Elec­tric blan­ket keeps the bed warm

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - Opinion - Carol Weimer

This col­umn orig­i­nally ran Jan. 28, 2009. En­joy this oldie-but-goodie while Carol is out sick.

One of the most won­der­ful in­ven­tions is the elec­tric blan­ket. Do you have one? Is there any­thing like climb­ing into bed and hav­ing it all warm and toasty? In “our old house” we don’t have heat in all of the rooms and one of them is my bed­room. I’m not com­plain­ing. I like a cool room to sleep in and in fact more than cool, just plain cold. So an elec­tric blan­ket is a must.

Be­fore they were in­vented I used to go to bed bun­dled up like an Eskimo. We had soap­stones that came up from the farm that were used to warm beds and take in the buggy and car (be­fore heaters) to keep your feet warm. I would heat it up each night be­fore go­ing to bed. I would put it on the ledge of the coal burn­ing fur­nace where you shoved the coal in. Then I had a warm bag with a draw­string that my mom had made. I would put it in the bag and take it to bed with me at my feet. That an­swered the pur­pose un­til elec­tric blan­kets came out.

For those who don’t know what a soap­stone is, I can only say it was made in a rec­tan­gu­lar shape and had a han­dle drilled in the stone to carry it. The stone was gray and kept the heat all night long. Some­times I would get it too warm and the bag would smell a lit­tle scorched, but I never had a fire with it, thank you. Hot wa­ter bot­tles didn’t do the trick be­cause they wouldn’t stay warm all that long and there isn’t any­thing worse than a cold wa­ter bot­tle.

Grand­mother used to come up­stairs some­times with her long-han­dled bed­warmer full of hot coals, which she would slip into the bed un­der­neath the cov­ers and warm the en­tire bed. This was a bet­ter way of warm­ing the bed as you could slip it around the en­tire bed, while a soap­stone or hot­wa­ter bot­tle only warmed one spot. The bed­warmer was only used on “be­low-zero” nights or maybe if you were sick with a cold. Grandma would take pity.

The first elec­tric blan­ket I had was a West­ing­house and I can re­mem­ber I thought it was quite a lux­ury. It was thick and heavy but it worked just fine. Af­ter it gave out I had sev­eral oth­ers un­til my last pur­chase, which was just as ex­pen­sive, but when I got home, opened it up and put it on the bed it was as thin as a bed­sheet. I thought it was a new ver­sion and didn’t ex­actly ap­pre­ci­ate that it didn’t have the weight that my old one had, but I kept it. It was the newer model that be­cause of all the fires on beds with blan­kets that had been left on all day, or some­thing, this new blan­ket didn’t turn on un­til you got into the bed. In other words you couldn’t turn it on a half or whole hour be­fore re­tir­ing and have a warm bed. That was strike one. Se­condly, it didn’t get re­ally warm and it didn’t warm the whole bed. At first I didn’t quite no­tice and when I fi­nally did, it was too late to re­turn it.

I “lived” with it for sev­eral years, un­til I be­gan to re­al­ize it wasn’t work­ing on the bot­tom of the bed. Time for a new blan­ket. I have a new one that has all of the fea­tures that my very first blan­ket did. The plush blan­ket is warm and soft and heats the bed faster. In fact, I be­lieve there is a fea­ture whereby you can pro­gram it and the blan­ket turns it­self on, but do I know how to do that? I’m not elec­tri­cal or com­puter-minded and I don’t even try to fig­ure it out.

The soap­stone hangs on the wall in the base­ment. Some folks in the coun­try used bricks, I now re­mem­ber, but I have a warm bed to sleep in and that is one of the plea­sures in life. Mom used to tell about when she lived in the north coun­try. Their bed­rooms were so cold that wa­ter would freeze in the glasses at night. They would go down­stairs in the morn­ing and dress by the liv­ing room stove and also dress there at night for bed. That was in the days when there weren’t fur­naces in houses and the liv­ing room stove and old black kitchen stove were the means of heat­ing the house.

Weren’t those the “good ole” days?

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