Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Handkerchief shower

We have several weddings occurring this summer and fall.
Four, to be exact, from May to October.

All are exciting and joyous occasions for families and friends to be together to celebrate the beginning of a couple's life together. We are honored to be included.

Since many of the couples have been on their own for several years and have even already purchased their own homes, it is a puzzle sometimes to think of gift ideas.

But, of course, they have solved that problem for you by registering at various department stores. All you have to do is check a store computer, print out their list, and get one of the items they have already selected, which includes everything from dishes and towels to hammers and grill tools. I can't help but think it takes some of the surprise element away, even it it is practical.

I tend to ignore these lists and get the couple something I would want for myself, or wish for as a gift for my home. Something they may not even have thought of, or something special that they wouldn't buy themselves. A lovely piece of porcelain, perhaps, or a set of cordial glasses. Maybe a relish dish and fork, something along that order.

Along with weddings come the bridal showers that precede the big event. Again, you refer to the department store computer registers. Which, as I said, I tend to ignore.

I learned something about showers held in my grandmother's day. While going through her bundles of cards and letters, tied together neatly with string, or kept in organized fashion in variety store paper bags, I came across the following invitation:

A handkerchief shower?  Really?

But, of course, in Grandma's day, women were never without handkerchiefs. From formal, hand-embroidered designs to crocheted edges to everyday stamped patterns, they wore them in their apron and dress pockets, carried them in their purses, or clutched them in their hand.

Always, always, a handkerchief. Precisely pressed, creased corners, perhaps even starched. Lace borders for special occasions, dime-store variety for everyday.

And so I can see where a handkerchief shower would be most valuable. After all, a woman would go through many of them from one washday to the next.

To me, the special part about it would be using the handkerchiefs knowing who they came from, that it was selected with care just for me, and wondering just which handkerchief I would carry today.

I, for one, would love to see this custom come back. How quaint and how special.

Think about it. Haven't we really lost something going through a department store with a computer list to see what isn't checked off? I think so.

Or perhaps I was just born in the wrong time.