Rick Charlie

How a change can do you good. OR You can never go back.

















Changed things up a bit today.  Went to hang at a coffee shop by my childhood home.  Of course I went to one of the new “Hipper” ones, and not the old coffee shop with the diner counter.  Normally, I just make my own and work from home, but thought I would try this new fangled working out of the net cafe’ thing.  Meh.

I got the only nice cushy chair there.  Sat drinking my extra large mocha Latte-no whip.  Original, I know.  I read a bit, researched a bit.  Ended up people watching a little too much.  Yeah imagine me doing that!  Other than the students WTF were all these people doing anyway?  Lots of laptops!

Need a change of scenery

I needed a walk, so on a whim I headed out.  Hmmm… where to walk?  I got my bearings and figured out I was just a couple blocks from my old paper route.  So, I thought I might take a trip down memory lane.  That pic up there?  Not me, but totally could have been.  Houses looked just like that – still do!

Took me a bit to get my bearings just right.  I went a half block too far west.  Things weren’t looking too familiar, and I was beginning to wonder if those memories were just gone.  I KNEW I was on the correct blocks, but hell, this was forty years ago!  Just when I was giving up hope…BAM!  The aura of the worst snowfall on New Years Day was sitting right there!  Seriously, like a burnt in picture, I could actually kinda see it!  See what?  Well….

Well, this is gonna suck

It was a Sunday morning and New Years Day.  I’m 13 years old. It had snowed all night.  I think we got a foot of snow.  Didn’t matter, papers HAD to get delivered.  Many hungover people needed their fix!  I walked outside at 4:00 AM (Shit! Yeah, it’s all white and pretty and shit, but Damn I don’t want to deal with it), and shoveled the driveway.  No easy task that day.  I realized there was no way I could take either my bike, or my wagon down to the paper station to get my stash.  Time to wake up dad.

I think he had an inkling this might happen, but like me, my dad was NO morning person.  It was a tad frightening going into my parents room when they were sleeping anyway.  You Just.Didn’t.Do.It.  I don’t know why that was, it just was.  I got a groaning acknowledgement from my dad and he looked at me like I had two heads.  “I’ll be right down.”

Can you imagine this today?  Your 13 year old gets up at 4:00 AM and shovels the whole driveway?  On a normal Sunday would walk 6 blocks to the paper station, then another 10 delivering papers, and then all the way home before you got out of bed???


Dad drove the car and we got my papers.  The streets had only gotten one pass of the plows, so they weren’t very clear.  This was door to door delivery, and no drives or sidewalks were plowed yet.  My dad helped out.  Fortunately, I had made a map of the route, so my dad knew which houses got a paper and where on his side of the street.

We were on the last block, and my dad had parked the car.  We were kinda in the middle of the street at that point.  I don’t know why neither of us heard or saw it coming until the last second.  I remember looking up and seeing the flashing orange light just before WHOMP!  The snow plow runs past us.

We were literally buried alive.  We could not see out of any window, and neither door would open.  This is 1978, no cell phones.  Fortunately, my dad was a pretty level headed guy.  And though I was much taller than him (I was 6’2″ tall by thirteen), he suggested I try rolling down the window (hand crank – remember those?)

Snow avalanched into the car, but it made enough of a hole that I could wiggle out the window.  Once out, I assessed the situation.  Yup, buried.  I could not even see the roof.  I went around and hand dug out my dad’s side.  It took a while.  Finally out, my dad figured we should deliver the last of the papers, and then see if we can get the car out.  It took a LOT of work, but we finally did it.  Got home exhausted.  Delivering 100 papers, walking through 18″ snow drifts to get to the houses, and digging out the car will take a bit out of ya.


I kept walking, to see if any other memories would get jogged out of my grey matter.  Not too many.  There was Suzanne DeVillers house (had a BIG crush on her).  There was the guy’s house who had the German Sheppard that wanted to kill me.  I figured that was how I was going to die.  One of those days, that dog was going to smash through that giant picture window and eat me alive.  A few others had some familiar stories as well.

