Now more than fifty years later I cannot tell you how old she was, but she was old and infirm. A walker parked next to her chair, she was able to get up and slowly make her way to the bathroom if necessary.
The house was tiny...
Two bedrooms, barely big enough for full-size beds. A bathroom, living room, and kitchen.
The interior was austere...
Nothing on the walls. Two old rocker/recliners in the living room with a floor lamp between them. The chairs faced a small television, (black and white of course), and "The Secret Storm" was always on when I entered. No knock at the door was necessary... she expected me.
I was her newsboy, and I'm sure that on many days I was her only contact with a real human being.
She wanted to talk. I knew she needed to talk.
Her daughter paid me to deliver "The Indianapolis News" to the old woman. I'm sure she paid me not for the newspaper, but to walk through that unlocked door and insure her Mother was still alive, then spend a few moments in conversation with her.
She didn't have much, but when she had something to share she wanted me to partake-
"There are fresh radishes in the refrigerator. Do you like radishes?"
But I ate a couple and acted as if they were delicious, then thanked her for her generosity.
She was still alive when I handed the paper route over to my replacement.
I made sure he knew to walk through that door, put the newspaper on her lap, and brighten her day for a few minutes with chat about what was happening outside her unlocked door.
Looking back, I now realize I learned most of what I needed to know about life from being a newsboy.
I've even learned to tolerate radishes.