|Paperboy McKowen recalls friends, routes vividly|
|Friday, November 15, 2013 9:13 PM|
DELPHOS — In 1945, when a weekly subscription for the paper was only 12 cents, 14-year-old Jim McKowen began helping his brothers Bob and Dan with their routes around town.
McKowen was in charge of passing 75 papers to customers on Routes F and J, which included South Canal, South Jefferson, Bank, Cleveland, Bredeick, North Main and Washington streets.
“I rode my bike and had a canvas bag that said Delphos Herald on the side of it,” he said.
McKowen remembers his friends, their paper routes and time spent at The Pool Room, which was next to Lion Clothing, vividly. McKowen said he had been friends with Red Humpert since he was 7 or 8 years old and he passed papers on Route G, on and around West Second Street.
“Some got to be better friends than others,” McKowen said. “I was friends with Red Humpert, Denny Ricker, Winnie O’Neil, John Holden, Gene Laudick and John Vonderembse.”
McKowen said when he and his friends wanted a candy bar or to play pinball, they would go to The Pool Room, which was owned by Charlie Violet. At that time, it cost five cents to play a game of pool and they had a ticker tape of the baseball games.
“There were some really good pool players,” he said. “Billy Stallmire was one of them.”
While passing papers in the winter, his hands would get very cold and once in awhile, customers would invite him into their homes to warm up.
He said collecting subscription dues was sometimes a problem since people would not be home on Saturdays.
“I asked people to lay out their money on Saturday morning,” he added. “It sped the process along.”
After punching all the customers’ cards and collecting dues, he returned to The Herald office and gave the money into Addie Laudick.
The press was there in the basement with a room next to it. Pressmen Teeter Pohlman, Bill Link and Dick Grone were in charge of the operations.
“Dick would open the window, count the papers and hand us the papers we needed,” McKowen recalled. “We folded the six pages of the paper into squares.”
McKowen said that A. J. Laudick, the owner of The Herald at that time, was a pretty nice guy.
“He was a scout leader and took us to Hocking Hills where we explored the Rock House, Conkles Hollow and Old Man’s Caves,” McKowen explained with a smile.
Even though many of the other paperboys were initiated by being tossed into the canal, McKowen said that he minded his own business and never had to experience being thrown in the canal.
After two years of passing papers, McKowen took a job at a shoe store uptown where he waited on customers and stocked shoes.