When I was young, Mother used to iron cotton pillowcases, sheets and handkerchiefs – hers and Dad’s. We kids did not have handkerchiefs; I think we used our sleeves.
When I was in the third grade, my next door neighbor took a trip to Europe. Such a destination was quite exotic for my small town! Upon her return, she gave my sister and me presents from Switzerland. Opening the boxes, we found very simple, yet elegant, white linen handkerchiefs with our names delicately embroidered in rich blue thread.
Of course, I never used my Swiss handkerchief. It was far too precious for something as gross as blowing my nose! Instead I tucked it away in my dresser drawer, one of my first treasures that promised places I’d one day visit.
Fifty years later, through countless moves and life’s many twists and turns, I still keep that handkerchief nestled in my dresser drawer. Seeing it transports me, for a fleeting moment, back to that child whose world had just been broadened by a kindly neighbor.