.Newspaper carrier: Delivering the morning Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in the early 1950s.

by James K. Sayre

In 5th grade, in Mount Lebanon, a suburb of Pittsburgh, in western Pennsylvania, back in 1952, I started my first outside job. (I was actually an "independent contractor" back then, although I didn't learn of the concept until decades later...). It involved getting up early, at 5:45 AM, and delivering some fifty or sixty morning news papers around the neighborhood, hopefully by the designated 7 AM requirement. The job didn't pay much: only 1.25 cents per daily paper and 5 cents for the Sunday paper.

Sometimes, I got small Christmas tips/gifts. One stuck in my mind, the woman that ran a small gift shop in the downtown gave me a spiffy manicure set in a small leather case. Cool. Because we had to collect for the Post-Gazette subscriptions on a weekly or monthly basis, and because we were sometimes forced to undertake street sales of "extras," I bought a coin changer, that had four barrels, that held nickels, dimes, quarters and pennies. The coin changer would fit onto your belt, with a couple of metal clips.

I did this job for about four years, when I discovered that my younger brother, Richard, was earning much better money in the summer with his lawn-mowing jobs. The carrier job did provide me with some spending money and I did buy three "big ticket" items with my savings in eighth grade: a large leather-topped desk, a good 35mm camera and a pair of 7x35 binoculars.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette also did me a small honor by once naming me as their "Carrier of the Month." It printed a little article about me, mentioned a couple of my ambitions, and added a nice picture, too.




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Web page last updated on 25 September 2007.