The Canvas Carryall

To a child of limited means, in dire need of funds plus the need for fun and freedom, sporting a canvas newspaper bag became his answer. The grey, sturdy bag, advertising the name of the newspaper company, was significant for more than holding rolled papers ready to be porched.

Though only a soiled, woven fabric, it provided an identifying uniform in the community. His canvas bag slung over the shoulder or handle bars of a bike gave him a membership badge and a sense of pride as he carried a commodity that people requested every day. He wasn’t wandering on streets with no purpose, lost without direction or connection. More than a lanky, awkward youth, more than just another kid in a neighborhood full of children, his paperboy position was readily recognized. Children love recognition; they want to belong.

Plus the canvas bag gave additional benefits. The capacious carryall was used to hold snacks, books, yoyo, jacket, baseball and glove, comic books, sling shot, flat rock to skip on water, a broken pencil, Halloween treats, Christmas gifts, dog biscuits, water gun, whittling knife, a whistle, large rubber band, packet of candy cigarettes, skate key, pet…

When his feisty dog, Duffy, was in trouble, carrier Ron Haringa put him in his Seattle Times bag. Leroy Modine carried his pet rooster, Buddy, in his tote, right there at his side. Furthermore, the newspaper bag could be a pillow for a quick nap. Or folded square, it became a base for a sandlot ball game.

Did you ever use the canvas bag for other than holding newspapers?

Is your worn carryall still in a corner of the garage?

Was a son or daughter the recipient of your working bag?

Please share how you used your identifying uniform.

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