[Can you guess which person mentioned in this article works at The 400 East?]
By Cynthia Mccormick
September 03, 2011
George Raymond was one of the very first employees hired by the Cape Cod Times 75 years ago. The Barnstable resident was a 14-year-old delivery boy living in Hyannis back then, when the Cape Cod Times was known as the Cape Cod Standard-Times. At that time, he was already a veteran newsboy, having delivered The New Bedford Standard-Times since he was about 8 years old.
The highlight of his newspaper career, the retired school principal said, was earning enough money to purchase a bicycle. "I couldn't have made much money because the paper was only two cents," Raymond said. "At Christmas time, most people gave me a quarter (for a tip). And that was a lot of money."
For thousands of Cape Cod boys and girls, delivering the afternoon Cape Cod Standard-Times marked their first foray into the world of work.
Too young to work the concession stand in movie theaters or as chamber maids in motels, they'd load up stacks of newspapers after school and walk the newspapers right up to customers' doors, carefully inserting the publication between storm door and main door if the residents weren't home.
It was quite the entrepreneurial experience, explains Leith Young, a manager in the member services division of the Cape Cod Times.
"It was called the little merchant system," Young said. Each carrier was responsible for buying a supply of papers, which he or she then sold to customers at retail, pocketing the difference and any tips made along the way.
"We didn't bill anybody back then," said Young, who has been with the newspaper since 1983. "Each kid had a bill that had to be paid every week."
Raymond remembers having a brainstorm one election night, when he discovered a Grange Hall meeting was taking place on Lewis Road.
He went to the newspaper office on Elm Street and said, "Give me a bunch of newspapers, and I'll get rid of them all. I made a bundle," Raymond said.
For Marston Daley of Hyannis, a newspaper route helped pay for his board while he was a student at Orleans High School. He'd been living with his father, who was renovating the historic Swift house in Eastham while his mother worked in Mendon.
But after two years on the Cape, his father's asthma condition got so bad he returned to Mendon, while Daley boarded for his junior year at the home of Nate and Helen Clark, according to Daley's self-published memoir, "The Little Imp of Cape Cod."
He delivered the paper between 1940 and 1942, first by a bicycle ordered from Sears Roebuck and then, after he got his license, by automobile. "I went right to the door and handed (the newspaper) to most of them, personally," Daley said. His biggest tip was about 5 cents, he said. "They were thrifty," he said of his Lower Cape customers, but "I enjoyed it."
In 1942, the newspaper was full of accounts of local "fellows going in the service," he said. Daley soon joined them. He was drafted into the Army in 1943, fresh out of high school. After the war, Daley, now 86, attended Wentworth Institute and became a builder, constructing more than 300 homes and commercial buildings on the Lower Cape.
Not all of the Cape Cod Standard-Times carriers were boys. All six of South Orleans resident Helen Berger's daughters delivered the Times in the 1960s and 1970s. The route on Portanimicut and Namequoit roads "just passed on down through the family," Berger said.
From oldest to youngest, Karen, Kevin, Kristine, Kathleen, Karol and Kayleen all had a crack at the route, although the eldest daughter only filled in when her younger sister hurt her ankle. The girls quit the route when they became old enough to work at area motels while in high school, Berger said.
In 1975, the Cape Cod Standard-Times became the Cape Cod Times, but a bigger change happened in 1984, when the Times became a morning paper, which spelled the end for delivery boys and girls, Young said.
Not only were early mornings more inconvenient times for youngsters used to delivering the paper after school, they had difficulty collecting from customers, Young said.
Usually, the newspaper carriers collected bills in person on Friday afternoons, he said. "You can't bang on someone's door at six in the morning and collect."
The day that the Cape Cod Times became a morning paper, 25 to 30 percent of the young carriers quit, Young said. By the early 1990s all home deliveries were being made by adults with motorized routes, he said.
But as the Times celebrates its 75th anniversary, there is still a role for youngsters in selling the paper. Children as young as 11 can be found "hawking" newspapers outside of businesses. Today, there are as many as 90 hawkers working on summer weekends.
But in the heyday of the newspaper boy and girl, the Cape Cod Times had 1,000 "little merchants" out delivering the paper, Young said. "Newspapers lived on (that system) for years and years," he said.