Local paperboys push on, despite numbers
By Dean Shipley
The paperboy is a vanishing breed.
The boy (or girl), saddle bags on bike, or one large bag wrapped around the handle bars, and flinging a paper onto the porch is nowhere to be seen.
Well, almost nowhere.
While most papers are delivered these days by motor route drivers, The Madison Press has two paperboys who continue to deliver The Press door to door. The two stalwarts of this nearly bygone era are Bryce Swartz and Benjamin Hill.
Carrier Ben Hill was surprised to learn he was one of a vanishing breed.
“Oh really,” came Hill’s reply when this reporter told him the youthful paper carrier was nearly extinct.
His expression of surprise comes from the fact that delivering the Press has been a part of the Hill family for some time. Ben inherited the route from his older brother, Josh, whom had delivered it for three years. When Josh began working late hours at McDonald’s restaurant, he decided sleeping in was more important to his health than dollars earned on the route. So he passed it to Ben.
Five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, Ben arises at 6 a.m. Papers are delivered in a bundle of 51, which he opens and then slides each paper into a plastic bag. By 6:25 a.m., he has loaded them into a back pack, then sets out from his home on Flax Drive on a bicycle onto his route.
He is instructed to make sure every paper lies on the customer’s porch. Some customers request a specific spot, such as a holder beneath the mailbox.
Hill said the bicycle enables him to deliver the route in approximately 35 minutes. Since his route takes him across U.S. Route 42, caution becomes a habit.
“It’s a pretty busy time of the morning,” Hill said. “You have to be patient.”
He wears a hunter orange hat for more visibility, but would like to get a vest with reflective tape, which firefighters use on their gear. So far he has had no close calls.
He earns approximately $100 per month delivering The Press.
When the time comes, he will pass it on to his younger brother, Nick. He has already subbed for Ben with the help of their Dad, Dwain.
Across town another family has also made delivering the Press a family tradition. Bryce Swartz, 14, is one of a line of paper carriers in the Dorset Drive (off Keny Boulevard) neighborhood. He was given the route by his sister, Danae. He was also surprised his two-year early morning job is one of a vanishing breed.
Bryce, who has been delivering the 29 customers for two years, took over the route when big sister moved on to other work in the retail food service business, first Takacs Ice Cream, then at Ronetti’s. Two other siblings, Larissa and Kevin, had delivered the route before Danae had the job.
Bryce also bags his 29 papers and loads them into a back pack for delivery on his bicycle in the Margate Circle, Dorset Drive area of the city. He said it takes about 20 minutes to deliver the news. It’s required to be on the customer’s porch by 7 a.m.
He said having a job at his age teaches him responsibility including being punctual and executing with precision.