of the
I woke up my Dad in my parents’ bedroom. I was always
very hesitant to do this. Still am.
I told my Dad what was going on and surprisingly to me;
Dad got excited. Well, he grew up in Minneapolis.
A snow day meant no going to work and an adventure!
Dad likes adventures. So do I.
So my Dad put on his Minnesota winter gear and I had my
hunting pheasants gear on and off we walked. My Dad
carried the newspapers in the canvas bags over his neck. I
threw them on the porch.
The storm was long gone and it was a brilliant blue sky
Nebraska day of maybe 5 degrees F. The moon was white
and clear in the sky.
Folks in the suburb on my route were amazed to be getting
their Lincoln Star newspaper that day.
Dad and I trudged through the 3’ snow drifts for a couple
of hours delivering the papers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen
my Dad happier.