When I was a 7 year old little girl, my parents and I lived in Bonn which at this time was the capital of Germany. We lived in a 3 floor building which had been built in a hurry for the employes of the different government ministries. My father as he worked for the ministry of economics was lucky he got an apartment for his family while other people were still living in the basements of their destroyed houses, were squeezed together in still standing houses or in the bunker which stand nearby where we lived. It was only 6 years after the war and Bonn had been severely damaged through bombings.
There were 6 families living in our building, all couples and two with children, only one single lady was living alone on the first floor. Of course to me as a child she was old. I have no idea if she really was old, but she was strange, very skinny and pale looking, always dressed in black, and had short black hairs. The children were a little afraid of her, she didn't like kids and always chased them away. She had no contact to the others in the building, who formed a nice community and helped each other in these difficult times.
But one day she opened her door when I just wanted to go up the steps and called me in. Although I wasn't shy I didn't feel very comfortable with this odd looking woman. She was, as always dressed in black. In her hand she held several handkerchiefs of different colors and led me to a mirror. She put a green one under her nose and asked me if it would match her complexion. I was a little startled and didn't know what to say, but as she wanted my opinion so I told her that with this color her skin looked rather green around her nose. Apparently she agreed and took a red one. I didn't like the red one either. Finally she choose a purple one, with white laces around and had some embroideries. It looked really funny and I had difficulties not to giggle. Suddenly I was in a hurry to leave this strange place where somebody made a fashion show with handkerchiefs ! So I told her the purple one looked perfect and suited her nose very well. She seemed happy with my advice, put the other handkerchiefs away and kept the purple one. Then she thanked me and relieved I hurried upstairs home.
When I told this story to my mother she had to laugh too. And still today after 53 years I haven't forgotten this event. It has happened only once in my life that somebody asked me if a handkerchief suited her complexion and if it looked well on her nose !
The handkerchief advisor
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