Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hankies

We are the Kleenex generation; I suspect that most of us have never carried a hankie in our purse or pocket unless it was as an added frill for an outfit we were wearing. But, my grandma always had a hankie in her pocket. She'd often wear an apron with large pockets, and tucked in there or up her sweater sleeve, was a dainty hankie. Lace, embroidery, printed hearts or flowers, cotton, or linen --- each hankie was unique. Some were even an impractical satin or silk. Since grandmother was an invalid and could not walk, sister and I would spend quiet times at grandma's house, entertaining ourselves with what was on hand. A favorite activity was to go through grandma's hankie box that sat on a table in her bedroom. Each hankie was clean and pressed. And each fold was ironed in a sharp crease. Most of the hankies were folded into fourths, but some were in sections of six. When grandma died, sister and I were allowed to choose a few things to remember grandma by. I chose some of grandma's hankies and treasure them to this day. One of them, a very delicate, cream colored hankie was trimmed with wide ecru lace. I especially loved this hankie because it was so old-fashioned. On my wedding day it was tucked into my wedding bouquet --- the 'something old' in remembrance of grandma.

These days hankies are still valued, not for their function, but for their form and beauty. Just seeing one carries us back to days gone by. They may not be tucked up a sweater sleeve or in a purse pocket to wipe away a tear or sniffle, but they are cheerfully used for curtain valences, quilt blocks, tea napkins, pockets on an apron, or centerpiece doilies. The possibilities are endless. Some things we hold dear and wish not to forget. Those memories are reinforced by viewing the cherished object in a new ways.


Do you have a hankie collection? How do you store it or use it? I'd love to know!

Photo: the beautiful Elm Street kitchen.

18 comments:

  1. Hi LaTeaDah,
    I have a hankie in my purse and in every pocket of my walking jackets and walking pants. I use my hankie most often in church services where I find myself tearing up more these days then in days gone by :0)

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  2. This post took me back to my grandmother's hankies as well. She always had one. I have never carried one, but when I get a chance, I will look for a couple or a little box of three--as I remember. I will also have to add that to my post titled 'Pack Your Own Purse!'
    Thanks for the sharing the memories and taking me back to the simpler days.
    www.blessed2bless.blogspot.com

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  3. I love hankies - for display. I don't enjoy ironing them after each use. My dear mother carries hankies with her all the time. She does use Kleenex at home much for she always has a hankie in public and often at home, too. ~Adrienne~

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  4. Yes, you've reminded me that I do have a hankie collection and your photo provides me with a wonderful idea... Tucked up a sleeve was the way my grandmother carried her hankie, too, but my second grade teacher tucked hers in her bosom. I found that fascinating!

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  6. I had forgotten! Mama had a hankie collection that she retrieved from a very elegant aunt after she died - the hankies were headed to the trash can. They are in a varnished wooden box. On the inside of the lid is an advertisement for tomatoes. I'll go crazy til I find it......

    Ruth Ann
    http://www.raggbaggs.blogspot.com

    6

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  7. Love your hanky post. What a lovely tribute to your Granny to carry one of her hankies in your wedding bouquet.

    There was a distant cousin who visited next door with her sister over teh summers when I was growing up. Cousin Lilly always had a wonderful frilly hanky tucked in her bracelet. Then the one she used was tucked up her sleeve under her wrist.

    As a child someone always gave me one for birthday, Christmas and other holidays. I have a collection. I store them in a drawer. I juse kleenex but when I'm going out to lunch with friends, church, weddings, etc I carry on in my purse.

    They were so much of growing up in the south when I was kid.

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  8. darling post and so glad you have these small remembrances of your grandma. i like to use beautiful vintage hankies to make tussie mussies for my friends and family! when hubby and i visit antique/thrift stores i always get lost looking through the linens searching for hankies!lol hugs from leslie

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  9. I still use a hankie. I need to wash a bunch because they have black mascara stains on them from crying in church! I think it is a crime to sew them into quilts.
    Go green, use a hankie!

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  10. I have hankies...I LOVE them...and once in awhile will use them...but I know of someone who crafts with them..will have to find the link and email you it.
    Deby

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  11. Now that was fast---here ya go:
    http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5370575

    Her name is Leslie Jansen

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  12. I had a hankie collection, but I think Jill took it. I will have to check. I have acquired a few since then including a beautiful linen one with handmade lace trim from the island of Burano in Italy.

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  13. Anonymous6:25 AM

    I, too, have a few of my Grandma's hankies because I was always fascinated with them and no one else wanted them. They bring back sweet memories of her. On another note, I wonder how many men still carry handerkerchiefs? I think it a rather gallant tradition and many are the times that my husband's rescued a minor emergency of the childish sort. My grown daughters have fond rememberances of Dad's ever- available "hankie" comforting skninned knees and wiping away tears.

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  14. Great use of hankies. Chloe treasures hers. Clarice

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  15. What a lovely reminder!! Thank you! As a little girl, I always had a cotton hankie in my purse. As I became a teenager, Kleenex was the thing. Since I teach piano lessons out of my home (27 students), I have Kleenex, bacterial soap, hand lotion for the kids, and I DO use the "paper" guest towels in the bathroom. However, one gift to both my mom, my dad, and myself on my wedding day was a handkerchief! And, I now have resurrected my love of carrying cotton hankys of all sorts. I also borrow my mom's occassionally out of one of the drawers in her sewing chest. Thanks for a wonderful Valentine Day rememberance!!

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  16. I hankies from some of those collections I referred to above. My husband still carries a handkerchief and sometimes they are hard to find!!

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  17. At 26, I'm trying to bring the hankie back....even if for environmental reasons. Why should we use a multitude of Kleenex when we can borrow from a previous generation and use a hankie instead? In this cold winter months of running noses, it's great to keep one in each of my coat pockets.

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  18. I remember receiving hankies for presents from an aunt. Sometimes they were used to wrap as dresses around small dolls. This past year I stuck a kleenex in my sleeve and a young woman asked what I was doing. She had never ever heard of anyone doing such a thing. I felt old. LOL

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