Posted August 12, 2013 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized
Tagged with JOHN CHUCKMAN, SOUTH SHORE COUNTRY CLUB, VINTAGE CHICAGO, WOODS ELECTRIC CARS
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Your paper delivery story brought back memories of my own paper route that was almost identical to yours. In fifth grade, the next the to smallest boy in my class, a classmate talked me into getting a paper route at the Windsor Park News agency. Elmer the route manager took one look at me and said I was too little to handle a route. My friend assured him I could handle one, and Elmer very reluctantly gave me a route. I would turn ten years old on September 20th.There were 69 deliveries the first two or three were in an apartment building on the south side of 75th Street about two blocks west of Exchange. The apartments were accessed from the back, and the paper delivered to each door as the access was enclosed. The route proceeded south down an alley lined on either side with 3 story apartments. It took me a while to get the hang of throwing those third story papers, but after a few came unfolded in flight I quickly went to work on my folding and throwing technique. There were two blocks of houses that finished the route, and were like a reward for putting up with the darn apartments. Around the end of the first week I was gaining confidence and thought I had the route memorized without checking the customer cards on the rings that held them. Heading for my third delivery, a boy about sixteen years old stepped out of a gangway and asked if I was delivering the Chicago Daily News. When I said yes he grabbed me by my shirt whipped out a switch blade knife, held it to my throat and threatened to cut me from ear to ear if I missed their paper again. I thought he was just being a bully as I hadn’t had any failed delivery notices, but Checking my customer list, sure enough I had missed that delivery probably three or four times. Strangely, I never told anyone about the incident. I must admit I spent a good deal of time musing about the day that chance would offer me the opportunity of getting even with him. Pushing that empty cart back to the agency was another pain in the neck.
PS. My older brother and I were members of Boy Scout troop 595. I have great memories of our time there. We were most fortunate to have a really good Scout Master, and dedicated councilors.
Thanks, Oliver for your memories.
But any customer who would pull a switchblade knife on a poor delivery boy was a genuinely dangerous person and should have been reported to police. At the very least I would have refused future deliveries, explaining to my manager.
It’s interesting though, your disturbing anecdote reminds me of the dark side of life in Chicago. There were a remarkable number of such disturbed people, and i too had some unhappy experiences, especially in Hyde Park. I’ve experienced nothing like that during all my years in Canada.
You might enjoy my short story, “Cold Chill of Darkness” on the site.
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