Valentine’s Day

Note: I met my husband Alan two days before Valentine’s Day in 2003, so this holiday has become special to me. I have written a short essay about an earlier tradition on Valentine’s Day in the essay below.

Heart Handkerchiefs: An Old-Fashioned Idea that Needs a Second Look


Every morning my mother would wrap the coins for my lunch money in one of her pretty cotton handkerchiefs, tying the opposite corners and making a soft knot that I could untie to pay for my lunch. I loved her lace-trimmed and crocheted-edged hankies, especially those embroidered with her initial B in calligraphy. I carry that memory with me every time I place a cotton handkerchief in my pocket or purse.

Unfortunately, women’s hankies are somewhat difficult to find in department stores or big box stores. The cotton hanky seems to be a dinosaur in America, although they were readily available when I went to Italy and found them in specialty stores that carried lovely linens. They are also online from eBay. (Picture above is one from eBay.)

When I pulled out my hanky at my older daughter’s, she made a funny face and commented how unsanitary a handkerchief is. I said, “I am using it only on my nose and placing it in the laundry when I get home.” She still wrinkled her nose, so I was vindicated when my sister-in-law pulled out her hanky on my last visit to see her. And when I told my younger daughter I wanted cotton hankies for my birthday, she found them online and sent them to me as a gift. No wrinkled nose there!

I am not sure why men’s handkerchiefs are still readily available and not women’s. Then I saw a short article on the last page of Martha Stewart’s Living Magazine that, in the 1930s and 1940s, sweethearts bought and mailed their sweeties heart-covered handkerchiefs for Valentine’s Day. What a nice idea!

So, I say, bring back handkerchiefs for women, starting with Valentine’s Day!♥ 

0This cat named Bunny belongs to my daughter and daughter-in-law. The red bow is especially for Valentine’s Day. 

P.S. If you don’t have a sweetheart, share this day with someone your love, like your pet, a family member, a colleague, or someone you’d like to know better. It’s all about LOVE.


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