Yeah, I really was born in Sicily, and moved to Chicago at 3, hence that accent instead of Italian…I had a paper route starting at 5 years old delivering the Chicago Sun Times and the Chicago Tribune. Back then it was OK…today you’d call it child labor… I was a tad small and the cart we pushed weighed a few hundred pounds when all the papers were in there. So my older brothers and I worked together until I was 8 years old. Then I could master the giant cart myself, on most days.
I’d get up at 4am every single day regardless of the weather. Believe me, Chicago is damn cold and I delivered papers for 10 years until 14 years old (when I went into fast food). Rain, sleet, powerful winds, snow, raining ice…it didn’t matter. I delivered the papers every day…And every week when I got paid, all the money went to my parents to help support me.
We were 6 kids (all boys) and only my dad worked. My mom ran the house. I think I remember when I was somewhere around 5-7 years old that I heard that my dad only made $75 a week. I didn’t know what that was like. I knew he needed more and hoped my few dollars a week helped…I know that when my dad retired he was making somewhere over $100 a week. The highest figure I heard was like $110 or so, but I don’t know the final.
My dad took a bus to work every day, getting up at 6am himself…and he would walk the final 2-3 miles instead of paying 5 cents for a bus transfer…I could never understand that…It made no sense…Only after my dad passed away, did it ever occur to me that he paid for my oldest brother to live in the hospital for 7 years as a result of a horrible bus accident where he was run over…He said he had over 100 operations to save his leg…, and I can’t imagine the anguish he went throughI can’t imagine how my dad paid for him back then as we had no insurance…Life was different then…So I am very glad that my few dollars a week helped somewhat…I am glad I did my part.