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April 30, 2013
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Former News-Review paperboys learned responsibility from routes

Delivering The News-Review is a first job for many Roseburg-area youngsters. As The News-Review notes its 146th anniversary, we asked former carriers to share their memories of that first job and how it influenced their lives and careers. Compiled below are the responses we received from paperboys of the past.

“I was a News-Review paperboy from 1961 to 1963, delivering papers on Winchester Street, North Stephens Street and various side streets connecting to Winchester Street.

Many of my customers gave me generous tips while working as a paperboy.

My parents bought a business in Canyonville and we moved there in the summer of 1963 thus ending my employment with The News Review. After moving to Canyonville, I bought an Italian scooter for around $400 with the money that I had saved while working as a paperboy.

Working as a paperboy for The News Review was my first ‘real’ job. It taught me a sound sense of economics, some financial independence, but most of all responsibility and commitment at a young age. I would highly recommend that given the opportunity any young person should consider working as a paperboy. I have always valued the life skills that I learned from that first job.

I am now 66 years old and retiring from the Oregon Department of Transportation in engineering. The responsibility and commitment learned as a paperboy has had a profound effect on my entire career.”

— Larry Wheatley, Canyonville

“I had a News-Review paper route for a couple of years when I was in the second grade at Benson Grade School in Roseburg.

My route started at The News-Review shop across from the Roseburg Fire Department and Police Station. The U.S. Bank is in the location now.

If you missed someone’s paper on your route, you would get a kick slip. I only got one when I first started. I missed the Knapp family. Mr. Knapp was the circulation manager for The News-Review.”

— Tom Keel, Umpqua

“Yes, I was a newspaper carrier as a young boy in the late ’60s.

This experience gave me a lot of responsibility and taught me a combination of important life skills that I would carry throughout my life. It taught me financial and people skills, how to deal with problems and challenges effectively when people didn’t pay.

I learned to rely on myself, to get papers out on time in all kinds of weather. I recall delivering papers on my sled one year. I believe it was in 1968 when we had a huge snowstorm. I had to get the papers out no matter what, which made me reliable.

Selling newspaper subscriptions taught me salesmanship and communication skills. The money I earned helped support my family in a small way.

This early start and experience gave me self-discipline and the people skills that I believe helped me throughout life, and has continued today with my current position as director for store operations for the Bi-Mart Corporation.”

— Rob Clark, Eugene

“I, too, was a News-Review newspaper carrier.

As a teenager, I was the carrier for Route 48 — Cardinal/Bodie/Berdine/Center/Susan Streets in the Fullerton IV neighborhood — from 1966 to 1969.

What did it teach me? To keep to a schedule. To know the neighbors — almost all of whom were N-R subscribers. The importance of customer service. To collect and account for the monthly subscriptions (all of $1.75 when I started). How to negotiate with those who claimed they only had very large bills — until I made change with stacks of dollar bills and handfuls of coins!

It also led me to open my first checking and savings accounts. Those earnings helped fund my first foreign trip as a summer exchange student, the start of a career involving foreign work and travel.

Twenty-five years later, my mom (still living in the family home on West Bodie Street) reported the distressed call from a neighbor who hadn’t received that day’s newspaper. That longtime subscriber was astonished to learn I was then in the Foreign Service, stationed 9,000 miles away, and that others had handled the route for years!”

Happy 146th Birthday, Roseburg News-Review!

— Carl F. Troy, Santa Fe, N.M .

“Come rain, come sleet, hail or snow, the paper must be delivered.

After school at Central Junior High I’d go to The News-Review office in the Professional Building on Oak Street (pre-Roseburg Blast years), roll the papers and then head off on my bike (three-speed, red Schwinn Tiger) after John Dunn had made sure we were ready.

I delivered papers with Bobby Stormer. Bobby was two years older than me and the route was not only a big one, but a difficult one above the old telephone office. Our first stop was by far the best, JJ Newberry. Root beer floats were 15 cents. A root beer was a nickel and ice cream was a nickel so Bobby and I would order a root beer and an ice cream and make our own floats and save a nickel.

The route was easier after we had conquered “the hill” behind the telephone office. Almost all of the houses are still there to this day. When I go by there now, I wonder how we even hit those porches with such accuracy. A few times we’d miss, which required a lot of extra work and time. When we finished the route, we would go to Bobby’s house on Rice Street and play Ping-Pong. I lived close by on Mill Street.

My two years delivering The News-Review were preceded by delivering the Oregon Journal with my brother, Dave. We’d get up early before school and do our route in the historic part of Roseburg, the Mill-Pine District. Being a paper carrier gave me a great work ethic!”

— Danny Fromdahl, Roseburg

“I was the paperboy for the Laurelwood neighborhood from March 1970 through August 1974. Mark Buehler was my predecessor and Mike Pardon my successor.

