I never had a paper route of my own, but I used to deliver papers for a friend during the summer when he went with his family on long vacations. Kihm Winship's essay on his paper route
brought back many memories, not all of them pleasant. The worst thing was collecting the money, as Kihm recalls:
People who didn't answer the door, didn't hear the doorbell, didn't have $2.48 and hey, could I come back next week, and of course I could. I was not a very intimidating figure. In the seventh grade, I weighed 65 pounds. Nor did I have a forceful personality or an upbeat attitude.
One dark, cold, windy, winter evening, I rang a doorbell and the man came to the porch and opened the door. I said, "Courier-Express, two-forty-eight." And he said, "I'll be right back." He closed the door. I stood out in the dark and cold for about five minutes, not wanting to anger a grownup by ringing the bell again, but finally giving in. The door opened again and he laughed out loud, and said, "Hey, I forgot about you!" Then he closed the door again.
But there are pleasant memories, too. I had teenage fantasies about a young divorcée on my route. In my daydreams, I was collecting money, she came to the door dressed in a flimsy negligée, invited me inside her apartment, said she was lonely, and ....