On Nov. 22, 1963 — 47 years ago today — I was a carrier boy for the NY World-Telegram & Sun, an afternoon newspaper. We knew that President Kennedy had died, and a pall enveloped the storefront shack where we rolled our papers — no bands, no bags — in preparation of stoop shoots from our bikes (we almost always hit our marks — definitely a lost art).
The Telegram bore the headlined “Kennedy Cheered Through Dallas” and featured a picture of a beaming JFK and Jackie at the Texas airport that morning.
Those upbeat papers are collector’s items today, but my customers would expect later news. So along with scores of others, I waited patiently at one of my neighborhood’s big newsstands for the arrival of the final edition around 5 o’clock — its headline filled the top half of the broadsheet front page:
I shelled out cash for a stack of Finals and brought them to my preferred customers. Then I returned to a few prospects. If they’d subscribe that day, I offered, I’d give them a copy of the paper that everyone wanted.
People were desperate not just for the latest news — TV was covering the story ’round-the-clock — but for their newspaper, a friend they could touch, hold, embrace.