Newspaper Carrier Day rekindled fond memories
The Sept. 4 reminder of National Newspaper Carrier Day brought a flood of memories of my first job delivering the New York Post in Bronx apartment houses in the 1950s. I had helped my brother with his paper route until I turned 12 and could have a route of my own.
And, what a route it was; just three blocks long with 67 customers. Mondays were my favorite days because the paper was light and I could finish my deliveries in less than 45 minutes. All of my customers lived in apartments in the five-story buildings that lined the streets. Most lived on the upper floors, so my routine was to leave my bag of papers on the front stoop, take just enough copies to service two buildings and race up stairs. I double-folded the tabloid papers vertically, pressed them between the door handles and jams, and bounded to the roof. There I would jog to the edge, step or jump across to the roof of the adjoining building, enter the stairwell and race down five flights of stairs to the ground floor, stashing papers into door handles as I went.
Though most buildings abutted each other, some had gaps as much as 3 feet, making the step from one tiled wall to the next a challenge with an alley 60 feet below.
Looking back, Fridays were the most interesting, especially in winter, when an occasional door would open and I would be summoned with a beckoning finger and a simple word, “Goy,” to handle a chore that had not been completed before sundown. As one of the few non-Jews in the neighborhood, I had the privilege of helping many neighbors prepare for Shabbat.
I wish 12-year-olds today could know the joy of earning and serving as I did.