Letters: A Paper Route Ride Along And Comforting Words From An IT Man

Melissa Block and Robert Siegel read emails from listeners about a ride along on a newspaper route and a heartfelt reassurance from an IT professional.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

It's time now for your letters and first, a correction. On Monday we told you about the first day of school in New Orleans, where most of the schools are now charter schools. In our story we said that even though test scores are up, 80 percent of schools still received a D or F grades from the state of Louisiana. Well, that percentage is incorrect. Only about 20 percent of the charter schools in New Orleans have D's or F's. More than half of the schools have grades of A, B or C. The rest were not graded. We're sorry about the error. And let's move on now to your letters.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Last week, NPR's Noah Adams went for a walk with 11-year-old Jaxon Kuhlman.

JAXON KHULMAN: We're going to my paper route today. It's sometimes 36 to 38 papers and it pretty much goes in a figure eight.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In Carroll, Iowa the newspaper is still delivered by a neighborhood boy or girl.

BLOCK: The story prompted Jean Koester of Northampton, Massachusetts to write in. She grew up in Carroll but opted for a babysitting gig as a kid. Her children however had their own afternoon paper routes. Ms. Koester goes on to write - the lessons about the power of owning your own work and money, and whether to spend or save were foundational for my kids and they were sorry to see their roots go away. While listening to Jaxson talk to Noah Adams, I was so flooded with fond memories of Carroll and paper routes that I missed my exit by four stops, but was smiling all the way home.

SIEGEL: Our story also transported Stephen Matzke of San Diego back in time. He writes - it brought back memories of the smell of newspaper, the canvas sack, the dread of collecting - riding my bicycle through snow and the large headline of John Lennon's death. It was good to remember this fast, disappearing piece of Americana.

BLOCK: Finally, earlier this week we heard about the dual role of IT workers - half technologist, half psychologist. These days many IT firms are emphasizing empathy as much as expertise when it comes to hiring. Well, Selden Deemer of Atlantis says he realized that about 20 years into his IT career. He writes this - many people are deeply uneasy with computer technology and what they really need in addition to solution, is reassurance that - well, we thought we'd just let Mr. Deemer say it for himself.

SELDEN DEEMER: It's OK. Everything will work out.

SIEGEL: Well, thanks for the words and the letters, and please do keep writing them. Go to npr.org and click on contact at the bottom of the page. Be sure to wear your glasses because it may be hard to spot a first. But don't worry, it's OK. Everything will work out.

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