Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Bronxville Days, Part 10

My long newspaper career had its start back in 1960, when I signed on as a carrier for the Herald-Statesman, Yonkers' daily afternoon paper. I'd pedal over to Ellison Avenue after school, pick up my bundle, fold my papers into "tomahawks," and load them in the twin baskets straddling my rear wheel. Then I'd fly down the sidewalk, flinging the folded papers at the front doors of my customers. A perfectly thrown tomahawk would smack against the door waist-high, then fall open, front-page up, on the doormat.

The money was good, for 1960. With tips, my profit was usually $7 a week. Combined with my 50-cent-a-week allowance, I had all the money a boy could need for Mad Magazines, baseball cards, punk, ammo for my pea shooter, caps, rubber spiders, Top Cat figurines, comic books, decals, Hostess cupcakes, bottles of 7-Up, yo-yos, handlebar streamers, spaldeens (those pink balls we used for stickball), balsawood gliders, candy bars, model cars and glue.

The job also made it possible to indulge in some of the luxuries available in Bronxville Proper: banana splits at the ice cream parlor, bowling, orange rickies at the drugstore soda counter, and the movies. For 50 cents, we could spend all of Saturday afternoon in the theater, watching cartoons, a newsreel, Three Stooges episodes and the main feature.

Life was so uncomplicated for a boy of 11, soaring free on his bicycle, when he wasn't being dragged off by his mom to dancing classes and piano lessons. But it would all get complicated soon enough.

No comments: