Cottage Violets

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Little Squares of Heaven

We live in a disposable world. No one, that I know of, darns socks anymore. Do you use cloth napkins at your dinner table? Hmmmm, I thought not. For that matter, is there china in your picnic basket? Well, I seem to have wandered far afield from the subject I was pondering.

Last night I was going through my hankie stash. I have a nice collection of around three dozen hankies, some of which are for sale at Cottage Violets. I love to look at them and weave stories about them. I tend to set aside the baser use of these little bits of fluff. Men's handkerchiefs are reserved for nose blowing and other unmentionable practices, lol. In the movies, women's hankies were reserved for flirting and grieving. Example, son stays out late with questionable company, and moms sits up waiting, wringing handkerchief between fidgeting fingers. Or, there is the classic girl wants fellas attention, so she walks by and nonchalantly drops her hankie in his path. Hankies were also used as pretty props. How many times have you seen a waitress with her hankie tucked in her sleeve or under her wristwatch. No doubt about it, hankies were and still are eye candy. They draw the eye to the area one is trying to accentuate. If I think of one pinned to the chest with a pretty brooch, it is always a teacher or librarian I am thinking of. If the hankie is tucked up a sleeve or held firmly under one's wristwatch it is always a waitress or some one's long suffering grandmother. If I see a hankie falling to the ground, I am reminded of : 1. A siren going after the innocent unprepared gent. 2. The innocent unprepared belle trying to get a man's attention. Now hankies are consigned to drawers, made into pillows, and "repurposed" into any number of handicrafts. Mine sit in a tissue lined box waiting to go to other homes, or hoping I will once again open the box and weave love stories around their existence. Speaking of love stories, I have tender memories of going to church as a small girl holding in my hand a little handkerchief with a nickel for the offering tied firmly in its depths. What better love story could there be? There is something so lovely about that memory, that I cannot think about handkerchiefs without it bubbling to the surface of my thoughts. When I look at my little stash I think how many dimes, nickels, pennies, were tied lovingly in the depths of these hankies. How many mothers, aunts, grandmothers, and big sisters took the time to prepare a little offering, all tied up in a bit of fluff. Next time you see a hankie think of the path it followed. It is definitely more than just a little square of pretty cloth. It might have held precious tears, started a life long relationship, or held a dime or nickel for an offering that changed some one's life.

In his holy flirtation with the world,

God occasionally drops a handkerchief.

These handkerchiefs are called saints.

Frederick Beuchner

Have a beautiful blessed day,



The Muse said...

i too have so many memories...of my aunts and my nana...with their squares of heart...some perfumed, some starched....

some detailed exquisitely...some utilitarian and unadorned...

re-purposing these life pieces, as you have written about dear Theresa...seems to give them much less than what life once had for them...

i was swept away by your post, to a world, not of today...but one of time age where heaven could indeed be found in a simple linen square.


Greyhaven Pines said...

Actually, we *do* use cloth napkins everyday but the one hankie I have only comes out with my valentine stash -- it's a sweet vintage one adorned with kittens and valentines. It's such a delicate balance to try to navigate between convenience and the loss of beauty (& so much civility) in the modern world.

Warm wishes,


The Muse said...

Happy Valentine's Day, my friend!

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

My little Mama and my Aunties always had beautiful hankies in their purses. I just can not part with the ones I have.
I remember the days of hats and gloves and always getting dressed for church. Sigh.


The Muse said...

Thinking of you!

violetlady said...

I have a small collection of vintage hankies tucked away in a drawer. Every so often I take them out and marvel at the charm of them. When I was a little girl, the standard gift to my Nana was a hanky given in a square flat hanky box.

The Muse said...

Sending you more love and warm thoughts than you can imagine :)
Delighted to "hear" your presence!
Although, not so happy to hear you were depressed. I think we all get the way, sometime, if truth be told.

So, what are you up to of late???
What plans await you for this spring? :)


Barbara C's Blog said...

I have darned socks and carry a pretty hanky in my purse. But I believe in getting back to the simpler way of life.

nevalia said...

nice blog

JDayMinis said...

I found a beautiful collection of hankies at an estate sale when I was young and fell in love with vintage right on the spot, lol. I have since collected so many more, I use them too since they are very environmental. Lovely for decorating too. Thanks for the lovely tribute to hankies.