TOMORROW – the 07TH of August – is the 39TH anniversary of the end of my very first job. On that date back in 1981 one of the two major daily newspapers in our nation’s capital – ‘The Washington Star’ – published its final edition after over 128 years. It went bankrupt, and most of its equipment was bought out by its longtime rival ‘The Washington Post’.
I was a newspaper carrier / “paper boy” for The Star (and The Post). As a rare afternoon big city newspaper I delivered The Star to the homes around my McLean Virginia neighborhood every day after Junior High School. (I was in the 8TH grade at the time.) That final edition of The Star was a collector’s item, and many of those newspapers that were delivered on that final afternoon by carriers just like me all around the Washington D.C. area were stolen. It was also sold out at all of the stores. An institution had ended.
That was my very first paid job. Very soon after that I was pursued by a local distributor for the competitor – ‘The Washington Post’. They wanted me as their “paper boy” for my neighborhood, and I accepted. I delivered The Post every morning up until a few days before I left home and joined the Air Force right after my 18TH birthday.
I also delivered during the week for The Post’s new competitor – ‘The Washington Times’.
So I delivered a lot of newspapers around my neighborhood from early-1981 until mid-1985. Additionally I earned money cutting some of my neighbors’ lawns during the growing seasons (not winter). I made a lot of money from age 13 to 18. I learned how to interact with customers. I learned how to manage and save money during those critical teen years. I even got my own checking account back then. I got to buy a lot of my own things for fun. I also got to buy my first car to help me deliver newspapers. (That was a major upgrade from my previous newspaper delivery method – via 10-speed bike.)
Nowadays the newspaper carrier is pretty much an extinct job. In fact the newspaper itself is fading fast.
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