Cal Ripken, jr , and I streaked together in th 1990s!

An historic streak began on May 30, 1982. Does anyone remember what streak that was? Yup, you are right, it was the date that Cal Ripken, Jr., an All Star professional baseball player for the Baltimore Orioles started his 2632 consecutive game streak. He was/is called “Iron Man” for the stamina, courage, and strength he demonstrated throughout his baseball career. To this day, Ripken is a hero in many people’s eyes. Cal Ripken’s streak ended in 1995.

Many other events, mostly disturbing ones, also occurred in 1995. They included, but were not limited to the Oklahoma City car bombing, OJ’s trial, and the Detroit Red Wings being swept four games to none by the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup Finals☹.

For me personally. I was happy that I was going to finally give up one of my two paper routes. Financially, things were getting better, and I decided in October 1995 that I would drop my Star Ledger route at the end of January 1996.  

So why would I wait till January to drop the route? Holiday tips, most people feel generous around the holiday and I wanted to provide for my family the best I could.

It was my normal procedure the first Sunday of every month to leave a self-addressed envelope (notice I did not say self-addressed stamped envelope) with the monthly invoice. I asked my customers to pay by the end of the month.  Probably half of my customers would leave a buck or two tip each month, which was always welcome.

The first Sunday in December each year I included a short note with the invoice thanking my customers for their loyalty and letting them know how much my family of five appreciated their support. The holiday spirit usually netted me a several hundred dollars extra as a “holiday gift” from many of my customers.

I decided to go for broke in 1995, taking advantage of the national mood. I knew it would be a stretch, but I had nothing to lose.

Cal Ripken, jr “stretching”

By the end of December, my normal holiday tip earnings went from around $500 the year before to over $2000 in 1995! It appears Cal Ripken’s streak DID resonate, and my customers showed their appreciation for my streak!

I liked serving my customers, but business is business. I wasn’t getting any younger, and I needed to move on. In the first Sunday in January 1996 I put another note with the invoice for January letting them all know that, after seven years, I would be giving up my Star Ledger route. I wasn’t sure how that would go over with my customers, especially since they had been very generous the previous month.

To my surprise, over half of my customers sent their payment with a nice note wishing me and my family well, with another very nice tip. I was very appreciative of the fact that they understood and appreciated that my multi-hundred thousand newspaper delivery streak took a lot of courage, drive, devotion, and stamina. It was my honor and privilege to serve! Thank You Cal Ripken, jr, you are my hero!

My Hero

Friends, next up: “Saying Goodbye to Bell, Atlantic that is”

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