Sunday, April 9, 2017

Cold hands while delivering newspapers

One of my Seward acquaintances, Mark Stadsklev, recently posted on Facebook a photograph of a Jon-e Warmer that he won while working as a paperboy.

A Jon-E Warmer
Mark wrote:
About forty or fifty years ago I won this as a newspaper delivery boy.

Yup. The one speed bicycle, the 40# white bags over the shoulders and darn well better put that paper inside the screen door! No plastic bag thrown somewhere agin the cabin in the olden days. Ben Franklin had rules against us doin' dat.
I delivered the Lincoln Star newspaper, which gave prizes for selling new subscriptions. I remember winning only one prize, which was a pocket knife. The blade was very sharp, and I cut my finger by merely touching it.

I never had one of those warmers that Mark won. Seeing this picture recalled only a very vague memory of them. It's my understanding that you filled such a warmer with a special fluid, lit it briefly like a cigarette lighter, and then put the into your coat pocket. The warmer kept the pocket's inside warm for a long time, and so you could warm your hand by inserting it into the warm pocket.

I should have bought a couple of these warmers, because my hands got very cold when I delivered newspapers on winter mornings. The cold wind always seemed to blow against me, no matter which direction I was riding my bicycle. My only defense against the cold was to wear two pairs of mittens.

On some mornings I returned from my route crying because my fingers were so cold. I would come into the house and hold my hands under warm water from the bathroom sink's faucet. And then I would lie down on the floor next to a heat register for about 15 minutes. I think I must have been almost frostbitten.

In those circumstances, a couple of those warmers probably would have been worth the money I would have spent on them. I just never thought about buying them.

I suppose I should have chosen a warmer as a subscription-selling prize instead of a pocket knife. I don't remember using my pocket knife for anything at all. In that regard, Mark Stadsklev had more good sense than I did.

Fortunately, my Mom or Dad usually would get up and drive my on my delivery route when the weather was extremely cold. I still remember and am grateful for their doing that for me.

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