Wednesday, October 4, 2023

30 years ago, my pregnant wife delivered newspapers with me (the paper for which I was also a sports writer)

Terry looked like this and still helped me deliver papers. What a trooper.
(Photo used with the express permission of Mrs. Terry Tennant.)

It was 1993. Terry and I had been married a little more than a year and she was pregnant with our first child, Elissa. I was about a year and a half into my stint as a full-time sports writer for The News-Herald in Willoughby, Ohio, and generally loving life.

I've written before about my time at the N-H. I started as a sports clerk a week before college, left for a year to join the Cleveland Plain Dealer while still at John Carroll, then came back full time in November 1991 while still six months away from earning my degree.

My tenure at the paper spanned a combined eight years, during which I covered a wide range of high school, college and professional sports. What's more, while the paper itself was one of the largest suburban dailies in Ohio, the staff was relatively small and we all had to do double duty.

That meant nights when I would travel somewhere to cover a game, come back to the office and write my story, then grab a few pages from the next day's sports section to lay out before our midnight deadline.

It was an exhilarating way to make a living for a young newlywed, coming as it did at a time when people actually read newspapers.

The job didn't exactly pay well, so I looked for extra sources of income wherever I could. One of my side jobs was as a carrier for the same newspaper where I was employed.

For eight months or so, I delivered The News-Herald every day to residents of East 300th Street, Lincoln Road and Arlington Circle in my hometown of Wickliffe (we lived on 300th, so it was all very convenient).

On Sundays, I would load the extra-large papers into our car and Terry would drive the route while I walked and delivered to each of my customers. She would get out and deliver papers herself to the few businesses on my route, including the Wickliffe Public Library.

I will never forget the image of a very, very pregnant Terry in the middle of winter 1994 trudging through the snow in her long parka to leave a paper near the library's front door.

I will also never forget Mrs. Piacente, one of my customers on Lincoln. Many Saturday mornings she would greet me just as I was opening her side door to deposit a paper and ask me what articles I had in that day's edition. She also asked me to do a few odd jobs for her, including changing the batteries in her kitchen clock and knocking icicles off her gutters.

I was always happy to help, but the whole thing made me laugh. It was full-service journalism and then some! (And hey, she tipped well.)

Elissa was born in March 1994, and a month later The News-Herald switched from afternoon to morning delivery. That was when I had to give up the route.

I stayed with the paper another 2 1/2 years as a sports writer before moving on to technical writing and eventually corporate communications.

But if there was ever a time when I built a work ethic, it was back in those days when I would work in the newsroom until 2 in the morning, go home and sleep, and be up again mid-morning the next day to deliver my papers.

To be young again.

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