Tales from the route

To celebrate National Newspaper Week, The Reminder asked you to share your stories of working as a paper carrier for this or any other publication. Local newspapers have been and continue to be important to the community, and they deserve your support. These are just a few of the many interesting and entertaining submissions we received.

 

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My sister and I both delivered papers back in the late 70s on Terrace and Bellevue Avenues. In those days, the people on those streets were generally older, retired people who had lived there for a long time. You got to know them, as there was a real sense of neighbourhood back then.

If my sister did your street, you got quick delivery. If I did it, you got great conversation!

I always liked people and used to visit my way around. People were so nice and everyone thought the Fawcett girls were the best paper girls ever, as we were very responsible. Every house had their little quirks and we just did what the customer wanted. There was an older couple on Terrace, and the lady used to say “Close me gate,” every time we left her yard. If I remember correctly she was Mrs. Potkonjak. Mr and Mrs. Guymer used to live in the house at the end of Terrace at the top of Third Avenue. They were the “candy people.” Along Terrace there were many visits with Lisa and Roger Crone. Freddy and Mina Lloyd lived beside the Crones. Freddy had rabbits in the back yard and we’d play with them and bring them vegetable waste to eat.  

Beside the Lloyd’s at the Javorsky’s is likely where I spent most of my time. Julie and John became like my grandparents. I’d go there even when I wasn’t working to play cards, make and eat donuts and perogies and visit. I continued to visit them for years after I grew up.

Elsie and Les Schoffer lived at the top of the bridge. Elsie made me scones and cookies and we visited not too many years ago. She sent cookies and scones for my boys, so you can see how many years after I quit delivering papers that we still visited.

On Bellevue, my parents and grandma were always good tippers. Maybe a little biased, but I really was a good paper girl.

Mrs. Cole was always happy to talk. I remember the Burkes, Sorensons and Paskiws. I feel bad missing people but you know, this was 40 years ago! You can see why it took me three hours to deliver 20 papers.

- Tanis Fawcett

 

The reason I’m writing is not to tell a funny story, but to publicly apologize to anyone on my route for being possibly one of the worst paperboys in this history of The Reminder.

I was around 12 or 13 when I got this glamorous job as a paperboy. I thought it was the coolest job ever, until I realized rather quickly that I didn’t like walking after school.

Four o’clock happens.

I start to walk home from McIsaac School, dreading the hassle of my mom yelling at me to go deliver my papers. Doesn’t she know I’m still grieving over Britney’s VMA performance?

First paper, my lovely next door neighbour. I swiftly cut across the lawn and insert the paper. Bam! I’m good at my job.

Second paper. I jump over the dirt pile in driveway of this customer’s house - the pile that’s been here since I was six years old. Let’s get real - you’re not going to use it.

I insert the paper in the door slot. Pow! Another happy customer!

This goes on for the next hour while I dance around Creekside and Queen Street, winking to the mailbox as I walk away, doing a jump spin off someone’s deck. I thought I was the Tyra Banks of paperboys.

I go to insert my next paper, and am informed that this customer switched to a different carrier because I take too long to deliver my paper, which is true, but for good reasons: 4 pm, Oprah; 5 pm MuchMusic Countdown and snacking; 6 pm Convince myself that -29°C isn’t cold; 6:30 pm-ish, papers.

Here I am. It’s my last paper. I open the mailbox. Classic. Garry always beats me to the door, so I hand him his paper and run home. It’s pitch black outside because it’s winter in Flin Flon. I get inside and start to dethaw. Mom starts asking where my collection money from the papers has gone, knowing I spent it at the zoo without paying my paper bill, yet, so they would pay the difference. That became a regular thing until my parents told me I should give up the job because it cost them too much money to keep making up the difference.

So, 12 years later, I would like to publicly apologize to the residents of Creekside and Queen Street for being your paperboy. You always thanked me and shoveled paths for me and were all great, but I was not cut out for that job!

Today I’m a flight attendant. If you ever see me on your flights, let me know who you are and your first drink is on me!

- Brayden Kosar

 

I was a papergirl for The Reminder in the late 70s when I was around 13. I did it for about two years and it was my first job other than babysitting. My route included the Northern Lights manor and the two blocks on Green Street across from the manor all the way past the zoo.

Winters were brutal! We warmed up wherever we could. This is why the manor was such a great place to have on your route! At that time there were quite a few suites for the old folks, where they could live independently. They were always kind and happy to share a story or two with you, and often treats! One time one of the residents from the care home part of the manor, chased me down the hall yelling at me to give her back her carrots! She was lost in her own memories and thought I was stealing from her garden. After I was done with my route, I passed it on to my younger sister. At times I helped her out and one time we got caught in a small wind tunnel between houses and at least thirty papers flew out of our arms and went everywhere. We had to gather them up and take them home, which was close by, to sort them all into order again! That was a very long night but a bonding moment, I’m sure, which I’ll treasure, although at the time I don’t think I was too pleased.

