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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Hankies and Bandannas

Pat Hecker makes makes beautiful art works (check out her tatoodreams blog), many of which reside in my sister's home. Among my favorites are the Kleenex cover in her bathroom. Which got me to thinking - what was life like before paper tissues ruled? When I went unprepared to a touching memorial service for a friend this week, another friend gave me four tissues. One generation ago, it would have been a hankie.

My mom always had each purse stocked with a hankie, a pen, a comb, and a pillbox. She simply moved her wallet and lipstick so that she was always prepared. Me, I have to transfer the wallet, the cell phone, three pairs of glasses (sun, distance, reading), three checkbooks (2 personal, one business), 2 sets of business cards, the cellphone extra battery since I am forever forgetting to charge it, the flashdrive, a pen, and the mini Kleenex pack, which is always open and getting cruddy from the bottom-of-the-purse litter. Comb? Lost it two decades ago.

At my mom's memorial service, I tried my best to get through my prepared remarks without bawling, but the tears came near the end anyway. So my dad hauls out his trusty (huge) red bandanna to wipe my tears away, turning my tears to laughter. The big guy's hankie.

If I was as green as I like to think I am, I would wash and iron the hankies and go stock my purse. I would pile up the bandannas for home use (instead of reserving them for napkins that look oh-so-cute with the blue speckle ware on the picnic table). I would look at my body's extra fluids as washable, not disposable. I would stop thinking of hankies as delicate reminders of a more gentle age, and think of them as the hardworking but lace covered necessities.

But then I would not need handrafted tissue box covers. Art always suffers.      

Copyright 2010,


  1. I've always known you're a great writer but this post shows the world. Plus you made me cry which in our family means it was a real hit!

  2. Oh, silly sister, it isn't the writing, it is that we are sentimentalists that really, really miss our mom!

  3. Okay, I'll settle it---YOU BOTH ROCK! Karen, you're my new fan and your sister is my best friend, (besides my husband!)

    I loved your post and know all too well the tears shed for Moms who have died. I do however believe your Mom is with my Mom and together they are watching over all of us! Someone has to! (I think they are laughing a lot as well!)

    Hankies are useful, Kleenex just more accessible. Maybe what we need are TattooDream hankies! Might we blow our noses in 'art' and shed our tears to the stamped images that beckon our need!

    Well done Karen!