Friday, November 27, 2009

A Piece of Cloth

"Do you have a hankie?" Mom asked. Wow, we don't say that any more, do we? Now we carry a kleenex that usually is forgotten and found later in wet pieces of clothing in the washer.

A handkerchief was important back then. Every man and woman carried one. Aunt Welma tatted around edges hers; Mom crocheted. Each were pieces of artwork. Many were given as gifts.

I remember Mom and Dad tying a few coins in the corner of a hankie, so I wouldn't lose my lunch money or money for the offering plate at Sunday school. Sometimes I would sneak a finger into the knotted part and make a puppet out of the cloth. Hankies became bonnets and diapers for my dolls. Handkerchiefs.

Dad carried huge hankies that his daughters sometimes used as head bands or scarves. We could become a pirate with a red bandana or a lovely peasant girl covering her curls.

The number of hankies I ironed on Neff Road would be staggering. Yet they were the best part of the piles of articles we iron back then. The crisp, freshly-ironed smell of a handkerchief was memorable. A smell of home.

I carried a lace edge hankie when I was married at Painter Creek Church. I'm not sure where it was tucked, but it came in handy on that sweltering hot day. A handkerchief held tears of happiness and those of pain. It became a puppet for a little one when the time sitting on a pew became intolerable. It held coins, it wiped noses, it dried tears and held a memory of the woman who edged it.

I miss the day of the handkerchief, the tender touch of loving parent tending to their little girl. I think we've lost something when hankies became obsolete. Something that brought home a simple loving touch.

1 comment:

LJL said...

Mother used to fold and roll hers in such a way that there were two babies lying in a hammock. When I was very small, I thought that was great.