My First Real Job

My first real job was delivering newspapers. It was the summer of 1948, and I wanted to get a job and earn money so I could buy some of the things I thought I needed. My Mom suggested that I go to the Gazette and talk to her friend, Elsie Harrison, about being a paper boy. I hurried to the Gazette that very day and found Elsie. The first thing Elsie asked was if I was 12 years old yet. I told her that I would be 12 the last week of August. She said that would be perfect as one of her paper boys would be starting high school and would be quitting the paper to play freshman football. She said that on my 12th birthday, I should go sign up and get my Social Security card and then she could put me to work. On the magic day, Mom took me down, and I got the Social Security card (which I still have). A few days after celebrating my 12th birthday and obtaining my Social Security card, I officially became a carrier for the Augusta Daily Gazette- a paper boy. If I remember correctly, my pay was $2.10 per week. Considering it now, I’m surprised that a small city of 5,000 could support a daily newspaper. The paper was owned by the four people who worked there. Mike Cipher ran the press. His brother, Paul Cipher ran the linotype machine. Elsie Harrison took care of the administrative stuff, and Bertha Shore did the reporting and news gathering, and wrote a daily column. Berts’ column, which she wrote under the pen name “Ima Washout,” was a front-page feature that contained jokes, quips, and tidbits of local news she picked up on her rounds downtown each day. The paper was published six days a week and contained 4 pages every day but Thursday when it went to six pages to carry the grocery ads for the week.

We paperboys arrived at press time each day. After the papers came off the press, they had to be folded down to ¼ of their original size. Mike taught each of us paperboys to run the folding machine. We took turns, each of us running the machine for a few days before turning it over to the next guy. After the papers came off the folding machine, we counted out what we needed for our routes and carried them out front. We sat down on the sidewalk, and leaned against the store front and folder papers into the proper configuration for throwing. The store to the north was Scholfield Hatchery, and we always had to look in the window to see if there were any baby chicks to look at. After our papers were folded and loaded into our canvas newspaper bags, we mounted our bicycles and were ready to deliver.

My paper route started at the corner of State Street and High Street and ended at the entrance to Garvin Park. I don’t remember many names but will enter what I can. The first customers I can name on the West side of State Street were Doctor Jim Alley, the dentist, and his wife, Nan. Farther up the street, on the northeast corner of State and 12th was the original Kiker’s Grocery Store. I gave the paper to Mr. or Mrs. Kiker or their son, Bob. Sometimes, I found it necessary to take a break and have a package of Twinkies or a Netti Chocolate Soda. This store was too small and was always crowded and busy. It was only a short time before the Kikers moved the location a block to the north and built a new store on the southwest corner of State and Ada.

I continued delivering papers to where State Street terminated in a T junction with Kelly Road. Almost every home got a Gazette. There was only one house across from the end of State, and I believe it belonged to the Foster Falwell. I turned east and delivered up Kelly Road to Dearborn. I turned South on Dearborn and delivered down to Ada. Then, I delivered Ada all the way back to State Street. The only names I remember on Ada are Millison, Mullins, and Schraq. I went across State and delivered Ada to Henry. I delivered the east side of Henry, north to Kelly, and then jogged a few yards west and turned north on Washington Lane. There were no homes on the east side of Washington Lane which ran from Kelly up to the entrances to Garvin Park. There were no homes on the east side of Washington Lane. That side was just a worn out pasture. The lots on the west side of Washington Lane were pretty much built up, all the way from Kelly up to the entrance to the park. Lloyd Ludlum, who was a couple of years older than me, lived in one of the first two or three houses. Up near the to of the hill was a street that went west into the Park Place subdivision. The David Allison family lived on the northwest corner. Going on up the last block of Washington Lane, one home belonged to Gus Gustafson and his wife. Gus was the high school principal. I believe the last house on the street belonged to the Puckett family. There weren’t many homes in the Park Place Subdivision yet. I remember Harold Bedell, Erbie Watson, and Semisch.

After delivering Park Place, I traveled back down to Kelly, jogged a half block to the east, and started down Henry Street. I think Henry had only been open for 3 or 4 years or so. The homes were new, and the street was paved with concrete. There was a vacant lot on the SW corner of Henry and Ada. One day, Boler Wilson moved a big house onto it. If I remember correctly, my dad, Al Thomas, who  was a brick and block layer, built the foundation for it. I think that was the new home of Art Ballinger and his wife. A little farther down Henry was the Proctor home. That was Warren and his wife, their daughter, Ann, who was my classmate, and their son, Robert. The Proctors had a sailboat parked in their side yard that I think was built by Warren. One summer day, Ann invited some of us to go with them to Santa Fe Lake for a swimming and sail boating day.

The last customer on my paper route and on Henry Street was A.V. Small and his wife, Jesse. The Smalls operated the AVS Honey business out of their basement and hired a bunch of kids every summer to help them.

I must have covered at least two miles on my paper route and enjoyed every minute of it. The people were all nice, and it felt good to be out in the fresh air-no matter what the weather was. I delivered the Gazette for  a year, and then was able to get a Wichita Beacon route which paid a lot more.

Dave Thomas


Beats Me

In South America and in most countries of the world, the leader of a failed coup attempt would be dealt with harshly. In the United States, rather than being treated as a traitor, the leader of a failed coup attempt is given more free air time so he can run his mouth while planning his next presidential campaign and his next coup attempt. Why isn’t Trump in prison?

Dave Thomas


Eagle Feather and White Fawn

I’m reposting as I hope a few new people will see it!


