|The Paper Route (standard:drama, 982 words)|
|Author: Maureen Stirsman||Added: Dec 02 2003||Views/Reads: 2874/1529||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|My husband, Tom, was twelve years old in 1948. His paper route was in the high rise apartments in Chicago. And--it was Christmas.|
The Paper Route He was twelve years old that Christmas in 1948. Every morning for the past year he had gotten up two hours earlier than the year before to do his paper route. Then he hurried home for a bowl of Wheaties and a glass of Ovaltine, before running down the block to St. James Lutheran School. He liked the German teachers there and the special picnics in the summer with baloney on big slabs of soft white bread. At this time of year he enjoyed the special programs where the real meaning of Christmas was emphasized. He lived in Chicago in a basement apartment with his parents and two brothers. Tom Pat had a good life. Each morning he pulled on his clothes and ran the block to the newspaper office where he stood in line waiting to count his papers. He quickly learned to fold the newspapers around the advertisements and by the time his hands were black from the print he was ready to go. He loaded his papers into a three-wheeled cart provided by the Chicago Tribune and pushed the 400 papers to the first stop, the three story red brick apartment building on the corner. He grabbed thirty papers and ran up three flights of stairs, tossing a paper at each customer's door. Soon he was back to the cart and pushed it next door to do the same thing there. Sometimes he would see someone in the hall. “Hi, honey. Is it cold out there?” A grandmother with white hair in metals curlers pulled her chenille robe closer around her heavyset body and shuffled in fluffy purple slippers. A thin-faced man walking a poodle shouted, “Hey, boy, do you have any extras?” Ninety minutes later Tom Pat pushed the empty cart back to the newspaper office and was soon sitting in the warm schoolroom that smelled of chalk and peanut butter sandwiches. He usually went home for lunch but today his mother was going Christmas shopping and gave him 25 cents to buy his lunch at the corner drug store. He sat on the steps of the store eating cheese crackers and drinking chocolate pop. He loved these days. By the time he got back to school white fluffy flakes were falling on the playground. Maybe it would be a white Christmas like everyone sang about after all. After school Tom Pat repeated the process of delivering papers going to as many apartments as in the morning and some one-family homes too. The ‘Trib' reported ‘seven shopping days until Christmas'. It was a very exciting time of year. Ordinarily the boys didn't have to collect for the newspapers but at Christmas they had a supply of calendars that they delivered personally. That Saturday Tom Pat knocked on the door of each customer. “Hello, I'm your paper boy. Here is your calendar.” Everyone gave him a quarter, some a dollar. Mrs. Kennedy asked him to come in for a cookie and glass of milk. The red and green frosted sugar cookies were not like his mother's famous chocolate chip, but they were good anyway. And there were many presents under her tree. Tom Pat's mother shopped carefully for the three boys and always sent a package back to Kentucky to her mother and four sisters. Although her husband, Tom, had a steady job at the train factory, money was tight and it was expensive to live in Chicago. Tom Pat passed out the calendars and counted his money- $250.00. It was a fortune. The things he could buy with that much money- basketballs, bikes, wagons- wonderful things. Why he could go to Dinkle's Bakery and get sweet rolls for everyone. For the next half hour he dreamed and touched the coins and bills in his pocket. Then back to reality- he started home. His mother was at the sink peeling potatoes when he got there. There was plate of chocolate chip cookies on the table. “How was your day, honey?” she asked. “Oh, good.” he said. “Today we gave out the calendars.” “Great.” Eloise turned to her son. “Did your customers give you anything?” “Yes, Mama.” He took part of the bills from his pocket and handed them Click here to read the rest of this story (30 more lines)
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