I have fond memories from that job. It allowed me to buy my first 35mm camera! The interaction with customers, who were also my neighbours, was priceless. Thank you Flin Flon Reminder for letting me be a part of your history.

- Mona Antal

 

I delivered the Winnipeg Free Press in the Ross Lake area from approximately 1964 to 1968. My route consisted of 46 papers to deliver on time to my customers.

My girlfriend delivered the Winnipeg Tribune and had the same amount of papers to deliver and was in the same area. We mostly delivered our papers together!

Saturday morning was always such a treat for us especially in the winter! We would pull the toboggan up Third Avenue Hill and stop at the Tribune Office and the Winnipeg Free Press Office, pay our paper collection, and pick up our papers to deliver.

The fun part was going to the bus depot uptown and ordering our french fries and gravy, strawberry milkshake and of course a piece of pumpkin pie.

We would then pull the papers in the toboggan to the top of Third Avenue Hill, jump on the toboggan and ride to the bottom of the hill!

There was one really bad winter storm and the snow was up to the top of the fences! Myrna and I were the only ones that delivered papers that day in all of Flin Flon!

When we finished our route that day, we both sat up on the cupboard in our porch and my Dad rubbed our frozen feet. This seems like a lifetime ago but is a great memory!

- Kathy Woolford

 

I was the paperboy for Adams Street when I was in junior high, and when we moved to the company apartments I took over that route. I do not remember many stories but I do remember getting a cat as payment from one customer. I was a paperboy for about two years when I was 12 to 14 years old.

- Daryl Pollock

 

I have fond memories of the Flin Flon Daily Reminder. I worked for Tommy Dobson, the founder, from the beginning. The office and shop was in the downstairs of a building on Hapnot Street. I was 10 or 11 years old. The paper usually consisted of two single sheets, double sided, I believe, and stapled together by hand.

I had a paper route with the Winnipeg Free Press and as I recall it was 51 customers. On Tuesdays we had two papers because the train from Winnipeg didn’t run on Mondays.

With The Reminder we had to find our own customers. My route started from zero and grew to 127. The Winnipeg Free Press, Winnipeg Tribune and the Saskatoon Star Phoenix paid their carriers 10 cents per customer per week. The Reminder paid the same. One didn’t have to have a degree in economics to realize why The Reminder was a better opportunity.

Congratulations on more than 70 years of service to Flin Flon and the surrounding area.

- Norm Neville

 

 
 

When I was 12 years old we lived at 230 Whitney Street in Birchview. The Winnipeg Tribune was a daily newspaper that was shipped to Flin Flon on the train. I delivered the paper for about two years in my home area, from Green Street to Ross Creek and beyond toward the shore of Ross Lake where Manitoba Avenue is today. My deliveries took me to three homes over there. I remember that a couple of those families kept cows, pigs and chickens. A few customers I still remember are the Pasiekas, McIdoos, Laidlaws, Lindgrens and Brysons. Members of these old-time families are still living in Flin Flon today. In the windows of some homes, white stars were hung to honour family members who were away at war. I remember the Hagen family had four of these stars in their window. If a family lost their loved one in the fighting, a gold star was hung to honour that sacrifice. It was a sad thing to see the gold stars.

In total I delivered to 51 homes. I carried the papers in a canvas sack. The Saturday papers with comics and advertising made for a heavy load. On those days, to lighten the load, I split the route into two trips so that was okay. But, the days I dreaded most were in winter when the train was sometimes late coming in, likely due to heavy snow storms. Anyway, they were too late for that day’s delivery. So, on the next day I delivered two papers to each home, doubles in paper boy lingo. On days like that I hauled the papers around on a toboggan with a box on top that held the papers in a flat stack. Not often, but on occasion, I was given a scolding for not bringing the train-delayed newspaper on time. Oh well, I guess that was the cost of doing business.

Collection day came every two weeks on Mondays. I had a collection book with perforated tickets, one page for each customer. When I received payment the weekly tickets were torn out and given to the customer as proof of payment. My ticket agent had a small office in the Flin Flon Hotel. That's where I went to pay my bill. I had to pay him for every paper he sent out to my route. The money that was left over was my income. Most of the time my customers paid on time but sometimes there would be a delay.

At Christmas, I was very pleased to get a tip.

The cost of the daily newspaper was 5 cents, 10 cents on Saturdays because of the comics. But my delivery customers paid 25 cents a week. My take home pay was small, but I remember that at one point I saved enough money to buy five War Bonds at Birchview School. I bought them for $5.00 each. They were numbered certificates that could be cashed in at the bank whenever I wanted.

- Elwood Strom

 

If you value community newspapers that publish LOCAL, HONEST and USEFUL news and information, please take a minute out of your day, make a pledge and help spread the message. As part of National Newspaper Week, October 1-7, 2018, Newspapers Canada is holding a pledge drive: Newspapers Matter. Click on the link below to add your name to the pledte. The future of truthful and locally generated news and information depends on it. Thanks in advance for helping!

Newspapers Matter #NowMoreThanEver

 

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