Sunday, January 24, 2010


I have one day left before I go back to work. Well officially I have 3 days left but my new position is beckoning and my new office looks like a tornedo has willied its way through - so I need to return a little sooner. I wonder what I have done with all my time off. I could write a list to justify it all but that would be ......justifying it all.

Anyway what should I do on my last day?? Now I could really write a list. Just a bit of everything.

(Think of a 1940s  film, probably starring Grace Kelly, and Gary Cooper has left her for another (much uglier) woman and she is waiting for a ,taxi to take her to the airport to fly off to some unknown destination, she wistfully walks through the apartment, momentarilarily and delicately removing one glove to touch  a momento fleetingly, longingly).

My momentos will be the garden, the washing machine and the vaccuum cleaner but the Gary Cooper fantasy will definitely help. And the gloved hand of Grace Kelly... a diferent era.  It reminds me... when I was 'cleaning for my cleaner' I came across a hoard of handkerchiefs I forgot I owned.  They were under the table that  the phone sits on. The table is covered with a red lace tablecloth to hide the phone books, a gaggle of scrabble boxes and a tin of photographs and this collection of handkerchiefs.

I remember when I got them.  Years ago we bought a chest of drawers at a clearance sale in Bega. Louis was about 3 or 4 at the time... so about 15 years ago. After we got the drawers home and started cleaning them to put in the boys room, one of the drawers revealed this hidden treasure....boxes of ladies handkerchiefs. Beautiful lace work and embroidery on linen and cotton and delicately folded and pinned to form patterns in their boxes.  Two on them still had their cards, showing they were gifts, which I suspect they all were, to be so kept and unused. As you can see from the photos the boxes are just as beautiful as the handdkerchiefs themselves.  I particularly love the dogs even though the box is worn and nibbled away.

I wondered what I should do with them. Using them in my BookArtObject piece was a definite option but I've already found some green curtain material for the book bags I want to make.  And I just can't bring myself to unpin them and take them from their boxes. They seem so pretty and perfect and, girlie (the feminists are now rolling their eyes and muttering thing like 'symbols of passivity' and 'feminine submissiveness') and hark back to a time when I used hankies.

Remember never ever going to school without you hankie neatly ironed and folded into triangles.  and on tuckshop days having your 15 cents tied into the corner for safe keeping.  Remember that embarrassing father at the sports carnival with the handkerchief hat. What about the the kid in 3rd grade who constantly had a blood stained one tied around his knee.

I am remembering another hankie.

........I had to go and look long and hard for this one.  On my 8th birthday I remember skipping into my dads office after work. 

Dad was an auctioneer in Bega from the age of 14 until he died at 75.  He loved being an auctioneer (he always referred to his business as 'stock and station agent' ) because he loved farmers.  He was a bit of a character himself and told typical yarns about cockies but not as wild or funny as the stories that some of the men told. One of my big regrets in life is not writing down his stories before he died although most of them were not for my or my sister's ears as he considered anything crude to be inappropriate for his daugters to hear.  He was also fiercely loyal to his clients and would  not like us to see him laughing at them even if it was in good spirit.  But, of course, we would often overhear stories and antecdotes.

Anyway back to the hankie.  One of the real larikins who was quiet often on the seats at the front of my fathers offices was a man called Garnie Healy (affectionately know as Garn by most).  Garn was always an old man to me but I can vaguely remembering him marrying a women called Dorrie.  She managed to catch him quite late in life for both of them.   Garnie was often a character in the stories we overheard.  I think Dorrie used to get very upset about his excessive drinking and was a bith of a shrew when it came to dishing out the retributions.

Back to the hankie. This afternoon, of my 8th birthday, I popped into the office on my way home from school and Garn was there talking to dad about cattle stuff - prices and rain no doubt.  We didn't usually hang around to talk to the men but vanished 'out the back' to play on ancient typewriters and adding machines and stamp pads but this day dad stopped me and told Garn it was my birthday.  I don't remember it being particularly important at the time because Garn was just someone we knew from the office. I'm sure he wished me a happy birthday and I said thankyou and went on my way.  But the next evening when dad came home from work he had a card from Garn for me.  Inside the card was  crisp white linen and lace handkerchief. Never before had Garn bought us kids gift and at the time I think my father was more touched by the gesture than i was.   But I do remember thinking the handkerchief was very beautiful.

I don't remember know how I came across the photo of Garn that is now part of the hankie/card memorabilia but a one pound note was sent from my Auntie in England for the same birthday.  Both real treasures.

So that is my hankie story.  Will have do something with them to save them from the moths.


  1. Oh! Pretty hankies! What memories you've stirred here. A darling old chap called Albie used to send me a card, with slot cut to tuck a handkerchief in, every birthday from my birth til he died when I was 10 0r 11.I always kept his gifts in a "special" box.No, I no longer have them, just the memories.
    Thanks, Ida. Here's another reminder

  2. Greetings,

    I miss when women knew how to be a woman and that femininity was something to be proud of.

    There is nothing wrong with a woman being independent, strong and with a mind of her own, having an equal voice and equal rights, for that is how we raised out daughter.

    But unfortunately the feminist revolution came at a cost and most woman have are unable to balance freedom and independence with femininity.

    However it is not all their fault, most men have forgotten to be gentleman.

    Wishing you a great start to the week,

  3. mmmmmmmm......don't know about that Egmont!

  4. I have a stash of vintage hankies too, lacy ones and hand painted ones. I've been wondering how to incorporate them into a book but that's way on the back burner.