Curbing Across America In The Age of Innocence

Times have indeed changed since 1964, when Norm Riggs embarked on an adventure that today could result in a trip to the hospital, jail, or even the morgue. This is the true tale of a college student’s escape from the despair of a grueling summer job into a meandering saga that played out beyond his wildest dreams.  

About the Book

As the school year wound down in 1964, two college guys in Des Moines—unable to face another three months of typical, tedious low-paying summer jobs—decided to take a big chance.  They would hop from suburb to suburb across the country, painting address numbers on curbs and asking homeowners to donate for the service. 


Seeing new places, meeting new people, fascinating the neighborhood kids, and earning spending money for the fall. Perfect. It wasn’t illegal (was it?). Nobody else had thought of this, so they had no competition (did they?). Americans were friendly, trusting, and generous (weren’t they?). What could go wrong?   


Curbing Across America in the Age of Innocence, answers those questions and many more as it chronicles the unpredictable adventures and encounters that my friend Dave and I had. 

By the time we returned to Des Moines we had full pockets and a lifetime of memories—many hilarious, some scary, a few dangerous and one . . . well, almost triple-X, as we said back in those days. But you have to read the book to hear more about that. For more than a half-century, when I have recounted tales from that summer to friends, neighbors and co-workers, they have often told me the stories should be in a book. So now it is.  

“I can say as an editor, not just a friend, that this is a wonderful yarn,” wrote Laurence Paul, retired executive editor of the New York Times News Service and Syndicate.  “Your skill at building each little vignette to a climax is artful. Your digressions into nature and scenery are evocative. Your musings about how American society has changed are poignant. Alas, our kids and theirs will probably never know that sweet, innocent, secure world. What a shame."

Norm Riggs

Author of Curbing Across America in the Age of Innocence