We delivered papers to homes on streets
in our assigned routes. Different worlds separated by
Streetcar tracks that ran North and South parallel to the
City limits of St. Louis and the Town of Wellston. Our
little routes were on assigned streets.
One thing for sure, stay off of
Easton Avenue and away from the Stores, as that was Abe
Balk’s Territory. Always keep one eye open for the R----y
brother’s. the were the “Bullies”.
Next, do not go on someone
else's route, unless they failed to show up and Abe said
cover the route.
You could buy or trade the previous
newsboy for his route and his customers with Dave’s
approval. However, I did not need do this as my route was owned by
my brother Lee, before him by brother Al and before him
our brother Ray. Dave already knew me as my brother’s used
to drag me in to help out from time to time. I knew
Dave from 1937 to 1942.
The R----y brother's route was East of
mine, East of the Hodiamont Avenue, they seemed to think it
was the Hodiamont Streetcar tracks. As I "Google Earth"
the nearly empty urban area today, I see that our
disagreements were over just about 270 feet of street
overlap on each of the five streets of my regular route.
The R----y brothers were eight and ten years older than me,
which was a tremendous difference when I was ten to eleven.
Outsized and outnumbered, I learned to let them have that
less than football length of each street between Cockrill
and Hodiamont Avenue. My brothers helped when I told them
that my wagon was dumped and they ruined some papers, or
that they stole some of my papers, while I was delivering
the paper to a door, or busy collecting from a regular
customer. Brothers were not always around, so I avoided my
enemies when I could, and kept a few good throwing rocks in
my pockets in case I needed them. A roll of pennies in the
fist helped once or twice also.
The Sunday papers sold for ten cents..
Dave would give us what we needed for our regular customers,
plus extra for those we could sell by yelling our heads off
as we covered our route. We then spent an hour or so
“Stuffing” the early printed paper that came without the
News into the still warm FIVE STAR news part of the Sunday
edition. After the papers were stuffed we would “roll and
tie” the papers that we would later deliver to the door, or
throw if they had a dog we did not get along with.
be just getting daylight now, about 6:30 or 7:00 AM on a
Sometimes we had so many papers we
would push one wagon and pull another.... That was tough, as
I weighed less than 100 pounds and my route was up and down
hills.. When we checked in for our Tally with Dave, we
turned in our papers, (clean and not wet, not read or
soiled) and paid Dave eight cents for each paper sold. So,
for working from about 5:00 in the Morning on a Sunday until
about Noon, I could make two or three dollars including tips, if any. Half of that went to my Mom. Pitching in for
expenses at home was something we did. We did not think
about it, we just did it. These days Pearl would be called
a parent without a partner, raising five kids. I was the
youngest and we all brought home the bacon, one strip at a
Rain, snow, or nice weather, 52
Sundays in a row deliver the papers, or you lose the
route. The Sunday sound from the Newsboys was often “Sunday
morning Post and Globe Paper” , sounded like “UNday
ORNing, OST and Globe AYPER
ERS AHH” The sound traveled further and it was
easier to say. Not much sleeping went on when we all hit
the streets at once, with the steel wheels of the two wheel
carts we called wagons and
the screaming paperboys trying to get customers to the doors. Some “customers” paid monthly, and
some of them, did not pay at all...that’s a tough lesson in business for an eleven year old.
At age seven through ten, I would
accompany brothers Al or Lee …get up early, help stuff
papers, tie them, deliver up the steps to the porches.
I usually considered it fun and they would give me a quarter
or fifty cents a day.
My brothers moved
on to jobs setting pins in the Wellston Bowling
Alley. I would follow them there for
more employment enlightenment and adventures. I was about twelve when I started setting pins.
Our Mom kept track of us, not
just asking about school, but also what did we do at
work. She was always interested in what we did
also how we were treated as well as, did we give a
fair day's work to our boss. Daily debriefing for