The Washington Star

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.

All rights reserved (c) 2020 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

My Top 5 Hits RETRO – 1999

Every Friday night I post the Top 5 of one of my classic hit music charts based on personal preference and influenced by radio airplay from either 10, 20, or 30 years ago this weekend (rotating each week). Here it is – for the week ending Sunday May 16TH 1999:

  1. “The Hardest Thing” – 98°
  2. “I Want It That Way” – The Backstreet Boys
  3. “Livin’ La Vida Loca” – Ricky Martin
  4. “Special” – Garbage
  5. “That Don’t Impress Me Much” – Shania Twain

Good solid pop music back then – with Garbage being the anomaly.

I like to do this from time to time. Looking back at my checkbook register is a lot of fun. Back then I wrote a whole lot more checks than I do today. (The only checks I typically write today are my weekly tithes to my church.)

So 20 years ago this week I got paid. I got paid today too. My net pay back then was about 58.6% of what it was today. That’s good progress.

My telephone bill for a month of service 20 years ago was $52.85. Last weekend I paid $78.99. You may be thinking, “Why do you even have a telephone bill ?  It’s 2019 !” There are many logical reasons why I still have an “old-school” land-line telephone. I get very few telemarketing calls on my cell phone – because I rarely give out my cell phone number. I give out my longtime land-line number instead. The telemarketers call that number. I also live deep in the heart of hurricane country. During bad storms cell phone towers lose power, get damaged, or topple over. Most of our standard telephone lines are underground and operate continuously during and after hurricanes.

I paid my Chevron bill during this week 20 years ago. Gas was cheap back then – about $1.25 per gallon. It’s more than twice that amount today, but I’m not complaining about $2.70 per gallon. I remember when it was approaching $5 per gallon. I’m planning a road-trip in about 4 months from South Florida to North Texas and back. That’s about 3,000 miles. At $2.70 per gallon and about 42 miles per gallon with my car that’s a little less than $200 in gas. I got this !

You know 1999 was not that good of a year for me – privately and professionally. It was a rather forgettable year, or I’ve just chosen to forget about that year over time. The music of yesteryear brings back those memories – good and bad. As Shania said, “That Don’t Impress Me Much”. I feel the same about 1999.

It’s halftime my friends. I’ll be back on Sunday afternoon and Monday night with two more blog posts for this weekend. Enjoy your Saturday. Go make some good memories that you’ll cherish for years to come.

All rights reserved (c) 2019 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries