Escondido, CA
Partly sunny
Partly sunny

Paper boy, collecting!


“Paper boy, collecting”. Ever hear that on a late Saturday morning or afternoon? It was a minor miracle if I collected the entire route in one day. 

What was more Norman Rockwell Americana than watching a paper boy or girl on Sunday morning trying to steady the bike with that heavy Sunday edition in an overfull canvas bag wrapped across the handle bars. Darn, it was difficult to maintain my bike until about a quarter of the route was delivered. Of course we didn’t put rubber bands or plastic bags around the papers. Hmmm, will today’s paper delivery people be permitted to apply the one use plastic bags any longer? I know water being sold in one use plastic bottles probably has a short life ahead. But I digress.

Being a paper boy at age 10 was my first job. My parents told me that if I wanted spending money I would have to work for it, ergo taking a New Brunswick Home News route. To show you how times have changed, the Home News is no longer. In fact my hometown paper was a weekly back then and the current mayor resurrected the Chronicle a few years ago which is now a monthly. By the way, “back then” was quite a few decades ago. I kept the route for about four more years.

Folding the papers took on almost an art form. I could fold the paper, depending on the day of the week, into a rectangle, a triangle or a square with the Saturday edition the thinnest of the week. I only did the square for the customers who were, let’s just say, not too loose with a tip. And flipping the paper from the bike while not stopping was somewhat athletic. Never left the paper in the driveway always could reach close to the front door.

Additionally, I got into mowing lawns with a push mower. Dad wouldn’t let me use his Briggs & Stratton power mower, oh no not gonna use that one! I pulled that mower all over town and did edging by hand. Some good money. In winter we prayed for snow and listened to the radio at 7 a.m. to hopefully hear that our schools were closed. You could almost hear boys yelling hurray! when school was closed. Then gobble down breakfast, hit the garage, get the shovel and hit the streets shoveling driveways and walks. Our family doctor’s office was at the end of the block and my first job of the day. He paid best but he had a lot more shoveling to be done. Also I mowed his lawn for equally good pay.

Why do I talk about this today? Because our kids today don’t have those opportunities early in life to learn a little about business and responsibilities. I chose to write about this because I recently heard about a survey that showed the “average” allowance is $30 per week. For what? I don’t know what age groups were represented but I sure hope it did not include 10 year olds. Of course, teenagers have job opportunities usually in restaurants or supermarkets as was my first tax paying job at age 16 shagging carts at the new supermarket.

When my children were young I remember the local high school in New Jersey had a service for parents to call and request a baby sitter. They had a list of responsible students to recommend and we never had an issue. I don’t know if that is done today but perhaps could be? But alas, in today’s litigious society more than likely not a probability, It just seems that there were so many opportunities for kids to earn some spending money doing all sorts of odd jobs if you kept your eyes and ears open for them. It’s not a career move unless you decide to make it so.

Now something totally different. After last week’s Council meeting I have to address comments made regarding our ‘perceived’ downtown parking problem. Two studies by the Walker Group, professionals who specialize in parking issues, concluded that Escondido has a parking management problem, not a parking problem. Escondido has been discussing perceived downtown parking problems for over 50 years incorporating numerous design iterations to resolve the ‘problem’. Another solution coming in a year or two.

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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