Life Advice



Have My Hankie

Annie Lane on

Dear Readers: A number of you wrote in with very touching stories about your loved ones and handkerchiefs. I'm printing a few so they bring you some comfort.

Dear Annie: I've been smiling at the letters you've received on this subject, because they reminded me that that's how my mother taught me to iron as a kid, ironing my dad's handkerchiefs.

Well, not much gets ironed these days, but 10 years ago when I lost my husband to cancer, I was cleaning out his dresser and tossing his old, worn handkerchiefs when I came upon an unopened package of new ones.

Something made me think to just save them, not give them away or toss them.

They might come in handy if I had a bad cold and ran out of tissues -- that was my thinking.

Well, here we are today in a pandemic, and those brand-new handkerchiefs sure make good face masks, and they don't cost $12.95 apiece, either! With a couple of rubber bands, they work very well. -- Staying Safe in NY


Dear Annie: I have a story about the handkerchief. My dearest, loving husband was 85 years old when he passed away last December. He was the ultimate gentleman. We were together 40 blessed and happy years. He said his father taught him to always carry two handkerchiefs: one for himself and one for his lady. He never failed to do it. I hold this memory close to my heart and smile when I think of it. -- Loved in Louisville

Dear Annie: With regard to handkerchiefs, all his life, my father carried handkerchiefs. He would continue using the same ones over and over again, with frequent washings, of course, until they were thin enough to read through. The family relied on Mom, until her death, to sneak the most embarrassing ones into the trash bin.

For birthdays or Christmases, someone in the family would invariably give Dad a fresh pack of handkerchiefs. After Dad died, my brother and I found pack after pack of unopened new handkerchiefs in his dresser drawer. We had a good laugh and cry. A child of the Depression, Dad just couldn't bring himself to throw out perfectly serviceable handkerchiefs no matter how stained, tattered or transparent they became. -- Loving Son

And now for a change of subject.


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