When a 10-year-old signs up to be a paperboy, in reality the entire family signs up. I was a substitute before taking the route, but doing it every day (Monday – Saturday) was a real responsibility. I could have only done it with the help of my brother, sisters, my mom and my dad.

Sports would get in the way, but one way or another, the papers were delivered. I was lucky. St. Joseph School got out at 2:30 and sports at Fir Grove started at 4. It was just enough time for me to do the paper route in fifth and sixth grades.

I walked the route with the papers in a bag over my shoulders. A typical day would be approximately 80 papers in about 45 minutes. Laurelwood was a great route. Each house had a unique location for delivery. My only two papers delivered outside the neighborhood boundary were to the high school library and the Travelodge. The daily run across a busy Harvard Avenue was always a challenge.

I knew many of the people in the neighborhood, but having the route allowed me to get to know some of the legends of Roseburg. I delivered to Dr. Stewart. His legacy lives on with the legion team and the park. I was lucky enough to play baseball for Dr. Stewart’s a few years after he passed.

I delivered to Hans Hansen of Hansen Chevrolet. Back when the paper was anywhere from $2.25 to $3.75 (per month) he used to always give me an extra quarter when I collected and tell me, “Buy a Chevy!”

I delivered to Gordon and Mary Smith. They were partners in Lockwood Ford. Four years of delivering papers turned into six years of mowing their lawn and a lifetime friendship.

I could probably tell a story about each customer. But the most important result of doing the paper route was that it paid for most of my first year of college. And ultimately a degree in journalism.”

— Paul Nevue, Vancouver, Wash.

“I have fond memories of being a paperboy for The News-Review when Fuller Johnson was our manager and looked after us like we were his kids.

We met as a group in what is now Mark V in the Professional Building in downtown Roseburg and bundled our papers for delivery. We shared many stories and laughed a lot about life’s experiences. It was a group of young men who liked their job and took their jobs serious.

I delivered papers from 1958 to 1960 when I was 12 to 14 years old. My route was in southeast Roseburg and later on in west Roseburg. I made a penny a paper (82 cents a day in southwest Roseburg and later $1.60 in west Roseburg) and delivery was six days a week excluding Sunday. If the customers did not pay their monthly bills of $1.50, the paper made us pay.

I learned a lot about business and collection early on. I had to call on my customers at the end of the month and ask for payment. Sometimes, I had to take my dad with me on those that refused to pay or would not pay. I also learned there are deadbeats who never paid, so we dropped them from our routes. We shared their names and asked the circulation department not to sign them up in the future.

I remember walking my route in southeast Roseburg, up and down those many hills after school in all kinds of weather, throwing the paper on the front porch. On the days that it rained or snowed, we wrapped the paper in wax paper that we purchased from Patterson’s Bakery so the customer could read their dry evening paper.

Most of my customers were very cordial and appreciated us, but we had a few that were grumpy no matter what. They tested your grit.

Over the years, I met some very nice people and was asked to do other jobs for them: feeding their animals when they were gone, mowing their lawns, cleaning windows and rain gutters, and occasionally helping them paint their houses. We would get bonuses from them for our birthdays and Christmas.

I appreciated The News-Review for giving me my first real taste in Business 101. Mr. Johnson told us every day as we left, “The more papers you sell on your route the more money you make.” Boys, he would say, “It is nothing more than a numbers game.”

It is similar to what I do now (real estate), for the more listings I get the more sales I make. Funny how that happened.

The News-Review provided a valuable service to the youth of our community and now my wife and I pay our paper bill annually so our paperboy or girl doesn’t have to worry about “deadbeats.”

— Neil D. Hummel, Roseburg

“My family moved to Roseburg in 1946. I was in the sixth grade at Rose Elementary School.

One day after school, my dad showed up at school, very unusual, and said that he had a job for me. I would be a paperboy for The News-Review. I had no idea what that was.

He took me to the paper where we picked up 40 newspapers and the addresses where they were to be delivered. I was to be paid $2.50 per week. He then took me to each address so I could deliver their paper. That was the only time in the four years I had that paper route that he took me to deliver papers. In the four years I had that route, my deliveries increased from 49 papers to about 160.

I have always been so thankful to my dad, and to The News-Review for that first job. It taught me a sense of commitment and responsibility that has been beneficial to me throughout my life. I have been very fortunate during my life, to have always had work during high school, college, 29 years of teaching and years as a building contractor. I am so thankful to the Lord for directing my path to The News-Review for my first job.”

— Ron Currier, Milwaukie

The responsibility and commitment learned as a paperboy has had a profound effect on my entire career.

Larry Wheatley
former paper boy

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The News-Review Updated Apr 30, 2013 10:49AM Published May 2, 2013 08:39AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.