Wayne and Linda Braun can finally hit the snooze button on Thursday mornings and catch a little more shuteye while someone else takes care of the newsstand deliveries of The Northern Light countywide.
The Brauns, along with their friendly, curly-haired cockerpoo-mix Molly (“Everyone knows Molly,” Linda said), have been familiar faces for many readers of The Northern Light. They announced that they would be retiring from Point Roberts Press in November 2013. “I’m the oldest paper boy in the world,” Wayne, 72, joked. “I started delivering newspapers when I was eight and I’m just now quitting. It’s just time.”
“We were out there every Thursday for all those years,” Linda said. “It was wonderful to meet so many people.”
How they started with the Point Roberts Press was by happenstance.
When Wayne first retired, he said he applied for a job at the driving range at Semiahmoo, but didn’t seem to be a good fit for the club. “They said I was too old,” he said. “But I still wanted to work.”
An encounter with Point Roberts Press publishers Pat Grubb and Louise Mugar led to an unexpected opportunity.
“I had met them before,” Wayne said, “But this time, Louise started asking questions. ‘You’re Canadian, right? So you know where Burnaby is, right?’ Well, that was where the paper was being printed at the time, it turns out, and she wanted to know if I wanted to help with delivering the paper. I was just planting flowers and building fences and I was bored, so I said sure.”
That acquiescence led to 18 years of newspaper delivery for the Brauns. “We did the route together at first,” Linda said, “but eventually we decided to split up to be more efficient.”
The couple traveled their respective delivery routes, with Molly by their side, and never missed a delivery day. “We’re really proud of that record,” Wayne said. “In all those years, we managed to always find a way to do the job.”
Linda said that the routes became so familiar over the years that even Molly caught on to the stores and restaurants she could visit along the way. “She knew exactly who would have treats for her,” Linda said.
“It really was a great job,” Wayne said. “I’m going to miss it. I got to talk to lots of people while at work. I liked that.”
And let it be known, Wayne is a talker. The former air traffic control radar supervisor, who hails from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, loves to tell a tale. “There were days I would finish my part of the route, which was twice as long in mileage as his, and get home, and he’d still be an hour behind me,” Linda said.
“I told her I had people to meet. I’d stop to talk to just about everyone along the way,” Wayne said. “Sometimes it would take
forever to get the paper delivered.”
But he said that he tried to never be late for the Custer post office. “Those little old ladies would always be there waiting for their paper,” he said, “and if I was late, I knew I would hear about it.”
But the years do wear on, and as much as the Brauns enjoyed their stint delivering papers, they decided it was time for the next step in their life.
“I enjoyed the job,” he said, “but it was time to resign. I’ve worked long enough.”
Wayne said that he and Linda are considering a purchase of a motor home so that they can travel across the country and keep Molly close by them. “We have to have a way to take her with us,” he said. “We can’t leave her behind.”