When I got married (in Sri Lanka), I had reached the wedding venue before I realized that I didn't have a handkerchief with me. It was a hot afternoon, there was a power cut, and I was perspiring in a manner that was most unbecoming for a bride! LOL! Disposable facial tissues were a luxury, in that place and time, and everyone used cloth handkerchiefs.
My mother's cousin was with me in the room, at the time. Due to our custom of leaving for a wedding at an auspicious time, I had to leave the house several hours before the actual ceremony and wait in a room at the house where the marriage took place; my mother's cousin was keeping me company. She had been like a younger sister to my mother and I addressed her by our term for ones mother's younger sister, "punchi amma" which means "little mother". In return, she called me, "daughter". When she realized I didn't have a handkerchief, she pulled out hers from her handbag and gave it to me. It was a pale blue handkerchief and we joked about it being "something borrowed and something blue". I carried that handkerchief in my hand throughout the wedding ceremony (and used it, too!) Afterwards, I just kept the handkerchief, as my mother's cousin said I could keep it.
I keep the blue handkerchief in one of my dresser drawers, along with two others:
The other handkerchief was my mother's. How many times had she used one of her handkerchiefs to wipe my face when I was a child?
I don't use them, now. They stay in my drawer. Why am I keeping them? Do they "spark joy"? Yes. Not the items, themselves, of course, but what they stand for. To anyone else, they are just handkerchiefs, pieces of fabric. To me, they are a little more than that. They are mementos of people whom I loved and who loved and cared for me. I was blessed to have them in my life - my mother, my stepfather, my "little mother"; I am grateful for their love and caring. When I sorted out the drawer, I put the handkerchiefs back in there. They survived another decluttering! Plus, if ever my daughter wants "something borrowed, something blue", I'm ready!
If they are precious to you, you should keep them. In all of my tossing, there are things that no one else would care about, yet I keep them because they are special to me.ReplyDelete
Yes; maybe, one day, I might not feel the need to keep them, but for now, I will continue to keep them. :)Delete
I really like your mom's handkerchief. Are those embroidered flowers?
I still use cloth handkerchiefs. :)
Yes, Nil, machine embroidered flowers. Each of the other three corners has a tiny flower, embroidered, too. One could do a hand-embroidered design, too. Cloth hankies are better, overall, I think, as one can wash and reuse them. I've kind of got out of the habit of using them, myself, but, maybe it is time to make myself some!Delete
We all have our special memories and things that help us remember. My father, too, used a big handkerchief all of the time. However, I don't feel any need to keep his. However, his lunchbox, that's a whole different story.ReplyDelete
Also, I find it interesting that you had a word for one's mother's younger sister. As you know, we don't have anything like that. Languages are fascinating.
I don't have any personal belongings of my father, anymore.Delete
Yes, we do have specific terms of address for certain relatives, which describe the relationship. There are specific terms for mother's older sisters and mother's younger sisters; for father's older brothers and father's younger brothers. But, all of mother's brothers have one term and that is also the term we use as the generic term for uncle. In the same way, there is one term for all of father's sisters, and that is the term we use as generic for aunt, and, with the word for mother added, is used as mother-in-law.
What a lovely story. Those are exactly the items that you need to hold onto because of the memories associated with them. They take up so little room, why would you not hold on to them? Besides that, they also serve a practical purpose should you ever go back to using a cloth handkerchief.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Susan. Yes, these items take very little room. And, I could always use them, if needed!Delete
Lovely post ... one of my fondest memories is of my grandmother and her many, many handkerchiefs. I would definitely keep them. I always wanted to do something with the ones I have, like make a pillow or frame them or something, so they weren’t just in the drawer.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Chris. I have often thought about framing my mother's handkerchief, or using it as a background for a shadow box, with some of her things. If you have enough handkerchiefs, you could incorporate them into a quilt top, or, make a runner for your dresser, perhaps. They used to call them "dresser scarves". Or, if you do a search for vintage handkerchief crafts, you'll find lots of ideas, from pin cushions to wreaths to bunting and more!Delete
The handkerchiefs are all lovely keepsakes. You could always turn them into lavender bags for your drawers if you wanted to find a use for them, but I do love the idea of keeping the blue one for your daughter. XReplyDelete
Jules, that is a great idea - to make lavender bags! Thank you! I am not at all sure if my daughter will consent to carry a handkerchief, but, I might keep my mother's one for my use!Delete
I still have a couple of embroidered handkerchiefs and also one with crocheted lace, made by DH's grandmother, and they are tucked away somewhere. DH still uses cloth handkerchiefs and some of them seem to get used as oil rags as they are hard to keep white. Maybe he wipes down the chainsaw with them! DS thinks cloth handkerchiefs are disgusting anyway!ReplyDelete
Well, I guess handkerchiefs do come in handy when one has to wipe something quickly! I guess handkerchiefs aren't the most sanitary things to carry around in a pocket. Maybe they'll go the same way as cuff links! I have the ones my step-father used and he used them just about every day!Delete
I love cloth hankies. I have one which was my father's and is embroidered with S (for Stanley) It has become very soft with many years of washing and if I have a heavy cold, I find it SO gentle on my nose. Much joy sparked, it's a keeper!ReplyDelete
Yes, those old hankies are the softest and the best, especially if one has a cold! I'm glad you have your father's handkerchief. :)Delete