Thursday, March 20, 2014

Learning to work... Learning to play

As I have discussed in previous posts money was often a struggle for my family as we grew up.  This post talks about the work I did with my family, and how it helped for a portion of my youth to overcome this burden.

Starting at a young age, probably around 3 or 4 I remember getting up in the middle of the night as my parents would get newspaper routes and fold papers and then take them out and deliver them.  I remember watching TV early on and still remember some of the shows which included "Captain Kangaroo", "Leave it to Beaver", and "The Andy Griffeth Show".  Around these ages I also started learning to fold newspapers and to help where I could to get things ready so my father could go deliver them.  A few times I was also able to go with him and deliver newspapers.

Little did I know that newspapers would be a big part of my life through portions of my youth. 

There were years where my father worked other jobs, these varied from working in the oil fields, to laying foundations for homes, to framing, and other jobs he could get.

Besides those years newspapers played a part of my life until the time I was10 or 11.  I remember as I got older that I started getting up at 1 or 2 in the morning and I would go pick up papers with my father and my little brothers.  We would fold them as we drove and my father would throw them.  We got more and more routes and eventually we were delivering newspapers to a chunk of the Salt Lake Valley.  We later picked up routes on I believe it was Wednesdays and Thursdays, but I don't remember for sure.  But I get ahead of myself.

There came a point where we had more routes than we could possibly deliver by car in the time allotted so we started running routes.  Me and my younger brother (eventually brothers) would get in the car and we would have the younger boys folding newspapers while the older boys would grab the number of newspapers needed for a street and run the street while the car took another street and delivered it.  We got to where we were running side streets and meeting the car at the end of a street to start the next section of streets.  We would leave the tailgate in the station wagon down and we would hop on for the short stints in between routes.

This became a norm and we got very fast and very athletic, we could run straight for sometimes up to 6 hours, and on Wednesdays and Thursdays sometimes up to 16 hour days were spent in delivering papers.  I believe this was one of the most financially stable periods of our families life to that point and we started later in the process getting doughnuts or breakfast at the end of the runs.  We even started being able to buy some niceties.  For example I wanted a stereo and my dad bought it for me. and I even got an 8 track player for my room (boy am I dating myself). 

Anyway, these are some of the greatest memories.  Spending time with my father and brothers, seeing how fast we could get routes thrown and racing each other and even running alongside the car to see how fast we could get going in miles per hour. 

There are many other memories that go along with this.  Like getting chased by dogs, or dealing with Sunday papers. 

We learned to work hard and to play just as hard.  We learned that even when we didn't think we could do something if we put our hearts into it we usually could.  We learned that our bodies could get really strong and though we often would want to stop, we could make it through.  We learned that when you wake up in the middle of the night and your body is not used to it you can get really sick, and when you are you can still push through it.

We also learned that things get easier the more you do them.  That life has a way to build you up no matter where you may have come from. 

We grew strong as a family, and strong in our relationships to each other.  We came to trust each other and eventually my father would drop each of us off and we could finish whole areas of town, and he would just come pick us up after dropping off others.

Looking back I realize much of this work was behind the scenes very few people saw us, but we impacted many many lives.   We were at a very young age a great impact to the well being of our family and their is much good that can be done no matter how old a person is.  I am so grateful for these experiences.  They prepared me for many of my successes in sports and in life.

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