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Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Butler Eagle ~

 A tribute to old paperboys-and girls.
Thanks.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can remember when my brother, Bill, delivered our local newspaper, the Butler Eagle. How I wish he could have told you about the night in the dark of winter when he was coming up the narrow, unpaved, country road that connected the Herman Road with the Freeport Road where we lived.

He was perhaps half way along that road and was in between houses which were few and far between when he realized that he was being followed.

Bill forced himself to keep walking at the same pace at which he had been walking before. The footsteps behind him kept nearly the same pace as his own.

You would have to know this road to realize that at the place where he was there was no hope of anyone's coming to his aid for there was not another house for nearly a quarter of a mile with the exception of one house which was vacant but one where tramps would sometimes bed down for a night or perhaps a few nights.

To add to his apprehension was the fact that it was Friday evening and several of his customers paid their paper bill on Friday evenings.

Bill had already passed Zellerino's coal mine and walked across the flat bottom land which was used as a pasture field. Already he had passed the pond where the animals would go to drink water. The neighbourhood boys would sometimes swim in that same pond in the summertime but they did not swim there at night, even then, for it was beside that lonely stretch of road.

Bill considered taking off running but he was carrying his paper bag with fifteen papers in it. It went through his mind that he might sling it down and run. Instead he decided to quicken his pace for a ways hoping to outdistance the person following him before he started to run. He was not yet within calling distance of the little woodsman's cottage where he knew Dean Manny would be finishing his supper and would be waiting for Bill to arrive with the paper.

He knew that screaming might trigger an attack and decided against that as being too risky. He decided instead to walk a bit faster pretending he was unaware that he was being stalked. He did increase the pace only to hear the steps behind him also beginning to come faster.

I know that Bill did some praying that night. He wanted only to reach the Manny place and safety.

As he walked, he shifted the paper bag from time to time as he normally did to rest his shoulders. This night he shifted it but with the thought being how best to use it as a weapon.

He was hoping for a car to come along but knew there was little chance of that.

The sky was moonless and the night dark as only a winter's night can be. The steps behind him were the steps of a big built person. He knew that he was not dealing with someone his own size for the steps fell heavy upon the ground behind him.

Bill was beginning to tire but knew that he had one last steep hill to climb before he would be able to see the lights of the cottage where safety lay.

He always carried a flash light with him as he delivered his papers for even though he left from school to walk the three miles into Butler to pick up his papers he knew it would be dark long before he could deliver the last paper and reach home.

That evening he had dropped his flashlight and was disgusted to pick it up only to find it no longer worked.

A lot of thoughts went through his head including one where he would simply turn around and confront the person following him. If Bill slowed his pace even a little bit, the steps behind him seemed to slow and when he walked faster the steps seemed to again pick up the pace.

Hardwood forests grew on either side of this little township road but near where the steep hill started to wind its way upward a stand of pines formed such a dense, deep thicket that even on moonlit nights it was an eerie place for anyone who might walk along that way. Bill was fast approaching that area and in his mind he wondered whether it was here where he would be attacked.

He said that he was perhaps five hundred feet from where the pines grew that his stalker made his move. Behind him he heard the sweetest sound he could ever have heard. It said, "MOO."

Anyone whoever heard Bill tell this story would be sitting on the edge of his chair by the time he came at last to the point where he knew who had been following him through the woods that night. I have seen folks nearly bend over laughing when he would tell of throwing his arms around that cow's neck and hugging her. She had gotten out of the pasture field near the coal mine and just ambled along behind him.

She plodded along with him until they reached the Manny cottage. There he told his story. The old woodsman tied a rope to her neck and promised that the next morning he would lead her down over the hill to where she belonged.

Bill was a marvellous story teller and had stories for nearly every situation. Most were as this one and were just stories of things he experienced in those post depression years when we were so very poor.

Anonymous said...

How well I remember how we folded the papers and could throw them from the sidewalk in an arc right up to the front doors.

Anonymous said...

I wish Bill had told it...

Anonymous said...

must of been a twin , cause you knew every thought in his head, amazing!

Anonymous said...

All he would have had to do was turn around and he would have seen that it was a cow...maybe Bill couldn't tell the difference between a cow and a human being from a distance --- here's a clue, Bill: the cow is the one with four legs and horns

Anonymous said...

Great story--Thanks.

Anonymous said...

No, it wasn't a great story --- if you think that was a great story, then you don't know what a great story is! That was definitely not a great story, it wasn't even a good story...you know what it was? It was a stupid story! It was the stupidest story I ever read in my life an, if I ever find out who Bill is, I'm going to sue him for the thirty-five minutes that I wasted reading his stupid story!

Don Carlson said...

Isn't it sad to have someone, like the previous writer, who is either so cynical or idiotic that they can spoil the good intentions of others?

