I got up right at dawn and stumbled outside. A last-quarter moon right overhead and the sky brightening, but I could make out the four corner stars of Orion, the Mighty Hunter. An Autumn constellation. Yes, fall is right on track!
Early mornings are unusual for me now, but as a 14-year-old with a paper route, I saw the dawn every day. In Kingsville, Texas, 1942, I threw the west-side morning route for the San Antonio Light. Shipments of newspapers came in on the early morning train. We paperboys broke open the bundles and hopped aboard. If we could sell a few papers (a nickel each) we could get enough change to buy a pineapple pie at the bakery. Then off on our trusty bicycles, newspapers in cloth bags strung between the handlebars, folding papers on the fly and tossing them into yards. No plastic bags; if it rained your paper sailed onto your porch.
This was wartime and newspapers were the major source of information. In Kingsville we read two San Antonio papers, the Houston Chronicle, and two Corpus Christi papers – morning and evening. Yes, we did have radio – WOAI out of San Antonio, 120 on the dial of your Atwater Kent – but we relied on the morning paper.
Throwing a newspaper was a summertime activity for me. Some of my friends – Larry C. and Harold H., I recall – kept their routes going year-round. But another year and a year older, we’d find other after-school employment and pass the routes along to younger brothers.
In these modern times, what occupies a 14-year-old boy when school is out? Whatever does, I’ll bet it isn’t as much fun as those early-morning rides to the railroad station, last stars in the sky, the little city just awakening.
Do they still bake pineapple pies?
August 28, 2016. Happy birthday to Ida-May DeRyee.
“Play the players, not the cards they hold.” – Hiram the piano player (The Hand of Lou Diamond).