Richard and Mae Pattee couldn't keep a cow in their northwest Provo neighborhood, so their five sons milked the same newspaper route for nearly two decades.
The oldest Pattee brother, Troy, 29, started delivering the Deseret News in the Grandview area 18 years ago. After a few years, he passed the route down to David, who passed it to Ryan, who passed it to Jon, who passed it to 16-year-old Justin, who delivered his final paper last week before turning the reigns over to a next-door neighbor.The Pattee brothers had the same route for the past 17 of those 18 years.
"It was my idea," Troy recalled. "I was looking for a way to make some extra money, and $20 was a lot for a 12-year-old."
For Mae Pattee, a paper route was much more than a way for her sons to earn a few bucks. All those late afternoons and early mornings flinging papers from the seat of a bicycle taught them responsibility and a solid work ethic.
"We didn't have a farm to let them milk the cow every morning. This is the next best thing," she said. Mae Pattee said it helped them become productive members of the community.
"It definitely taught me responsibility," said Troy, a Brigham Young University graduate who works as the copy director for advertising at ZCMI. "I felt that there were people depending on me."
The three oldest Pattee brothers are married and have graduated or are attending college. Son No. 4 is on an LDS Church mission in Japan, and the youngest is in high school.
Mae Pattee said she and her husband didn't have to prod their sons or drag them out of bed to get the papers delivered. And mom and dad stepping in to help was the exception rather than the rule.
"They never had to put up too much of a fuss to get us to do it," said Troy, who held the route when carriers had to go door-to-door to collect subscription payments.
The boys took care of business themselves, including fending off bicycle-chasing dogs. Troy remembers one big dog nipping at his heels that suddenly yelped and ran away. Three blocks later, his bike tire was flat. Troy reached down and pulled a canine tooth from the tread.
He had no problems with that dog again.
Sometimes delivering the paper came with unexpected fringe benefits. A made-for-TV movie being filmed in the Grandview neighborhood needed a newspaper carrier. The film crew was referred to the Pattee residence. Justin played himself in a brief scene in "It Was Him Or Us."
"All kinds of things can happen to you when you're a paper boy," Mae Pattee said.