How to Fold a Newspaper

Lockport R.D. 1...2

In order to speed up the newspaper-passing process, it was simpler to deliver many customers their paper by giving it a toss onto their porches.

Different customers had different requirements for the delivery of their paper. Some were content with having it tossed on their porch, while others were a little more specific, such as placing the paper in their mailbox, tucking it behind their storm door, or shoving it through a mail slot. That last method could be problematic, especially on Wednesdays and Thursdays, when all the extra advertising insert fliers were added to the paper and made it twice its normal size…

Of course, we could not attempt to throw a newspaper in the configuration it came to us, hot off the presses. It needed to be folded. And this is how we did it.

Take a newspaper that is normally folded across the center horizontally and lay it on a flat surface with the fold at the bottom of the paper, closest to you, so the print on the bottom of the front page is upside down.

Next, fold the paper from left to right, slightly less than clear across. Leave the left edge about a half-inch from the right edge. If done correctly, you should be looking at the right-hand column of the top half of the front page.

Now, take the left hand fold and fold it to the right, one-third of the way towards the right hand edge of the paper. Then, fold the right hand third of the paper over top of that first fold. This should place the left side, the side of the paper with the fold that holds the paper together, on top of your bundle.

Hook your right thumb in the fold of the newspaper that lies on top of your bundle, and insert the one-third fold of paper that you executed first, which is lying underneath the top fold, into the open crease.

There you go…Easy as pie! Or, maybe not…but with practice, we could fire these folded newspapers with all our might and if the folding technique was deftly executed, the paper would remain closed no matter what. (I DID omit a couple of closely-guarded secrets of folding the newspaper, secrets that are entrusted to only a deserving few…) We used to have impromptu folding contests, both a speed-folding contest to see who could fold 25 papers the fastest, and a throwing contest, where we would throw the papers up against a brick wall to try and make the other guy’s folded paper open up.

It was vital that a thrown paper NOT fly open in mid-flight, because the resulting disaster looked like giant tree leaves being cast into the wind… Pages of newsprint went fluttering off into space, many never to be seen again…

There was a childishly malevolent side to throwing newspapers onto people’s porches. Especially if they had an aluminum storm door. When you bounced a folded paper off an aluminum storm door, it sounded like the whole house exploded. It was usually all thunder and no lightning, as the noise was enough to rattle somebody’s false teeth loose, but didn’t really cause any damage…the trick was to know how to toss the paper at just the right velocity, so that it made one heck of a racket, but didn’t leave a mark. And if you became a ninth-degree black belt at paper-throwing, you could execute the launch with the rotation needed to ensure that the closed end of the folded paper hit first, which created a rifle-shot crack that could startle even the thrower…of course, being on a bike usually meant that you were too far down the line for the customer to come charging out onto their porch, full of fire and brimstone, ready to pin back your ears…most of the time…

And then, there were those occasional roof shots…THEY usually earned a phone call to the circulation department…people really put up with a lot from paper boys in those days, but crawling out a second floor window to retrieve their paper was a little bit much.

Well, there are other paper-passing stories, stories that involve delivering the papers in the snow, on a bike, wearing sneakers, after dark sometimes, especially in winter, or when the printing press broke down, which happened rarely, but it did happen, or having parents, or even one’s SISTER, for crying out loud, passing papers for you when you were sick, but it’s time to drift on to some other recollections of life on the Canadian side of the West Branch.

Lockport, R.D. 1…or 2…

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Scott Williams is a former resident of Upper Lockport, and once delivered The Express in Lockport, from Haussener’s Farm down to the Woodward Elementary School … all 125 copies … with help from Keith. Thanks, Keith.

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