I was walking past one, and there was a gentleman in his mid forties right there unloading some things from his trunk (super short driveway).  His 2 and 4 year old were standing by the door.  We exchanged hello’s and I continued on.

I noticed the enclosed breezeway between the house and garage.  This is a rarity around here, and it sparked a memory.  I pointed at it, and said out loud to myself, “YES!  side door!”  I heard the man say Excuse me?  I stopped.  In an instant I realized my bad habit of talking to myself could look REALLY bad in this situation.

I explained to the nice man that I was walking my old paper route from when I was a kid, and when I saw that door, I remembered that the people that lived there wanted the paper put in that door.  His response took me aback.  He said, “that’s right.”  I’m sure the look on my face brought on his next question.  “When did you have this route?”  I told him I had it in 77 and 78 before we moved.  He looked at me and said, “I would have been 2 then.  I lived here.  Moved back into this house about 10 years ago when my parents moved to Florida.  I still get the paper and the mail delivered to that door.”

WHOA!  We chatted a little bit about growing up there in the 70’s and what it was all like.  He remembered the killer German shepherd too.  He says he thinks that’s why he is afraid of dogs to this day. (Okay, that just validated that there is an invisible tattoo on my forehead that only others can see that says – “Hey, tell me your deep dark secrets.”)

Things I learned – Cafe

  1. My first foray into the internet cafe world yielded mixed results.
  2. Though I am an Ambivert – I am a bit distracted by the people and all that THEY are doing there.  Though, I did accomplish my goals that day, I was smart enough not to make them too big, so I could
  3. Everyone seemed to be doing much higher level more important things than me.  Yeah, I know, but I put this here in case you can relate.  It’s just a feeling I had.
  4. More people seem to do this regularly than I thought.  More research needed, and should try a couple places that are NOT near a University.
  5. Why was this all so surprising to me?


Things I learned – Walk

  1. The more things change, the more they stay the same.  – It’s been 40 years since I walked that area, something I did EVERY.SINGLE.DAY for 2 years.  Many people have come and gone, yet I would have no clue.  Their presence or lack thereof, did not change the landscape.
  2. That route had a major impact on my life.  Technically, it was my first REAL job.  It helped create responsibility, money management, client relations, marketing, sales, and a whole slew of other things.
  3. I don’t remember all the days I HATED having that responsibility.  I also don’t really remember days loving it either.  Like many things, it’s a memory that just got chunked into one fond thing.  Psychologically speaking, apparently we do that.  Learned something new.
  4. As a kid, I was jealous of the relationship my dad had with my brother.  It just seemed like he got more of the quality time than I did.  It was kinda a thing for me.  Growing up, and adulting, I understand it a lot more now.  Let go of all that.  My dad was a pretty good guy.
  5. I wish my son could have a paper route now.  That is one thing that has changed.  Who gets the physical paper and actually reads it anymore?  Death of a salesman man.
  6. We hold on to the way things were longer than we realize. I think it hurts us in the long run. This is not a new phenomena. Click To Tweet
  7. I think that last one has a LOT more to think about on a macro level for all of us.
  8. My childhood was pretty awesome in the chunk that I keep in my head.  There were some really fucked up things that did happen, but not many.  I’m grateful for that.  We forget, there are a lot of people that’s not true for.  There are a lot of people that talk about the good chunks too, and NEVER deal with the fucked up parts.  Makes me sad.
  9. Everyone thinks their pet (or kid) is awesome, even if they are not.  That’s hard.
  10. Walks are a good thing.  Do more of them.  Yes, I’m talking to you the reader.


Sometimes I just ramble on.  Forgive me.  I hope you enjoy it, and it does not waste your time.  I just wanted to write about this.  Practice.  Head full of stuff.

Peace my friends!

Rick Charlie signature

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons