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Past is Present

February 18, 2015

With the extreme cold, doing errands in the city on foot requires more than just a To Do list; it requires that list to be numbered in the right order so it saves you from getting frostbite. This made a friend of mine ask, “When did you get to be so well-organized?” I thought it over for all of one second.

newspaper girlI was eleven. That’s when I got a paper route. Taking it over from an older boy, he warned me I had big shoes to fill, “Cause you know, you’re a girl.” But I had a bike, a metal rack on the back, and determination.

After school and weekend mornings, I plunked a stack of Cape Cod Times newspapers into my bike rack and pedaled off, following the route the boy had shown me. After a few weeks I wondered if there was a more efficient course, since I wanted to watch General Hospital at my friend Leslie’s house.

So I drew a map of the route and numbered the homes in the order I thought quickest. By delivering to all the homes on the right side of the street first and then those on the left on the way back (instead of running back and forth across the street as the “genius” before me had done) shaved off minutes.

Mind you, this was in the days before newspapers were tossed onto driveways. I actually had to plgirl bikeace the newspaper inside the screen door. So I took note of any houses that had tricky doors, steps, ferocious dogs, etc. to calculate extra time. And when all 30 homes had their newspapers, I’d pedal off like a bat out of hell to Leslie’s in hopes of getting there before Luke and Laura shared their first kiss.

A year later I handed the paper route over to a friend, along with my bike rack and, by this time, the crumpled map. I was in Middle School and had moved on to more important undertakings like basketball and softball. I was also done with Luke and Laura. Looking back, I appreciate the efficiency I mastered, a skill I still use daily, and not just with errands. But more than that, I appreciate the rapid pedaling, as those leg muscles have held up just as long as the lessons.


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  1. Marilyn Solomon permalink

    What an ambitious young girl you were, and you have grown up into an ambitious young woman. I’m happy to have you in my life if only for short periods of time. 💘

  2. Joe F. permalink

    Not only were you ambitious and efficient with the route of delivering newspapers but you learned a great deal about being responsible, reliable and independent for yourself. My daughter built a large paper route for herself in her neighborhood and was known graciously as the “newspaper girl”.
    It’s a great character builder at a young age as I bet you can attest to

  3. Shelly Cohen permalink

    I remember how seriously you took this job and still delivered all newspapers after a big snowstorm. it was a family affair that day and we all helped you deliver each paper. It was dad’s idea to put all the papers in your big sled and drag it along the street. All the Cohens went ( including Jackie ) since we were concerned about any live wires down after the storm. Good memories and good lessons. You cared about the written word getting out then too………..

  4. Auntie M permalink

    I always wondered where it started! Good job

  5. Richard Aberson permalink

    You were then and still are way ahead of the times.

  6. Leslie Hochstein permalink

    hahaha! I remember your paper route! And GH with popcorn and green apples. 🙂
    did I ever tell you that in high school during field hockey 3 mile runs before practice I would run to my dorm, watch 15 minute for so, and run back to field. 🙂

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