With the season’s first cold snap, Marylanders reached for their heavy coats this week, knocked off the lint, and discovered surprises — pleasant and not — tucked deep in woolly pockets.
And in interviews Friday across the central state, they shared descriptions of a ritual of winter.
Gloria Freedenberg, 56, of Annapolis, found two or three quarters that reinforced what she has been telling her children for years:
“If they are looking for money when I die, I tell them just to go through my coat pockets…. Because I know there is always some change just lying around,” said Freedenberg, while stocking bottles of hot sauce at the produce store she owns.
“I don’t intentionally leave money in my pockets. But every year I usually find some. And it feels real good when I do.”
Raymond Machoian, 64, owner of a dockside poultry business, found not money, but “tissue…. I wear several jackets throughout the winter. And I can always count on finding tissue in every pocket. This year was no different. After all, I need to blow my nose.”
He reached into the recesses of his windbreaker and came up with some evidence — for the record, unused.
Up in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, retailer Carlos Marshall retrieved a little bit of everything.
“I found a cellular phone battery that I have been looking for at least a year now,” said Marshall, 32. “I also found about $6 and some lost phone numbers.
“But that didn’t excite me as much as finding the battery.”
Marcel Pringle pulled out an unpleasant memory.
“I put my hand in my pocket and out comes an old boyfriend’s phone number,” said Pringle, 26, at her job selling clothes in Annapolis. “Every year I have a habit of digging in my pockets with the hopes of pulling out money. I was so disappointed when I saw that piece of paper.”
She rolled her eyes. “He is someone I never want to see or talk to again.”
Baltimorean Jeanette Walker, 36, solved the mystery of the missing gloves.
“Ever since the weather got slightly chilly, I’ve been looking and looking for my gloves,” said the Inner Harbor t-shirt vendor. “And there they were right in my coat pocket. I didn’t even think to look there. Now my hands can be warm again.
“But it would have been nice to find at least a quarter.”
The trench coat donned by Alex Kristobek of College Park, a University of Maryland junior majoring in biology, yielded a travel-size lint roller and phone book.
“I have looked everywhere for this lint roller because I have a dog that sheds all over the place,” Kristobek, 21, said. “I’m upset about finding the phone book, because all the numbers are useless now.”
His friends, transient as students can be, have moved to different places with new numbers.
Carlos Suarez, an accounting junior from Gaithersburg, was wearing his winter coat for the first time, and hadn’t yet explored his pockets. He put in a hand, only to pull it out ink- stained.
“A black pen! Exploded in my pocket!” the 21-year-old exclaimed. “So this has just been sitting in my pocket for months.”
But he was spared worse. The pen’s companion — a yellow marker — emerged intact. Suarez was relieved.
“That,” he said, “wouldn’t have blended well with my navy jacket.” -30-