My oft interrupted career in the newspaper business began on the flat slopes of Northwest Boulevard, on a dark, cold morning in Columbus, Ohio.
Brother Lew needed assistance delivering the thick, weighty Sunday Columbus Dispatch. As I recall, at age 7, my total third-grade weight was about the same as our Sunday inserts.
While wearing pajamas, Dad would drive the Chrysler New Yorker, his company car, the oversized trunk filled with yet-to-be-delivered papers, while I pulled Lew’s little red Radio Flyer wagon filled with several dozen now-to-be-delivered versions.
I think I lasted about two Sundays before Mom was pulling the wagon, but not while she was wearing pajamas.
As a matter of fact, I recall that Mother dressed more like Loretta Young. Blue polka-dot gown flowing, her Mississippi auburn hair blowing in the morning dew, humming her self-penned tune, “Last Night You Told Me You Loved Me; Did You Mean It, Sweetheart?”
Mom told me once, if not a dozen times, the story of her writing those first lyrics on toilet tissue while, well, you understand.
Fast forward to last Wednesday when I stopped by The South Whidbey Record corporate offices high atop the Bayview Corner to solidify the negotiations of my return to our hometown community paper.
“Say Lorinda, if I come back, would it be possible for me to deliver some newspapers, so I can really get the feel of the process. I haven’t delivered in over four decades, back when our Sunday paper was 25 cents.”
“You want to do what?”
“I would like to deliver some papers, just a few, so I can really get the feel again. You know, it will help me understand the connection of writer-delivery boy-reader.”
“Sure Jim. Here are the papers for our Edgecliff subscribers. You can’t mess that up too much.”
“Thanks Lorinda. I haven’t been down Edgecliff in years. Back in the days of Martha Furey at 505, Derek Parrott at 303, Bill Markovich at 738 and Saranell DeChambeau in her beautiful white house.”
So, off I went, papers in my right hand and subscriber list in my left. Off to deliver my first papers in 44 years.
Without my big brother.
Without our little red wagon.
But now, armed with a baby blue Chevy S-10 truck and a couple dozen non-Sunday sized papers, I was off.
Right hand on the wheel, driving on the left side of the road, with my non-dominant left hand folding the paper, trying to place it in a green colored tube with orange stickers, while reading 8-point type with point blank eyes.
No wonder papers are delivered in the morning when most drivers, readers and deer are asleep.
Oh, yes, it’s great to be back in the newspaper business.
I am overjoyed to be again sharing some musings with you every Wednesday about this same time, unless of course, I’m the guy delivering your paper.