Paper Carrier's Journal This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   When I was young I read Beverly Cleary's book, Henry and The Paper Route. From then on I always wanted a paper route of my own. When I was nine my big chance came. Our paperboy mentioned that he was going to quit the route. He asked me to help find someone to take his place. I jumped at this fantastic opportunity. He said that it would be fine, but he had to talk to his boss. My parents, meanwhile, were not so crazy about the idea. They explained that I would have to get up very early every day and spend several hours each week collecting money for the papers. In the winter I would have to get up when it was still dark and climb up and down unshoveled steps to deliver the paper. Somehow I was able to convince them to let me try.

The next few mornings I went with the carrier who graciously showed me what to do. He also told me where certain customers specifically expected their paper. I was still interested in the job so I met the manager of the local Globe office. He explained the kinds of responsibilities I would have and had me fill out a card. I was thrilled! I had a job!

Soon I found out that what my parents had predicted was true: a paper route was very hard work. I was up at six during the week and seven on weekends. There were no late night movies for me. I needed forty-five minutes to deliver my papers each day. On Sundays I needed a ride because the papers were too heavy to carry. And the winters were definitely the worst time of the year. I delivered the papers when it was freezing cold and pitch dark. I would always long for the coming of spring.

I had forty customers on my route, which I was able to maintain. Most were very nice and gave tips. Many would give generous tips at Christmas. But there were always some who seemed to get their weekly entertainment from harassing the paper carrier. Once a man screamed at me in vulgar language because his paper was delivered ten minutes late the previous morning.

One of the reasons I had taken the route was to earn spending money. I made thirty-five dollars a week in commission and tips. In January of 1986, I was overjoyed to hear that there was a new way for me to make even The Boston Globe announced that it was offering a $5,000 scholarship to anyone who completed a route for three years. Since I already had the route for over a year and a half, I received some credit for that time.

The next two and a half years went by slowly. In the beginning the route had been interesting and exciting. But after almost three years, and having seen everything at least twice, it was starting to become a nuisance. I still couldn't stay up late or go out with my friends. The absolutely worst part was arranging for vacation coverage. It was hard for someone who already had a route to cover another. But it always seemed to work out and luckily I was always able to go away.

Despite all the hard times I still feel that doing the route was definitely a positive experience. It brought me much satisfaction and joy. I most certainly learned how a business works and more importantly, how to deal with different types of people. I learned the meaning of responsibility and satisfaction of a job well done. The experience will certainly help me later in my life. Working as a newspaper carrier was very important to me. I took pride in giving good service to my customers. The years spent at this job were very pleasant for the most part and gave me great memories. (I would highly recommend that young people try this route for earning and learning.) Best of all is the luxury of reading the paper each morning now knowing that I do not have to walk around six blocks to deliver forty copies of The Boston Globe. n

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 10 at 1:31 pm
i love this so much!
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