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A Paper Boy Remembers Delivering the Patriot Ledger in the 1940s

December 27, 2010

Tom Saunders of Ellenton, Florida, used to deliver the Patriot Ledger newspaper in Quincy, Massachusetts, back in the 1940s. He was kind enough to share his paper boy recollections:

“I was a paper boy for the Quincy Patriot Ledger beginning around 1940. I had 105 customers and the paper cost 4 cents per paper. We all endured the usual weather elements: hot, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. I think a certain comradeship carried us through.

The Circulation Manager made me a District Manager during high school for the boys who picked up their papers at the main office on Temple  Street in Quincy. I counted out the papers for the boys and kept track of their totals, perhaps about 60 carriers. The papers were distributed on the lower level of the building next to the ‘pressroom’ where the papers were printed (I can still hear those presses). The boys would line up to receive their papers, down three flight of stairs to a large counter table where I worked.

Every Saturday, all the managers would collect the amount due for each paper route from the boys. We handled a variety of coin wrappers – pennies, nickels, dimes to be wrapped and prepared for the ‘night deposit’ at the local bank.

By noontime, the presses ran again and the process to distribute and deliver papers began. Such afternoons found the boys trying to collect money from customers who had not paid, usually collecting what many times was their pay for the week before heading to a favorite activity, be it baseball, football, hockey or the playground.

It was a time when the boys made new friends and were in contests to solicit new customers. One time about fifty of us were winners and attended one of the first night baseball games in Boston in the early 40s, between the Braves and Giants.

To look back almost seventy years ago I have to think, maybe, unknowingly, we self-educated ourselves in acquiring early salesmanship and management skills by working with customers and managing our time. I applaud all the newspaper carriers of that era, and all the boys, girls and adults of today who deliver newspapers, especially, the Quincy Patriot Ledger.”

(Tom was also featured in this blog on June 1, 2010. Here’s that link:  

https://rhkjr51.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/sandlot-baseball-a-kid-from-the-30s/)

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