WHITEWAY, N.L. — As a 12-year-old boy, Lloyd George used to make his way around Whiteway on a weekly basis either by foot or bike to deliver copies of The Compass.
That was 50 years ago, when the paper first began publishing in the Trinity-Conception area. With recently announced changes to distribution, there will be no more paper carriers after the June 26 edition is released. In a unique twist, the first Compass carrier for Whiteway and those who will deliver next week’s paper have a strong connection — it’s Lloyd grandchildren Hannah and Tyler George.
Hannah, 11, and her 14-year-old brother Tyler have been carriers for two years. They used to fill in at times when their cousin Leanne couldn’t do the route. When Leanne George decided to stop being a carrier, the George siblings were the first in line to take over.
Lloyd’s friend had a brother who was in charge of distributing the newly formed paper. He asked Lloyd if he would be interested in earning a few dollars by delivering the paper.
“It was a little bit different then,” Lloyd told The Compass, seated at a kitchen table with his grandkids. “Back then, you didn’t have anyone taking you in a car and driving you around and dropping off papers or anything like that. Winter, summer or whatever, I used to have to find my own way.”
He would bike around the community in the summer months and went by foot the rest of the year to deliver his 30 or so papers. The Compass was quite different back then, he noted, with many pages devoted to little bits of news from communities as plain as a few sentences mentioning a local resident’s recent trip to Ontario. These days, that’s the sort of news one might track on a friend’s social media account.
“Back in 1968, there wasn’t a whole lot of telephones actually (in Whiteway),” Lloyd said. “I think around 1960 the telephones came around here. I remember when I was a kid, around six years old, on (the west end) of the community, there was like three telephones, and we had one of them … it was an old, different way of life.”
Oddly enough, Lloyd has come full circle with his career as a paper carrier — he sometimes takes Hannah or Tyler out for a drive to complete their route.
“In the wintertime, it has been mostly Hannah, because Tyler has been involved with the hockey,” Lloyd explained. “So, him and his father will be at the stadium, and I’d take Hannah and do the route.”
“We take turns,” added Tyler. “She’ll do it one week, and I’ll do it the next.”
The experience of being a Compass carrier has introduced the Georges to people in the community they might not otherwise know, Tyler said. Hannah has been particularly fond of one house with a cat that has grown to like her visits.
“There’s this one person that has a cat. His name is Sam, and he’s used to me now,” said Hannah. “So, every time he sees me now, he goes around my feet and everything because he knows me.”
Often relying on a parent or their grandfather to help them get around has certainly made it easier for the George siblings to do their work. But Lloyd certainly had it hard at times when weather was less than agreeable.
“I remember back when there’d be a snowstorm or something like that and sometimes you’d be a day late getting them out because of the snowstorm. But if it was just a little bit of snow, you’d walk through it. Sometimes people would pick you up and give you a ride to the other end in a car. And back then, hitchhiking was a thing too. Now my parents didn’t like me hitchhiking, because I was only 12 or 13 years old, but I would from time to time.”
Most of Lloyd’s customers are deceased, though he believes there’s still one customer on his grandchildren’s route he delivered The Compass to.
“I’m 62 years old, so it’s a 50-year difference,” Lloyd said. “A lot of my customers died.”
Tyler knew his grandfather used to be a Compass carrier and has heard plenty of stories over the years about it.
“It’s good to learn about what he used to do,” Tyler said.
Hannah and Tyler have a book they use to keep track of the customers that are paid up or owe money for their deliveries. Lloyd managed to keep it all in his head. That sort of skill has come in handy for the elder George, who has worked in sales for 44 years with Maple Leaf Foods.
“I don’t think the paper did that to me,” he said of his adult career, “but it was something that gave me a taste of (sales) I guess.”