Dreamin’ of a Green and Silver Christmas
Were paperboys even aware of miserable December days: thick fog, deep snow, dangerous ice? Why appear cheerful with Jack Frost sneaking around corners, attacking ears and toes?
When November was torn off the calendar, paperboys received notice from the manager that bundles of next year’s calendars were for sale. And the newspaper company ordered turkeys for the carriers and family. Paperboys’ smiles widened; the paper was inside the storm door. With less time pressure, as school closed for Christmas break, carriers ignored the wicked weather.
Sparkling snowflakes elevated people’s Christmas spirit. The paperboy’s polished manners sparkled bright enough to light candles. Seeing a brightly lit tree by the window, standing by a fresh pine wreath on the door, a carrier rang the doorbell. One week a year he actually welcomed collecting, as spicy aromas wafted from holiday specialties like stollen, lebkuchen, gingerbread, accented with creamy cocoa. His bicycle basket over-flowed with gifts of gloves, hankies, a billfold, cartons of candy and packages of cookies.
He politely handed a calendar to his subscriber. Yes, customers knew when the paperboy was naughty but recognized he was a nice child, and reached out with cash. His wish was fulfilled.
Instead of a dime tip, the carrier received a dollar. In wintry Montana, in the Depression, a customer gave Bob Gilluly a silver dollar. In 1955, in New York, Jim Opp counted $90 in tips from his customers. Green and silver were delightful Christmas colors.
Not solely focused on gettin,’ paper carriers became excited with giving. Savings, enlarged with tips, provided funds for shopping. From her early morning route, Zita Stanley earned money to buy family gifts. Brothers Walter and John Linne beamed with pride as they handed gifts to their family. Christmas was the best time of year for young paper carriers.