A Pocket Full of Money
My Paper Round
It was the winter of 1967; I was 14 years old and here was a chance to earn myself some money.
My paper round was an after school 10 mile round trip and I earnt 15 shillings a week, a small fortune! In todays money that’s 75p sterling and approximately 1 dollar.
It was a particularly harsh winter and I shall never forget how cold my hands use to be. My fingers were so numb I was struggling to push open the letter box to push the paper through.
I’d always avoid making any sort of eye contact with anybody because my nose would be running and my eyes watering!
The biggest nightmare was my bike, it let me down more than once! In those days we didn’t have dynamo lights, they ran on battery and batteries have a habit of running out, many a night I would have to push my bike home in the dark. There were the inevitable punctures and my chain had a regular habit of coming off. After a little bike maintenance, it wasn’t unusual for a few papers to be delivered with the distinct signs of my oily finger imprints.
It certainly felt like hard work for 15 shillings a week.
One day the roads were covered in a sheet of ice, as I rounded a corner, by bike went one way and I went another, looking around I was relieved to see the place was deserted. Newspaper was everywhere, hobbling along I retrieved the newspapers and put the pages back together as best I could and carried on my way. I was so cold that I didn’t even feel the bruises until the next day.
It was the week before Christmas and as usual I knocked the doors for people’s weekly payment, to my astonishment people were tipping me. This came as a complete surprise; I knew nothing about ‘tipping’.
It was dark and cold and I never noticed how much money they gave, we exchanged seasons greetings and I pushed the money into my pockets. When I got home my pockets were full, I emptied them one by one into a big pile of money on the floor. I remember my Gran watching me, she was more thrilled than me, she shouted to Mum, “Vi, Vi, quick come and see!”
I had over £5.00 in tips, in that day to a 14 year old it was a small fortune. I just delivered papers, but people showed their gratitude and appreciation so generously. Perhaps they had noticed me out there struggling with winter.
It’s a special memory that I will never forget.