While in my closet the other day, I came upon a small box that made me smile. I knew exactly what was in the box though I had not opened it in several years. The memories go back to the 1950's.
When I was growing up, it was traditional to be recognized on your birthday not only by family members, but friends of my parents. Pretty typical was a card with an enclosed handkerchief. Sometimes just a handkerchief without a card. I do not know when or why this started, but I do remember elderly ladies (about my age now) would always carry a handkerchief when in public. Perhaps to stifle a sniffle, catch an unexpected tear, or just to be holding onto something.
I remember my mother-in-law would always have a handkerchief in her hand when she was expecting visitors. My grandmother would spend a lot of time crocheting edging onto a linen handkerchief for gifts. I feel fortunate I still have several of those.
So it was no surprise when I opened this box and found 35 memories from my childhood. In "those" days, Kleenex had not been invented yet. If they had, they certainly didn't make it to small town Iowa. I honestly do not know where I would even go today to find a store that carried ladies handkerchiefs. Of course, it is very easy to find men's handkerchiefs. It also is pretty typical for a man to carry a cloth handkerchief in his back pocket. So what happened to the ladies?
I remember being in Brussels, Belgium, many years ago, on a search for Belgium lace on beautiful handkerchiefs. I bought three at the time. One for me and one for each of my daughters. I remember the first daughter that got married carried this handkerchief on her wedding day. It was so hot for this outside wedding, she handed it to the minister to wipe his brow and it was gone forever. I do not know if my other daughter still has hers, but I do know that mine also disappeared somewhere. sigh....
The females I know stuff their pockets with those disgusting tissues that always seem to be forgotten in pockets and go through the laundry and end up making a mess in the dryer. I think I would actually enjoy getting out my iron and giving these beautiful little memories a quick press after going through the washing machine. Now the decision. Should I start carrying these little treasures or just stay with the Kleenex? What would you do or what do you use for those unexpected tears?
And yes, I honestly do believe that all 35 of these handkerchiefs have never been washed or used. They have permanent creases which 60 years can do to anyone.
Howth, the fishing village
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