Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Larry Tate's Porch

By Tim Armstrong, Groovy Reflections Team Member

When I was in the fifth grade in 1970 I had a lot of friends who I would also run into at the mall on weekends while our parents shopped for school clothes and such. I started to notice that they were wearing cool shoes and clothes that my mom always told me were too expensive for her to get for me (I had a younger brother and sister as well). 

When I insisted that she buy me a certain pair of really cool shoes, she gave me the dreaded ultimatum “If you want to wear the things that your friends are wearing, you’ll need to find a way to pay for them”.

I wasn’t making enough money mowing lawns in the neighborhood to buy shoes, or any clothes for that matter, so I had to come up with a plan. I contacted our local newspaper and sure enough, they were looking for delivery carriers. It was early morning delivery, about a half mile away in our North Hollywood California neighborhood. After a talk with the district manager and my parents, I started my carrier route on my green Schwinn.

I had to get up at 4:30 or 5:00 am to fold and rubber band the papers and put them in my carrier bags which I had wrapped around the handlebars. After consulting my route list, I rode off to deliver the daily news. It was a new world for me, dark with little traffic in the residential neighborhoods, and soon I could get my route done in about an hour and a half.

My mom had noticed that an address on my route was that of a friend of hers from church, and I was instructed to put the newspaper on her porch every morning. So, every morning after throwing a paper onto the driveway of the next door house, I would get off of my bike and walk up to my mom’s friend’s door and place a paper there.

One early morning I was startled, when after placing a paper at the door of my mom’s friend, a voice called out “Excuse me”. I turned and found myself looking at “Larry Tate” from Bewitched! 

Turned out he lived at the house next door and wanted to know why I was putting a paper on his neighbor’s porch and not his. I explained to him that the paper on the porch was for my mom’s friend. He said, “I’ll make you a deal. If you would be my friend, would you also put the newspaper on my porch?”  

We shook hands and even though the only time we talked after that is when I would go collect, “Larry Tate” aka David White received his paper on his porch every day that I had that route.

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@RobynMRyan said...

Love it! Sad that fifth graders don't have the opportunity to have a paper route these days. Did you get the shoes?!?

Tim Armstrong said...

That is sad Robyn, we probably wouldn't have weight issues with kids today if they had more opportunities to exercise while making money. I DID get the shoes!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful story, thank you for sharing.