Anonymous said...

I'm beng neither cynical nor idiotic, rather, I'm being truthful and the truth is that was a stupid story and, if it wasn't such a stupid story, I wouldn't have said anything at all. I appreciate a good story as much as the next person and, if this had been worthy of being called a good story, I would have been the first to do so. But this was not --- in any way, shape, or form --- a good story. It was too wordy and too over-dramatized and anyone who couldn't know that a COW was following him --- all he had to was turn around --- is a moron.

Don Carlson said...

To Anonymous,
I don't take issue with your right to an opinion. I do, however,think it would have been better to keep it to yourself.
From one of those "Old Paper Boys"
who delivered the Butler Eagle in the early 1930s

Anonymous said...

You say that you were one of those "Old Paper Boys", eh? Hopefully, you weren't an idiot like Bill and could differentiate between a human being and a cow --- I have a God-given right, as well as a Constitutional right, to express my opinion and my opinion is what it's always been and always will be: Bill's story was stupid, Bill is a moron and, as long as I have fingers, you will never have the last word on this subject

Lisa_S. said...

What about the paper "girls" like my sister was for several years? It wasn't just all boys doling the papers out 6 days a week. I ran back-up for her and every paper had a place it had to be left and you had to know that place for 20-30 people! And you had to toss it just "so" so it would come apart as it dropped in the door.

Anonymous said...

I thought Bill's story was very funny!
How sad that all through this website there are nasty comments from a certain person. As an adult maybe Bill would have turned around and saw it was a cow, but I am assuming he was a child. I think you need to get a life and quit acting so childish!!!!

Anonymous said...

I thought Bill's story was funny too---I could picture a little kid in such a situation!!! Thanks for sharing the memory.

Anonymous said...

Even a child can tell the difference between a cow and a human being --- and I mean a completely mentally-deficient child. See, that's the point I've been trying to make all along and you're criticizing me for being "childish"! It's not childish, it's simply stating a fact that Bill was either incredibly stupid or incredibly blind because how could anyone not be able to distinguish between a cow and a human being? I could ask the most idiotic imbecile in the world to choose which one is which and, after he slobbers all over himself, he'd probably be able to select the correct one

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading the story about the dark night delivering the Butler Eagle because as a young teen I have been there and done that on some really dark nights on country lanes without street lamps and long distance between houses that sit far back off the road. I also enjoy reading stories that bring you into the atmosphere where there is fear of the unknown. Not every piece of good writing has to be done in short and nondescipt sentences such as those that we hear from the news sources on TV. Thank you to the writer of the story. The self proclaimed critic who continues to bash the story needs to "quit beating a dead horse."

Anonymous said...

I'll quit bashing the story and the dead horse as soon as everybody becomes honest to themselves and admits what they actually know deep inside but are afraid to admit: that it's a stupid story about a stupid boy who didn't have enough intelligence to turn around and see what was following him.

Anonymous said...

there was plenty dark nights i have walked down the street, when a tall man wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt came walking in the opposite direction. As soon as he had passed he turned around and grabbed me from behind. I had screamed and he ran off. I spotted this tall grayhooded sweatshirt man several times and have known he has tried this with others. When i had another person confront this pussy of a man , he ran and made up a story.he was scared and timid and acted like a 8 year old. He was only brave when he had his hood on and in the dark with helpless people minding their own bussiness.

Anonymous said...

I wish rude people would just stay off this site. It's enjoyable to read the comments until someone like that gets on here and ruins it for others. If
"annonymous" is really so bold and insists on the last word, why
doesn't he or she have the guts to
post their real name?

Anonymous said...

yeah anonymous what is your name its really rude when you call others rude and then you dont have the balls he or she to post your real name?? it was enjoyable until your so informative insightwas added. grow some coconuts, tea bags, fuzz buttons.

Anonymous said...

I was going to tell you my name, but you already guessed it, it's Coconuts T. "Bags" Fuzzbuttons --- it's all your pleasure to make my acquaintance

Anonymous said...

hey anonymous critic....even a child could have read that story in less than 35 minutes..probably less than 10. however, just like a child with little common sense..you've whined and wasted more than your original, precious 35 minutes. if you type as fast as you read, you've probably wasted at least double that. good job. here's your little round, padded room. why don't you go find a nice corner to piss and moan in some more. LOL. for the record, i liked the story and as an adult, if i wasn't enjoying it, i would have stopped after the first paragraph or two. when you grow up, you may want to consider trying the same.

Anonymous said...

This is one reason I left Butler--talk about narrow minded--35 minutes to read this story???STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES--

Anonymous said...

