Time to break out the Long Johns

I haven’t worn long underwear on a regular basis in almost 50 years.
Growing up and playing outside, we didn’t have today’s super-insulated parkas and snow pants. What we had were lined jeans, long underwear, and felt boots that were encased in rubber boots.
We all had toques that kept our heads warm.
When my brother and I started delivering papers in the early 1960s, my mother insisted that we have lined corduroy pants and Stanfield’s wool long johns.
My brother and I had a paper route that began on Central Avenue at the Fort Frances Bakery and then went along First Street, with all the avenues between First and Second Streets, before ending at the Memorial Arena.
It took almost an hour to deliver the paper to our 140 customers.
Warm wool scarves were wrapped around our necks.
Even in the coldest weather, whether we were walking to the newspaper office on Church Street (where the Customs building is now located) or actually doing the papers, I can’t ever remember being cold.
Later when we were snowmobiling, I acquired a full Stanfield’s Union Suit. I kept it in the closet and used it while I was a Cub master and we would do winter camping. It kept me warm.
Working inside and calling on customers, I put aside my long johns. They were just too warm to wear. They might come out for an occasional outdoor outing, but they remained in my bottom drawer.
When I started at the newspaper selling advertising, in winter, we wore heavy wool suits that seemed to stop the cold in its tracks. The long overcoats down to our knees protected our upper legs.
I later acquired a Wood’s down-filled parka. The canvas outer shell has been ripped, the pockets torn, but nothing is warmer on a minus-40 degree day. It is not a fashionable coat, but it is warm.
Over the weekend, I discovered that my jeans and cotton pants no longer were immune to the frigid cold that had moved in. Perhaps because the weather has been unseasonably mild, my immunity to the cold has not been built up.
I was cleaning the sidewalk in front of the newspaper office on Monday morning and the cold passed right through my cotton slacks. My thighs tingled with the frigid air.
There was a teasing ad that suggested, with the super cold that was forecast, double flannel bottoms would be needed. Long underwear would be just as good.
Tonight I’ll go to my bottom drawer and find my long johns, then tomorrow that walk outside will be much warmer.
That old, ratty down-filled jacket also will be retrieved, along with my insulated muskrat hat, and I again will be ready for the cold.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail