The spate of snowstorms traipsing through our neck of the woods lately have me thinking back to 1946, when my two brothers, Steve, Chuck and I, battled through a blizzard to deliver the Portland Sunday paper.

During good weather we wore shorts and a T-shirt and carried a paperboy’s bag. We left the paper in an agreed-upon place at each house and collected the money, sometimes from the customer or from an envelope stuck somewhere. One Sunday in February, we arrived at 7 a.m. in Bridgton’s Pondicherry Square, where the bundles of papers were dropped off by the paper truck from Portland. We put the papers together by placing the ad section into the news section.

Gramp had screwed a wooden box onto our Flexible Flyer that was the perfect size to hold the papers. We took turns manning the three stations we had devised for operation when we used this sled. One pulled with the rope around his waist, one pushed and one ran the papers to the houses.

We moved along Main Street in lightly falling snow and a brisk wind. It had snowed all night so there was plenty of it, but we seemed able to get around and the first deliveries went well, although we had noticed a considerable pick up in the wind.

After pausing to catch our breath at Swanson’s 5&10, we headed for Church Street and our largest concentration of customers. By now the wind was whistling down Main Street, plus a brawling, roiling mass of swirling snow was swooshed along by this relentless wind. There was no question about our next move; we had to continue our deliveries. So, we buttoned up and made ready to brave the elements and serve our loyal customers. I placed the rope around my waist, pulled my hat down, and with the other two pushing we lunged into the teeth of the gale.

We were halfway across Main Street when the trouble came. I was straining against the rope and we seemed to be making good headway when the wind swirled into a perfect vortex directly over our box of papers and began sucking them out into a spiral to a height of 20 feet, where they were at the mercy of a jet stream that carried them high over Post Office Square. Later that day, “Dick Tracy” and “Terry and the Pirates” were seen smooshed against the Mayfair Theater marquee.

The shock of this disencumberment lasted only a few seconds before the biting, slashing wind forced us to hurry along. We took stock of the situation and decided the only thing left to do was to continue along our route and explain to our customers what had happened. To their eternal credit, not one was angry at not getting their paper, most were surprised that we were even out in that weather, and every one paid for a paper they didn’t get.