Grandma Gertie always said there's not a savory dish that can't be made tastier by just a touch of tarragon.

Tsunami and Me

Tsunami and Me
too big to escape now....

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mama Hankered for Hankies

Or did she? There's no doubt that Mama always had a fresh handkerchief or two tucked into her purse...and nearly a whole drawer full in her bedroom. She carried them with her always, even after Kleenex became so popular when it was marketed as a substitute for hankies back in the '40s. In fact I don't recall seeing a box of tissues in the house when I was growing up. No, indeed. Ladies carried handkerchiefs, Mama used to insist.

Now I wonder if she really were all that fond of them, or if she just pretended to be because in those days they were still relatively inexpensive, something affordable for a youngster who made her spending money for gifts for Christmas and birthdays through babysitting, and waitressing at Owl Drug Store's lunch counter.

Because no matter what the occasion...even after I became an adult and could afford more elaborate gifts, Mama always claimed that's what she wanted.

"Just get me a card and a hankie," she'd say with a sweet smile. I don't know why I continued to ask, already knowing what she'd answer.

In later years I began to purchase other gifts, mostly her favorite cologne, Emeraude. But I still tucked a hankie into the card. I remember the last one I bought for her. It was in 1983, my first trip to Paris, and I had found a D. Porthault hankie embroidered with the Eiffel Tower.

"Just what I wanted," she exclaimed, eyes lighting up. "How did you ever guess?"

Because it was always what she wanted. Or at least claimed to.

Last month in Paris, I lingered at the handkerchief counter at Galleries Lafayette. I wished I could present Mama with a frilly feminine square tomorrow for Mother's Day. RIP, Luella Alma Burgess French, 7/2/1913 to 1/1/1987.



  1. My mother had handkerchiefs also. Loved this!

  2. Oh Terri, this almost made me weep. My grandmother always sent me a card with a hanky when I was young. Great memories.