NORMAN — Cub Scout tours routinely visit The Transcript office during the school year. I always point out the newspaper’s first edition hanging on the wall. It was July 13, 1889. Invariably, some young Scout will ask me if I was the editor then. I’ve been here a long time, but not that long.
My love affair with newspapers began early in life and continues today. At home, our carrier, Mike McAuliffe, brought The Transcript and mailman Preston Tolson delivered the Christian Science Monitor with the rest of the day’s mail.
Both were required reading in our household. When McAuliffe’s mother, Polly, encouraged him to take piano lessons from a neighbor a few days a week, my skills were needed to fold the afternoon Transcript before he returned to deliver them.
McAuliffe turned 16, bought an International Scout and got a Transcript motor route to pay for it. At the tender age of 14, Route 73 became mine. I delivered about 400 papers every day in northeast Norman.
My modes of travel were many. First, it was a bicycle with a basket, then a motorcycle, some Sundays in the back of a Rambler station wagon with a parent driving and once on a horse named Rachel.
Many of our readers today tell me I was their carrier. (Some returned their recycled rubber bands and plastic bags when I collected each month).
But before I delivered the newspapers in the afternoon, I spent time reading them. Mostly, I read everything I could about the war in Vietnam because Dad was convinced his sons would end up there. Thankfully, the war ended just as we reached high school age.
My route passed to my brothers, and I began working in the newspaper’s mailroom. It was the best decision of my life because my future wife was working in the newspaper’s business office and I seemed to need an inordinate amount of change for the Coke machine back then.