Here are stories from three local individuals who had newspaper routes when they were kids, and they are Diana Krawiec, Robert Anderson and Roland Lapensee.
Diana (Melnick) Krawiec -
A paper route which led to a marriage
Diana and her siblings, the children of Dan and Grace Melnick, each delivered The Bristol Press between 1956 to 1965. Judy was the oldest and she passed it to Danny, Jr. Continuing down the line, it then went to Diana, Lynn and then Terrie.
“We had 53 customers and our route started at Case Road off Jerome Avenue,” Diana said. “It then went up Jerome Avenue in covering all the streets, including Fox Den Road just past Brochu’s, a grocery store. I remember Carol Magnusen, the superintendent of schools, and Mrs. Moeller, who was a guidance teacher at Eastern High School, as customers.”
Diana added that it could be an exhaustive job at times, especially during the colder months. She also recalled delivering to her friend’s house on Mix Street and meeting this girl’s male cousin there. Years later, she would marry this Tony Krawiec fellow.
“He began to take me to deliver my papers and we finally began dating and after five years went by we had a beautiful wedding,” Diana said. “Richard Leide was in our wedding party and we will celebrate our 53rd wedding anniversary this July 30th. Our children and grandchildren ask me how daddy and mommy met. They love the story.”
Robert Anderson - His route took place nearly eight decades ago
Robert was a paperboy in Terryville in the early 1940s when The Bristol Press issued an afternoon edition six days a week.
“The paper was dropped off at Doc’s Drug Store in the center of Terryville,” Robert said. “I lived on Harwinton Avenue and delivered on Beach Avenue and Allen Street. I had about 40 customers and hung my paper bag over the fenders of my bike.
“The paper was three cents a day and 18 cents weekly. Most people would give me 20 cents or a quarter and wanted change. I would collect on Friday at delivery time and pay my paper bill in the Press office in the building across from where Eagles Nest Family Restaurant is now. Back then it was Pelchar’s Pharmacy.”
Roland Lapensee writes from North Grosvenordale
Roland had a paper route with 48 customers between 1948 and 1951. The newspaper cost four cents a day at the time or 24 cents per week. It started at Roberge Road off Stafford Avenue, and included Morningside Drive East, Westchester Drive, Matilda Drive, Pine Court, Currey Court, and Morningside Drive West to Predem Road.
“At about 4 p.m., I would walk from my home on Mountain View Avenue to Roberge Dairy to pick up my bundle of papers,” Roland said. “Then came the ‘dreaded’ count. Do I have 48 newspapers? On occasion, I would be short one. What can I do about it? Not much. We had a small grocery store on the corner of Mountain View Avenue and Stafford Avenue. However, they did not sell newspapers.
“Therefore, I had the unpleasant task of informing one of my customers that he would not receive a paper that night. That customer was Mr. Smith, the last house on my route near Predem Road. He was an old retired gentleman who took the news with disappointment, but never became angry about it. When collection time came on Friday, he gave me 25 cents and never deducted the missing paper. He was truly a wonderful person.”
The lone unpleasant experience he had was with a dog, one whose owner was the only person who did not subscribe to The Bristol Press on Morningside Drive West. His house was located on the left side of the street and halfway up the hill. The owner had a full size Collie tied to the clothesline in the backyard and every time Roland walked up that hill, the dog would go berserk barking and doing everything possible to break away from being tied up.
“One day, the line did snap and this huge dog came at full speed towards me,” Roland said. “As it jumped towards my face, I quickly turned around and it bit me on the back side of my left shoulder. The dog then ran back to the rear of the house. I had a puncture wound and some bleeding in the area of the bite.
“Upon returning home, I informed my mother about it and she immediately called the owner of the dog and explained what had transpired. He was apologetic and was not aware of the dog bite. Within 10 minutes, he arrived at my house and drove me to Dr. Furniss’s office which was located on Main Street a short distance from the library. He gave me a tetanus shot and said that stitches would not be needed. He then drove me to Roberge Dairy for a large ice cream cone. From there, we went home. That’s how it was back then. The owner took responsibility for his dog. He did everything he could to make amends. No lawyers or lawsuits involved.”
Contact Bob Montgomery at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 860-973-1808.