Moreidlethoughts Weblog

humour,art,gardens, books and whatever idle thoughts float through my mind (it's a very draughty mind.)



It has been so long since I’ve managed to get something on “Illustration Friday” I have forgotten how to do it.

No, really, I had to go back to the IF site and read the instructions again!

Today’s entry is a reminder of a time when people carried handkerchiefs and a common practice was to tie a knot in one corner as a reminder. Having an excellent memory as a child, I was never sure why or how that knot thing worked. What if you had to remember lots of things? Worse – what if your hanky was multi- knotted and a sneeze came tickling down your nose!

My handkerchiefs were made by my paternal grandma. Pretty little things, they were, with flowers embroidered in one corner and a delicate border of crochet or, for “special” ones, needle lace. In a time where air travel was still a relatively new phenomenon and very costly, such packages would be sent by sea, taking weeks to travel the 12,000 miles. And, therefore, generating much excitement on arrival. And not just from us kids!

The string would be untied and saved, as would the stiff, brown paper. Stamps, too, would be removed carefully and given to whichever child was into philately.

Sometimes, there might be a small book included.

Grandma sent me, in series, the “Flower Fairies” of Cicely Mary Barker.

Even domestic mail was a source of delight. And Oh! the Christmas parcels! The Post Office boy would knock at the door with a telegram, advising us to “meet 3.10 bus.parcel on board.”
Sorry, what did you say? You don’t know what a telegram is?

No, you probably don’t if you’re under 50!

Today, my memory is sometimes a “bit of a worry.” Senior moments, perhaps? More probably, I’m simply trying to do too much! Well, that’s my excuse an’ I’m stickin’ to it!

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Author: dinahmow

A New Zealander, currently living in tropical Queensland,Australia (with 2 cats and one Main Man).Old enough to remember George VI, white tennis balls and life-before-television.You want more? Read the blog!

20 thoughts on “" FORGOTTEN."

  1. Hey, I hear that excuse! I have stacks of ‘lists’ on my desk (where’s a knotted handkerchief when I need one?! or thirty?) because they all just fall out of my brain otherwise…

    Things have certainly changed, haven’t they?


  2. when I was a child and ironing was a novelty I was allowed to iron the hankies!


  3. My Grandpa snuffed tabackee up his schnozz and his Hankies were so gross!

    My favorite words of wisdom regarding string come from Woody Allen’s movie Zelig…

    “On his deathbed, Morris Zelig tells his son that life is a meaningless nightmare of suffering and his only advice is to save string.”

    I love that line.


  4. What a great trip down memory lane amongst the forgotten hankies and telegrams.


  5. I love this post! I do remember telegrams and hankies (my grandmother ALWAYS had one stuffed in the busom of her housedress). And scented letters we girls used to send each other through the summer months. Lovely to reminisce with you. See, I’m over 50.


  6. tara…seems all bloggers are singing from the same hymn sheet!

    ziggi…me too!And it went downhill from there!

    donn… that might be a little TMI !


  7. caroline and kate…thankyou. I proved to be a bit of a floodgate for me!


  8. great post! Hey, I’m under 50 and I remember my mom received a telegram from Sweden once. Thought it was the coolest thing, right out of a black and white movie.

    My dad used hankies all the time, I used to watch my mom put them in the washing machine with my clothes and was always worried that my clothes would be covered in snot afterwards (I wasn’t too bright).


  9. ellen…I worried about that, too, but Mother said she always soaked them separately before adding them to the wash.All the same…


  10. This was a lovely post. Ah, telegrams – I haven’t thought of those for a long while. How quickly things change.

    Hankies were always treated so carefully – I remember once using my sleeve to avoid dirtying my lovely linen hankerchief. I still have some – embroidered with my initial.


  11. People who try to do too much always forget at least half of it! I see the same problem with my boss – she’s only about 40, but with the worst memory and the biggest “to-do” list I’ve ever seen! 🙂


  12. kate…thankyou.I no longer hanve any of the old handkerchiefs;the last few were stitched into a patchwork cushion.

    stace…ah, yes, the people with more to-do lists than time to ‘do’ them!


  13. string is a very useful thing
    rope is thicker
    but string is quicker

    spike (I think?)


  14. ziggi…yes,it was me old china, Spike.


  15. i remember the lovely blue embroidered handkercheif my ex-mother in law gave me to carry when I married her son. this was a woman with whom i still have a very, very problematic relationship…she wants very much to like me, but i’m just too darned trashy for the likes of her.

    I blew my nose on it.
    really, it was unintentional.


  16. oh yes, doing tooooooooo much. What a trip down memory lane and so much fun, I still have some of those lace hanky’s and a fairie book.

    ziggi, I still love ironing hankies 🙂


  17. fn…oops! I suppose she didn’t want it returned after that?

    jafabrit…now, see, you could have more time for art if you didn’t spend your day dashing away with a smoothing iron!

    (And completely unrelated, can you remember the words to that Geordie song about the lad who lost his marble “oop the cundie”?)


  18. I adored this post! Memory, Ugh! Don’t get me started on that. Mine started going about 7 years ago. At first it was alarming and now it’s just frustrating. I agree it’s because we’re trying to do too much multi-tasking and you add it all those creative ideas and it’s just hopeless. I’ve learned to relax and laugh it off and have many little tricks to help me remember (though none involve knots in hankies). Do you mean there are no more telegraphs? I guess they wouldn’t be needed now with email, would they!


  19. jana…I suppose you must be able to send some sort of telegraphic communication, because the “singing telegram” is still alive.But now that most people have ‘phone fax or email I suppose even that will fade. To think, it’s only 40 odd years ago that international communication was, in several countries, still by radio. And that’s a whole new post!(If I can remember enough!)


  20. what a lovely soothing read

    reminding me of all sorts of things

    Flower Fairy books and prety hankies, thing I associated with my Great Aunt Nance

    thank you 🙂


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