Spare A Square

“He produced a handkerchief—crisply folded—and handed it to her. She took it with silent astonishment. She’d never before known anyone who carried a handkerchief.”
― Cassandra Clare, City of Bones (2007)

A handkerchief. It does seem a romantic (however outdated) notion, as far being used for anything under than a natty pocket square. And should a damsel have the need for dabbing her tears, a clean handkerchief might come in hand.

However, the reality is less romantic.

“Nothing, however, bemused the Indians more than the European habit of blowing their noses into a fine handkerchief, folding it carefully, and placing it back in their pockets as if it were a treasured memento.”  ― Bill Bryson, At Home: A Short History of Private Life

Surely we can all agree on that. I believe that my grandfather carried a handkerchief on his person, but he was also known to sneeze 7 to 8 times in a row. As a child, that was one tradition we could always expect at Christmas: to count grandpa’s sneezes as he went along.

Today, as Cassandra Clare, pointed out, almost no one uses them for blow, but merely for show. We live in a disposable world full of affordable soft Kleenex; I have a box within reach right now, as well as in four other rooms in our home.

Growing up in Austin during Willie Nelson’s outlaw years, my first introduction to handkerchiefs was the classic red paisley one he wore as a bandana, and which you still often find gathered around a blue heeler’s neck in the country. But in their day, handkerchiefs were more than just a square for hygienic purposes. They also served as art.

So today, I share some images from “Handkerchiefs: Volume 2.” We start with one fit to hand a lass in need.

This one’s in French!

Some were geared toward hobbies.

Or motivation.

Animals of all kinds made the grade.

Even our amphibian friends!

The cotton served as canvas for all sorts of swinging scenes.

And some were downright detailed. This might have even served as a Father’s Day gift. Don’t forget: it’s this Sunday!

9 thoughts on “Spare A Square”

  1. Those are some fancy handkerchiefs, The only time I used them was as a pocket square. I have used big bandanas before. They are good to wrap around your head when it is hot. I have never seen any like you show. In my youth square was slang for a cigarette. Nothing fancy about those.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m old fashioned. I still carry a handkerchief so I can blow my nose or sneeze into it rather than carry a box of tissues. Are tissues recyclable after being soiled by the contents of our sinuses?

    Liked by 1 person

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