Jennifer Ellis has never met Bernie Sanders, but she enjoys a taste of his fame as the woman behind the mittens who gave the Vermont Senator his viral moment on the inauguration of President Joe Biden.
Ellis, a 42-year-old elementary school teacher, lived a quiet life in the town of Essex Junction, Vermont through Wednesday.
She was teaching online like any other day when Biden was being sworn in when her phone started pinging texts.
The news was all the same, Ellis told AFP in a video interview: “Bernie Sanders is wearing your mittens!”
They are not your typical hand warmers, but are made from reused wool sweaters and fleece from recycled plastic bottles for the inner lining.
The ones Sanders wore are big and fat and in shades of brown and beige. And they have a story behind them.
A Sanders fan, Ellis sent him a pair of mittens as a comforting gift after losing to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.
She learned through a mutual acquaintance that Sanders liked the mittens.
Last year, when Sanders ran again for president, Ellis learned he was wearing the mittens – “people called them his pot holders” – but had loaned them to someone else.
Ellis said she was so touched that she sent Sanders another 10 pairs.
It got her notoriety, but it was nothing compared to the excitement since inauguration when people saw Sanders wearing the mittens.
And Sanders’ overall look – in a shabby winter coat, legs crossed, no glamor at all – sparked a torrent of lighthearted memes.
Ellis’ phone doesn’t stop ringing and her email inbox explodes.
Sanders put one meme on a bench next to Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump, another put him in custody with the teenagers from The Breakfast Club, and made it into numerous Star Wars scenes.
“I mean, the people are so funny. And that’s exactly what we need now: It’s a very difficult time for a lot of people, people had a tough year and they need something to laugh about that is completely harmless and not political.” Said Ellis.
“What I wish everyone is more joy,” she added. “And you know when you have something and you give it away and it brings someone joy and then it explodes and the whole world experiences joy, that’s amazing.”
Ellis could make a lot of money after receiving around 13,000 emails in two days from people trying to buy their mittens.
“Not just a couple – people want a lot of them,” she said.
But with her 30-year-old sewing machine and her job as a second grade teacher, she was never able to meet that demand. And she doesn’t even want to.
“I think it would only ruin the beauty if I started praising people,” she said.
She loves spending time with her family, including her five-year-old daughter.
And when others out there sell mittens on the internet, she wishes them all the best.
On Friday, some websites were promoting mittens that they said were identical to Ellis’ creation for $ 85 per pair.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)