By ALEXANDRA NEWMAN
After 20 years, nine siblings and their mother have called it quits to the
Skube paper route.
The Skubes have been delivering Chesterton Tribune newspapers since 1981,
but, last month, the last Skube delivered the last paper on a route that
they have kept in the family for two decades.
Abigail, the youngest of the clan, says she can make more money
baby-sitting, and she won’t have to worry about being committed to a Monday
through Friday job.
The truth is, she has been helping with the route since she was five. She is
a five-year veteran of the crew. At age 10, she knows the ups and downs of
being an independent contractor.
“The good side of it is the people who give tips and homemade cookies and
candy when we deliver,” Abby said. “The down side is when people don’t pay
when you collect.”
“Most of the people are great,” agreed Roslyn Skube Lembcke, 30, of
Appleton, Wisconsin who was the first of her brothers and sisters to become
a Tribune carrier.
They related some of the excuses people give when they attempted to collect.
“‘My wife’s got my wallet,’ ‘I left my purse in the car,’ ‘Do you have
change for a $50?’ were some of the excuses we all heard,” Roslyn said.
“The ones who complain are not the ones who give tips,” Abby added.
“The tips are pretty good, especially at Christmas,” Roslyn said.
“Most of the people are kind, like Mrs. Kwiatkowski,” Maggie said about one
of their favorite customers.
“We used to make Christmas cards for all of our customers,” Roslyn said.
“The people told us they appreciated them.”
“The $60 per month for an 11 year-old was pretty decent,” Roslyn said, as
she reminisced, holding Isaac, the youngest of her three children.
However, Roslyn and Abby didn’t clear that amount. They had to pay for gas
when their mother, Maggie, drove them and they had to split the profits with
“We always had at least three doing the route,” Roslyn said.
The help was the secret to their success, said Roslyn and Abby as they sat
in the living room of the home they grew up in. There was always someone
around to cover for the carrier who might have to miss a night. That is,
when they were all in school. Even with their swimming schedules. (The
Skubes are all swimmers, albeit Emily plays soccer in high school.)
“There was only one time in the 20 years that we had to call for an outside
sub,” Abby said.
Not everyone could be there for the interview, but that is not unusual for
this busy family.
“We do manage to spend at least ten minutes all together at the same time
during the holidays,” Roslyn joked.
This day Maggie was busy taking care of children in her day care program.
She managed to run in and out for short intervals.
The boys were at work. Tom owns Skube Construction Management and Aaron runs
Skube Carpenter Contractors, Eamon owns a custom apparel shop and Jon works
for Aaron. Josh is coaching swimming at Notre Dame University.
Sarah, who just graduated from Chesterton High School, is working at Target
this summer and will enter Valparaiso University this fall. Emily, who is a
sophomore at Marquette High School, quit the newspaper carrier business last
summer to do baby-sitting. Abby is the last Skube to carry the load. They
had 90 customers.
“It is just too much for the two of us,” Maggie said, adding that it isn’t
as safe as it used to be because there is so much more traffic.
The only negative thing that ever happened to any of the children, happened
in an accident involving a car. A car hit Aaron’s bicycle and he was flipped
into a ditch along 23rd Street. A nurse found him and rushed him to the
“I make more money baby-sitting,” Abby said. “And, the good news is, that I
get (referrals) from the mothers of the children who are in my mom’s day
care and from Emily.