Last night I did a batch of ironing which included handkerchiefs for both my husband and me. I learned to iron on hankies for my dad and mom and have used them myself all my life. I find gorgeous linen ones at thrift stores, probably donated when a grandma dies and her things are cleaned out.
Why do I love and use cloth hankies?
1. They are softer on noses than paper tissues.
2. They do not shred and fall apart when wet, or put dust in my eyes when dry.
3. They dry and can be used again.
4. They can be dampened and used to wash things, especially children's hands and faces.
5. They can be used as a container for small items (tied).
6. They can be made into a "rocking baby" to entertain children in church.
7. They are pretty.
8. They are romantic.
9. They can become heirlooms.
10. They remind me of my mother and grandmothers.
Other objects found in my home, foreign to many, are tablecloths and cloth napkins. During my high school years my mother went on an economy kick and had me make white cloth napkins for our family to use. Years later when everyone was grown she gave me those same napkins to wear out with my family. When I married and began our family I continued the tradition of cloth table coverings and cloth napkins. I have dozens of napkins; everyday ones in woven cottons and fancy linen ones for special occasions.
I'm always amazed, though I shouldn't be, that people don't know how to use a cloth napkin. One little visitor to our home didn't even know what it was. Oh well, my children know, and they're the only ones I'm responsible for.
Why do I love and use cloth napkins?
1. They absorb and protect better.
2. They can be reused; I bought napkins rings for that purpose.
3. They are cheaper in the long run.
4. Ummm, well, I just like them!
Now, these two objects require ironing (or look better when ironed) and that is one reason more people don't use them. I enjoy ironing. For me it is relaxing because of it's mindless nature and I can justify watching a movie while I do it.
I love the old-fashioned, genteel feeling of using both handkerchiefs and cloth napkins. Wiping away a tear with a lace trimmed hanky just feels more romantic than a paper tissue. Try it sometime!