In the summer of 1960, I returned from Texas for the last time to spend the summers with my grandparents, Lewis and Ida Litzinger, as I had done for most of my life. At age 19, a college junior-to-be, I was also there to bury my father. I was an aspiring writer and had asked the Eagle to allow me to let me voluntarily intern in any capacity, for the summer, and I ended up actually being paid for doing re-write, and then feature stories under the byline "Susie Green". It was a memorable time in my life, my first step into adulthood, and a wonderful introduction into journalism.

Anonymous said...

One time, at band camp, I accidentally used the newspaper as toilet paper!

R. Wertz said...

You might imagine my thrill at finally getting to be a Butler "Igle" paperboy!

I guess I've always been a 'night person" rather than a "day person", so it was a character building experience to deliver the morning Post Gazette for several years until I grew up and could apply for the Igle job.I think one had to be at least 12 years old.

Anyway, from Institute Hill school (the entrance stated "Knowledge Is Power) I'd run all the way to the Igle office to get the papers and catch the 5 o'clock bus to Oak Street-the start of the route.

With the load of papers in the bag, it was like being pregnant with octuplets and at 5, the bus station was really, really crowded. No problem- what with that bulldozer bag full of paper, it was rather easy to get to the front of the crowd-if you know what I mean and I'm sure you do.

Not long ago, still embarrassed about the boorishness of those days, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Igle, apologizing to all the folks I trampled in the stampede to get on the bus.

I'm thinking that when I get to the Pearly Gates-you know about the "Wages of Sin" thingy, perhaps I should start getting some credits 'cause I delivered the Igle for several years.

I have been advised that if, when you pay the Wages of Sin, there is no money left in your account, you have to come back. The way the world is going that might not be such a good idea especially if you have to do the paperboy thing all over again.

Charles said...

Thanks for the above comment, Randy. Always nice to see you coming back to the Butler Blog.
All the best to you!
Charles
P.S. Do you still have that letter to the Eagle? Be nice to see it here.

R. Wertz said...

Charles asked if I still had the letter of apology sent to the Eagle.

I may have fudged a bit when I wrote that it was long ago that I wrote that letter. In terms of geological time-yah sure, but it was several computers ago and that H/D is long gone.

I recall it was published in the "Letters To The Editor" section and prior to publication , I received a call from the paper making sure I was.

I should add that I was not the only paperboy to bulldoze on that 5 o'clock bus but, like Jack Horner (you know what he said after pulling out that plum with his thumb) I was the only one to apologize if I recall correctly. I again may be fudging a bit again on this but, since I'm old, it will not cost very much-maybe 35 cents at Pearly Gate time.

Best to you, Charles!

Anonymous said...

We don't know if the story about Bill the newspaper boy is true or not, but we thought it was entertaining to read. Made us want to sit around a campfire and listen to stories - fiction or non. Story telling is a lost art. Maybe it went the way of the old time radio shows.

Anonymous said...

Bill's story was th funniest thng I have ever read. I read it over and over and just can't stop laughing. It is one of those stories that you hold on to and don't want it to end. I may start reading it ot the children every day at the school where I teach. I can't stop laughing as it may be one of the top 5 funniest stories ever written!

Agnes said...

You sound like you might be Bill himself!

Conrad said...

That bag brings back some great memories. One of my best friends delivered the Eagle in Meridian during the early 60s and when he was unable to for some reason, I sometimes filled in. I recall that one of the ladies on his route would always give him a Peppermint Patty on collection day.

Mike S said...

I had a paper route for two years. I remember Wednesday papers were so heavy we carried them by putting the strap on our heads. We made 2-1/2 cent per paper then. My route was McKean St, and down Locust. It made it nice because I could stop at the Inn Confectionary, Hutchinsons store, or Fergusons to by myself a treat!
It was good times then. A simpler life

Anonymous said...

My dad and my then future father-in-law worked at the Butler Eagle in the composing room. I used to walk up there after Jr. High and meet Dad for a ride home. Used to see all those paper boys fillin' their bags and going off to their routes. When my brother turned 12 he got a route. He was sick with a cold one week and I subbed for him. Those bags were heavy! I remember being scared to go into some of the places I had to go. It wasn't the best side of town he had as a route. But rain or shine or snow, the paper had to go!!! If I remember right, by then we were making 10 cent a paper. I don't remember for sure though. It would have been around 1970.
I loved reading the stories of the old paper boys! Love Butler as my home town. Would like to go back to simpler times.

jozie Berger said...

I remember being one of the papergirls. I had 52 papers. boy were they heavy. I had to walk up hill on Center ave. It made me tough. There was one lady on my route who always gave me a glass of lemonaide in the summer and a cup of hot chocolate in the winter. Ithink it was in the early 70s. those were the good ol days.

John Cooper said...

Some memories of my time as a paper boy for the Butler Eagle.
by John Cooper

To read click here !