Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

Why hang on to an old hanky or a scripture plaque or a piece of costume jewelry or boxes of  decades old cards and letters?   Easy answer for me...because parting with a loved one's lifetime collection of possessions is difficult when you know they were important and cherished by that loved one.  Because every piece has the potential for a glimpse into what that person held near and dear to their heart.  Because in those decades of cards and letters is a wealth of family history.

And so it goes as I continue to share my grandmother Minnie and my mother Thelma's memorabilia.  Let's reminisce a bit more about the 'Hankies' and how such a small, inexpensive and basically disposable item became a treasured possession and the inspiration for a collection. 
My grandmother and mother's hankies have been the source and inspiration for my collection and use of hankies in quilts, curtains, aprons, stories and blogging.  I started collecting hanky's long after they were considered a necessity for moping worker's sweaty brows and wiping snotty nosed kids noses. Which, by the way, contributed to the demise of the hanky and the invention of disposable tissues.  At one point in hanky history it compared to the 'Smart Phone' of today....no one would think of leaving the house without one.
Handkerchiefs have been around since ancient times, and through out time have had many uses and purposes.  I tend to covet the idea of Romancing The Hanky.  Queen Elizabeth made the hanky fashionable in court.  When she flicked her hanky over her shoulder, it meant "I'm tired of entertaining you people....you may leave...now."  Victorian women gave the hanky a flirty use by dropping their hanky at a gentleman's feet to say "I'd like to meet you".  Then she would lightly swipe her hanky across her cheek suggesting something more intimate..."I love you."

Hanky collectors often separate their hanky's into categories that reflect their era and theme.  Hanky's are an ideal collectible as they are inexpensive, useful, take up very little space to store and are pretty.  They make a nostalgic and sentimental gift for Valentines, Mother's Day and Birthday's....especially to another collector and for my Grandmother Minnie and Mother Thelma.
And that is why parting with them...'Is Such Sweet Sorrow'.


  1. My mother was a big one for handkerchiefs. She used to always get some extras at Christmas time in case someone unexpected came over so she would have a gift for them. Truly, never left home without one. My husband carries the bandana type hanky's and I must admit that he has saved me once or twice with one of those! Great idea to use them in an apron! Love that.

  2. I had some of my mother's hankies made into angels by a lady some years back. I used to just hang them on the Christmas tree, but now I leave them hanging on a knob in the dining room so I can see them more often. I too have trouble getting rid of things that are sentimental to me. I don't want to have any regrets.

  3. my father had handkerchiefs back in the day. I remember getting to iron them.


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