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Childhood Memories of Handkerchiefs

Author Photo
By Capper's Staff | Mar 26, 2013

In my early grade school days, and even sometimes when teaching in the ’20s, youngsters came to school with NEVER a handkerchief or even a rag.

The girls wiped their noses on their skirt-tails and the boy wiped theirs on their shirt sleeves!

As young ladies, a fine linen handkerchief was the final touch to our attire as we prepared to “step out” with our “beaus” …or to go to church.

Handkerchiefs were always white. We could buy regular handkerchief linen by the yard. A yard would make nine. They could be hand hemstitched or roll stitched, all embroidered and with either crocheted or tatted lace edging. 50 elegant!

Ready made handkerchiefs could be purchased for five or ten cents – up to 25 cents for a real nice linen one.

For everyday use men and boys carried huge red or blue figured handkerchiefs – used nowadays for headgear, neck scarves, decorations of all kinds – everything except to blow your nose on.

During the Depression we even made everyday men’s handkerchiefs out of salt sacks, the tails of old white shirts (when we didn’t have so much as a dime or a nickel to buy them) and a soft old undershirt tail was just the thing to take to bed with you if you had a bad cold!

Now days Kleenex solves all our “nose” problems.

Muriel Razor
Wadesville, Indiana
(Editor’s Note: Mrs. Razor passed away in January, 1993. Her letter was submitted in her memory by Myron D. Razor.)

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.

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