Eagle-White Fawn-car

Chief Eagle Feather, a full-blooded Cherokee, toured the country’s vaudeville circuit and was billed as “America’s premier Indian tap dancer.” The Chief, also known as Frank Bell, married our cousin, Myrtle Thomas. The story goes that after their marriage, she was adopted by the tribe and given the name “White Fawn.” She joined Eagle Feather in his adventures as he persued his vaudeville career.
Eagle & White Fawn

Dave Thomas
September 16, 2015

Pictures from cousin Dave Dunn.

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Old Favorites

I imagine that most of you, like me, miss hearing your old favorite songs. I’m talking about the classics like “I’ve Got Tears In My Ears From Lying On My Back, Crying Over You.” And, a couple of my special favorites are “If You See Me Getting Smaller, I’m Leavin’” and “When I Get Done Leavin, I’ll Be Gone.”

Dave Thomas


This is Bugging Me

Have you ever seen a bed bug? If yes, was the bed bug on a bed? Have you ever seen a bed bug any place else? If we buy sheets and blankets, do they come with bed bugs in residence? Do bed bugs eat our sheets and blankets? If no, then what do they eat? I’ve never seen a bed bug but know that sometimes it’s necessary to put aside the world’s problems and think about things a little closer to home.

Dave Thomas


Can’t Help Wondering

Reminds Me

The Russian military has long been known as the Red Army. The color, red, and the misguided leadership remind me of the Republican party.

Making America Great Again

If Trump really wants to make America great again, he should pack up and leave.

Is There Any Shame?

When the Republicans stonewall the press or parrot Trump’s lies, do they look in the mirror and then throw up?

Don’t Give Up

I hate writing this kind of stuff, but we all need to speak up. The country is in grave danger from Trump and his followers.

Dave Thomas


Thoughts About Different Stuff

-Hey, Bubba-  

Hey, Bubba, the dumbing down of America isn’t happening fast enough. Let’s ban some books and see if we can speed up the process.

-Went to Plan B

Governor Abbott of Texas wears cowboy boots because he never learned to tie his shoes. Governor DeSantis of Florida wears loafers for the same reason. (Unless Ron is wearing white go-go boots to supposedly inspect flood damage.)

-What’s next?

Abbott and DeSantis are doing their best to get women under control. Their next trick will probably be mandatory hair coverings. Lipstick will be okay if a veil is worn to cover it? Aren’t female athletes in Florida already required to track their menstrual cycles?

-Native Americans

After screwing them over and also calling them “Indians” for a few hundred years, I thought we were on the right track by calling them “Native Americans.” After all, they are the native Americans, the real Americans, and the rest of us are late-coming interlopers. Now, however, there is a new effort to erase their true identities by calling them “indigenous people.” The talking heads on TV like to use alternative words because it makes them sound more intelligent, but let’s put a stop to this. There is enough divisiveness nowadays without us creating more by minimizing a people.

Dave Thomas


Shout It Out

I thought most of us Americans believed in following the rules, obeying the law, doing what is right, and being a good person and a good citizen. Boy, was I wrong. In the general election of 2020, 34% of our American voters, the Republicans, voted for Donald Trump. That means they don’t believe in anything I listed above because Trump doesn’t believe in anything but the bottom line as it affects him.

The Republicans started sliding downhill prior to 2016 when the signed the pledge for that goober guy. That pledge declared they wouldn’t take part in any bipartisan legislation, or do anything for the American people. That is right in line with Trump’s thinking. He wants to destroy our democracy and establish an autocracy just like his mentor and good buddy, Vladimir Putin.

Make your own list of character flaws and negatives attributed to Trump. I’m talking about things like: Liar, cheater, bully, immature, childish, egotist, racist, disrespectful, white supremacist, and so on. Complete your list and study it and think about it. You will determine that Donald John Trump is the sorriest son of a bitch that ever came down the pike. Spread the word! Don’t let Trump and the Republicans take over our America and destroy it. Talk to everyone you can. It we don’t speak up, we will lose it all.

Dave Thomas


Now We Know

A short time after we were married, Pat and I went out for breakfast. Both of us being hungry, we each ordered bacon and eggs and a short stack. Pat made it a point to tell the waitress to be sure the pancakes were on a separate plate. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. Several days later, we went out again and ordered the same thing. We were busy talking, and Pat neglected to tell the waitress about the separate plate for the pancakes. Pat noticed the discrepancy as the waitress was serving us and requested a plate for her pancakes. I thought it to be kind of strange but figured there was nothing wrong with her having a quirk or two. She said, “The eggs were almost touching the pancakes.” I said, “So what?” She said, “The eggs cannot touch the pancakes!” That was strange but being a better eater than a conversationalist,  I let  it go and prepared to eat my own stuff. My technique is to put the pancakes in the middle of the plate, butter them, place the eggs on top of the stack, break the yolks, and pour syrup over the whole thing.

Over the years, I never gave the egg and pancake thing any thought. This week, my senior brain was blank. I went to Pat, and told her I needed a story for my blog, and, with her permission, would like to tell about the eggs and the pancakes. She agreed, and I was about to head for the office and work on the story. It occurred to me then, that after 64 years of marriage, maybe I should find out more about this situation. I said, “Why can’t the eggs touch the pancakes?” She said, “A salted item should not be mixed with a sweet item! That’s disgusting!” There you have it. The mystery is solved. I guess I’m a little slow on the uptake, but I eventually get there.

Dave Thomas