You never forget your first time

When I was a kid I had a long newspaper route in Potsdam. It was about this time of year and the Sunday edition was heavy (back when newspapers were still heavy) and there was fresh snow too deep for happy travels on my messenger bike. So my mom got up early and started the car and drove me along my route. Afterwards, we went to a diner for a high-calorie breakfast, and when the check came, I grabbed it and paid for it out of my own earnings.

It felt good in a way I still can recall. She didn’t have to drive me; it was a gift. And I didn’t have to pick up the tab; but I was grateful. This was my first conscious experience of living in a gift economy.


Our new friends campaign launches on Monday, Feb.12.

This is not the economy of producers and consumers where everything has a set value and a set price. It’s the economy where friends give each other what they need. It’s the economy of homes, and service organizations, and congregations. And it’s the economy of public radio.

This coming week NCPR will be asking people who use and value our freely-given services, but who have never expressed their appreciation with a donation before, to step forward and put a toe in the waters of the gift economy.

We’re looking for 100 people to do the friendly thing.

And to our many, many friends for whom giving to NCPR is old hat – thank you; you can sit back and relax. Or if you feel so moved, just do a little something nice for your mother.

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2 Comments on “You never forget your first time”

  1. Your story about the paper route and treating your mother to breakfast brought many memories of my five children delivering papers for over 10 yrs. The route was behind Canton’s school and was handed down to all the 5 siblings in our family. At first there was no Saturday paper, so they had one day off. Then it became a 7 day a week job. During the week in the afternoon, they would collect their papers before practice and bike like crazy to deliver. Sometimes the older boy would pay his brothers or sister to deliver; but people wanted early delivery on the weekends, like 7 a.m. with the WTDT. We lived 2.5 miles from the village and the four boys were able to bike in most days or deliver before their sport practices. They were all into sporting events after school, so Mom would have to help out with the two youngest sitting in the back of our Toyota van with the sliding door open. I was told by one customer that it was dangerous to have those two children, legs hanging out the door running to deliver the paper. We continued on and never had a problem. The oldest boy had developed the method of payment with a yellowish envelope, that had those metal clips to record the payments, dates and tips. Our daughter was the last of the paperboys/girls and she would me at the school after I picked up the papers. Those days are still part of holiday conversations about that paper route, the weather and all the money they made paid for some of their sporting equipment. We were like the mailmen, “Neither rain, sleet or snow will keep the paper away!” Then the breakfast at the Cascade with their Dad, was the highlight of delivering papers. I thought those days would never end, but our children always had jobs in the summer and after school and all through college. Now I am trying to instill that work ethic in my grandchildren. They may actually get a paper route when they are old enough!!! Thanks for your story….

  2. Kathryn Dunphy says:

    “You Never Forget” is so reminiscent of my childhood. We lived in town and my older brother (1 of 3) delivered “Newsday.” I was his sub and never got paid. I loved doing it. never ceases to surprise and delight me.

    Keep up the good work.

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