Friday, January 18, 2013

First on the Block

Norm loved electronics, built our first hi-fi record player from a Heath kit.  Brought home the first hand-held transistor radio my friends and I had ever seen. (We all agreed it’d be great to keep in a fallout shelter – people were actually building those in suburban back yards in the 1950s.)  Our house was the first one with a VCR too.
And a generation before that, my father had the same love for anything new.  I remember when he brought home a box of  something called Kleenex, "The handkerchief you can throw away!"  I was in the kitchen in the house in Malden, so it must have been no later than 1936.   Still during the Depression, in the days when if we got hold of a one-cent stick of gum, my sister and I would tear it in half and share it.
Those paper handkerchiefs were an exciting idea, but we could see they were a wasteful two-ply.  How carefully we pulled that first one apart to make two out of it! Nor did another expensive box show up in our house for many years.  We used cotton handkerchiefs.
          Whatever became of ladies’ handkerchiefs?  They used to be  quite an art form.   And in an emergency you could get away with not ironing one, if you plastered it up to dry on the outside of the hot water tank that sat in the kitchen next to the cast-iron stove.



  1. Well, I know what became of my grandmother's and my mother's handkerchiefs, because I inherited the entire combined stash (being the only grandchild/child who had an interest). I'm making a point of using them, to cut down on our use of that "something called Kleenex" for environmental reasons.

    And since we didn't have a hot water tank in the kitchen, my mother taught me to press hankies by plastering them on the bathroom mirror. Worked fine and didn't even leave spots on the mirror.

  2. I always used to use a window.