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Here, There & Everywhere

The Buckhorn

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Winters Express
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Pop doesn't write a column anymore, so I put in our most recent story about him.


Oldest Paperboy in the World
in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! book

Express editor
Although the Guinness Book of World Records still hasn’t officially acknowledged Newt Wallace as the Oldest Paperboy in the World (the paperwork is still pending), Ripley’s Believe It or Not! has listed Wallace as such in its most recent publication, “Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Reality Shock.” Ripley’s annual “best of” 256-page publication was released on Sept. 2, and Wallace appears on page 176.
Edward Meyer, Ripley’s vice president of exhibits and archives, explains that Ripley’s has been documenting amazing and unbelievable stories since 1918, and started producing an annual “best of” publication 12 years ago, featuring “the best, most unbelievable stories within the last year.” “Reality Shock” is an all-color publication consisting of 1,000 stories and about 500 photos, including Wallace’s.
“I’m proud to put him in the book,” says Meyer, noting Wallace’s “unbelievable dedication” as a key factor in selecting him as a subject.
Noting that Wallace’s career at the Winters Express began in 1947, which represents nearly 70 years that he has delivered newspapers on foot, week after week. At the age of 93, when the content for “Reality Shock’ was selected, Wallace was (and is) still going strong. Meyer says it’s one thing to do something for 70 years, but delivering newspapers “is not exactly the most glamorous job,” which makes it even more amazing.
All those factors give Wallace’s story “the wow factor I’m looking for as a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! editor,” says Meyer, adding that selecting Newt for “Reality Shock “a no-brainer.”
“It’s like three Believe It or Nots in one!” says Meyer.
He notes that Wallace’s story is quite unique, although it’s not the only one related to newspapers. There are also several stories about long-term, lifelong jobs, but Meyer says many were about dogs. Meyer has also come across some other amazing newspaper delivery jobs, such Hal Wright, dubbed the World’s Oldest Pilot, who delivers by airplane in a remote area and swoops down to make the throw. Then there’s the blind man who has been delivering newspapers for 24 years, with the assistance of a seeing-eye dog. But, Meyer says, none of the stories were just like Newt’s — nothing unusual, just putting one foot in front of the other for all these years. That was what landed him in Ripley’s annual album.
The book is available to the public, and Meyer says “Reality Shock” can be found online at Amazon, bookstores and on the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! website.
Wallace, who is now 95, still packs his canvas bag and delivers the Express every Wednesday on foot to the “downtown” route, which consists mainly of downtown businesses. When he feels like writing his “Here, There and Everywhere” column from time to time, he still types it out on his trusty Underwood.
Wallace’s career in the newspaper industry stretches back before his years at the Express. He was a paperboy with the Muskogee Times Democrat in Oklahoma, and was recognized as one of “Tomorrow’s Future Leaders” by the publication in 1936 when he graduated from high school. He graduated from Iowa State in 1941, majoring in history because the college didn’t offer a general journalism degree. However, he says he took every journalism class they offered.
Wallace married Ida Beck in 1943 and they moved on to California. Wallace took a job in a shipping yard by day and worked a night job in the back office at the Long Beach Independent, working on page layout the old-fashioned way, with letters that had to be set into words and sentences for the printing press. His next position was at the Upland News, where he says he was the “general flunky,” doing back office work and filling in as the editor from time to time.
The Wallaces moved to Winters in January 1947, when Newt became publisher of the Winters Express, turning that job over to his son Charles in 1983. Newt stays on with the Express, with the title of Publisher Emeritus.
Having been featured in the New York Times and scores of newspapers nationwide for his “Oldest Paperboy in the World” title, and receiving accolades and honors from a variety of organizations over the years, Wallace seems tickled by all the attention. When asked how he felt to be honored by Ripley’s, he replied, “If you live long enough, good things happen to you.”