Delivering the News

Wednesday, October 7, 1998, Chicago, Illinois - Name's William Hunt - call me Hunt. I've got papers to sell today. A lot of papers. You're welcome to stay. I'll talk with you, sure.

I've got this stand here, at West 76th and Halsted. Yes sir. Chicago - right. Been here eleven years. Don't mind it, no I don't. Keeps me out of the house - better than watching TV all day.

I'm here every day. Every day, yes sir. Six a.m. till noon, sometimes one O'clock. Got to sell all my papers. Yes, Sundays too, Sunday's a big day for me.

Yeah, I'm on my feet a lot. Not good for an old man like me - pushing seventy, you know. It's not too bad, used to work security - on your feet all day. I also drove a cab. Did that for eleven years. Didn't get on my feet much then, no - ha. I have these chairs, here, and I sit down when I need to. Sidewalk's hard on the feet, yes it is.

Sure, it's cold in the winter - this is the windy city. But I come here every day. I stand on the corner for a while, then I go inside and warm up. It's OK.

I sell the Tribune, the Sun-Times and the Defender - that's it. In this area, the one that sells the most is the Sun Times, then the Defender - in this area. No sir, I don't sell candy or snacks or nothing - I used to, but not anymore. Too much trouble. Got to lock all that up at night. Can't do that.

Robbed? Not yet - hate to hear that word - so many stands have been robbed. They get robbed and beaten up. Saw someone get robbed right across the street, in the parking lot. It was the middle of the day.

Been broken into three times - couldn't keep them out. Then I put bars on the windows. They don't break in no more. It's the city, you know. Love this city. Moved here on December 11, 1945. I live over on 76th and Morgan. Yeah, Morgan, like the actor. Good actor, I like him. I watch a lot of movies.

Hello, sir. What'll you have today? A Sun Times? There you go. Thank you, have a nice day.

Family? Been married thirty-two years - wife's name is Willa. Maybe she'll be here today. She comes down here every once in a while. What's that? Yeah - ha - checking up on me! Keeping me busy.

I got seven children - five sons and two daughters, yes sir. None of them live here, though. California, Detroit, Texas - it's a big world today.

Had another boy, but he died... twenty five years old... He was in a shootout... Don't know, exactly. Yeah, the world is changing. Things are getting tough. Can't complain, though - it's the city.

Yeah, I got grandchildren. How many? Don't ask me, cause I don't know, I quit counting - somewhere between fifteen and twenty.

Hello, ma'am. What'll you have today? A Defender? There you go ma'am. Thank you, have a nice day.

What other work did I do? I been in the Army - three years. World War Two. Yes sir. I was here in the states. Never went over - trained for three years. I was ready to go and fight. Scared, but ready. Moved here right after that.

What ma'am? You want change for a dollar? If you buy a paper, I'll give you change. Oh, OK, here you go. Can't give all my change away, I need it for my customers. There you go, ma'am.

Yes, this little change maker works real nice. I always have it on my hip, yes sir. People can't wait at the light long. Got to help them, get them their paper, give them their change and let them go. Works real nice.

I always carry a paper like this, see, with the fold up. It's neater that way. I put inserts in them in the stand and come out here and sell them... Hello there! I have your things in the stand. They're right in the corner on your left. Just go get them yourself. Sure - good luck!

She's a coupon collector.

This job keeps me active, yes sir. You see a lot of people, people you don't normally see at home. Sure, we get all kinds of people here... A lot of people you get is OK. A lot of people you get is not OK. You have to be cautious most of the time.

Hello, sir. What'll you have today? A Tribune? There you go sir. Thank you, have a nice day.

I sell about two hundred papers a day. Used to sell more. Used to sell three to five hundred a day, but not anymore, yes sir. As long as I get enough to keep me satisfied, I ain't gonna worry about it - all you gotta worry about is doing the right thing and everything else will fall into place.

Yeah sure, sold a lot of papers when the Starr Report came out, but now people are just tired of it. They don't want to read about it.

Hello, ma'am. What'll you have today? A Defender? There you go. Thank you, have a nice day.

Sometimes I enjoy doing this, and sometimes I don't want to do nothing. Sometimes I want to give it up, but then I'd have to start all over again.

I pay the city to have my stand here. I'm on city property, so I have a contract with them, that's right. No one can open a stand within three blocks of me. Yeah, they sell papers at the store across the street. I blame the newspapers for that, though. I don't think they should do that, no sir.

Hello ma'am. The Alderman's office? It's up on Racine - that way. Yes ma'am. Goodbye. Oh, look out for the ambulance. They got a serious one in there. They don't usually go that fast.

Yes sir, I like newspapers - read two or three every day. I don't think TV has hurt the newspaper business too much. A lot of people like to read and see what the paper says, and they like to see what the TV says - it can be different. Newspapers will be here until the world comes to an end, and that's a story that'll sell a lot of papers!

Well, it's been nice talking with you, sir. Thank you, have a nice day.

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