It was the late 90’s, and many industrious families found ways to supplement their income. Bette and Charlie VanBuskirk of LeRoy were no exception. Proud parents of three school-age children, Bette and Charlie’s opportunity practically fell into their laps.
“We had our three children living with us, and Pat Allen, who is also a carrier for the Genesee Valley Penny Saver, did it with her children,” recalled Bette. “I was involved in school events with her, and when she talked about it, we decided to give it a try!” Already involved in delivery elsewhere, Bette and Charlie felt comfortable adding another walking route, this time in LeRoy.
“It was a family affair,” said the Charlie. “The three of us did it together for a while. We delivered around LeRoy which was our neighborhood, which was mostly walking and a few streets driving.”
“It was funny,” Bette chuckled at the memory. “We would drop two off at the end of one street and three at the other end—with the children never left alone, of course—and people would laugh because they would see us on one street and then another!”
Bette and Charlie got to know the rhythms of town and its residents over the years. “You always knew when the end of the month was because you saw renters move out and new ones move in,” Charlie remembered. “Each of us has been bitten by a dog, and I was the last one to be bitten,” he added, wryly. “Our son switched to the driving route after that!”
Nevertheless, Charlie and Bette continued delivering the Genesee Valley Penny Saver to its faithful LeRoy readers. “There are hardcore LeRoyans who know us well,” shared Bette. “Some would even call us to let us know they were going on vacation and ask us to hold their paper.”
“You would be surprised how many people would call us if they didn’t receive their paper as quickly as they hoped,” added Charlie. “People tell us they enjoy the editorial pieces, and many of the elderly ladies want it early for the ads so they can go shopping while the items are still on the shelf. When we told them it was our last week, they were sad to see us go!”
Charlie and Bette recalled one wintry day on which a GVPS reader truly showed his loyalty to our paper. “We always checked the weather,” stated Bette. “If it was going to rain or snow or storm, you did not want to be out in it. We would try to beat the weather or wait a day.”
“Well, we had one particular snowstorm, and we would have waited, but we had many people who wanted it delivered,” picked up Charlie. “One gentleman had not cleared his driveway or sidewalk, and it was piled too high with snow to deliver his paper. So, this gentleman opened up his second-floor window and, hanging out of it, yelled to us that he wanted his paper!”
Charlie also remembered a humorous incident involving his yellow, VW convertible. “I was using it to deliver the driving route, and we pulled up to a reader’s mailbox,” he said. “The man said, ‘Boy, is that a nice car!’ I said, ‘Yeah, it is.’ He said, ‘You charge for delivering the Penny Saver in that VW?’ I said, ‘No extra charge for delivering the free paper from my VW!’” Charlie finished with a laugh. “One lady had to come right out of her house and look it all over. We got to know her, too!”
For years, delivering the Genesee Valley Penny Saver worked well for Bette and Charlie, and they praised Shari Rapone, the GVPS Circulation Manager. “Shari is a very good person, flexible and accommodating,” they both affirmed. “She made the job easy and pleasant, always listening, going to bat for you as an employee and resolving any issues.”
Finally, after over 20 years, Bette and Charlie decided to retire and enjoy some well-earned comforts, including their weekend cottage on Silver Lake. “We both still work part-time, and delivering is mostly on the weekends, so we decided it was a good time to retire,” they shared.
We wish them the best and continued happiness in their retirement!
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