Friday, March 12, 2010

The End of an Era

For 13 years, one or another of my children has had a paper route. It was in an area that was not feasible to just set them loose, so I drove: once a week to throw the paper and from one to three times a month to do collections (invariably most people were not home the first time we went out.) These funds paid for computers, summer camps, a violin and spending money for the kids and taught them how to deal with the public. My children learned alot about human nature. For example, often the person with the Lexus in the driveway balked at paying their monthly $2.50 fee for their weekly paper, but the person with a beater in the driveway in a humble home on a gravel drive would pay gladly AND include a $2.00 tip. Another customer routinely lied and said that they had already paid ahead. One son quit and passed the route on to his younger brother after collecting one day. Walking up to the door of a nice house in an affluent neighborhood, he saw the owner dive behind a sofa as he approached the door. He rang the bell, no one came, he turned to leave and over his shoulder saw them pop up from behind the couch. He waved at them, went back to the door and proceeded to collect his $2.50. That was the day he quit.
Snow storms, icy roads and vacations (we had to arrange our own substitute) never prevented a delivery for 13 years. The generosity of most and the miserliness of some made it a great experience. All of my kids and myself learned some good life lessons: be nice to people, be generous, don't shirk responsibility and tell the truth.
Last Wednesday was our last day to throw the paper. Kind of sad...kind of not.

"Do unto others as you would have them do to you" Luke 6:31


  1. when I was growing up we did paper routes forever! I both loved and hated it. It was good for us. When I was 18 my mom was very ill for a few months. I drove my younger sister, who had by then inherited the route everyday (it was just in our neighborhood) because I remembered how much I didn't love it.

  2. What a great tribute to your days in route!


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