6 Mar 2014

THE PURPLE HANDKERCHIEF

 Letter P

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


Jenny Matlock
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday

16 comments:

Linens and Royals said...

She should have given you the red and green handkerchiefs to keep as they didn't suit her. Though I would have preferred the purple one.

Eden House News and views said...

I had hoped I was going to read that she had let you keep one

Jo said...

What an amazing story. In today's world your mom wouldn't have laughed; instead they would have warned you to stay away from a potential pedophile! LOL! I also thought she should have given you the purple hanky. She was obviously a very lonely old lady. Great story! Jo

Jo said...

What an amazing story. In today's world your mom wouldn't have laughed; instead they would have warned you to stay away from a potential pedophile! LOL! I also thought she should have given you the purple hanky. She was obviously a very lonely old lady. Great story! Jo

storybeader said...

I'm wondering if you saw her, wearing her purple handkerchief after that... It was nice that she chose you! {:-D

carol l mckenna said...

what a fascinating post and rather intriquing ~ can see why you wouldn't forget it ~ Love the photo ~ thanks,

artmusedog and carol
www.acreativeharbor.com

Sarah~Magnolia Surprise said...

What a wonderful little story! She must have been quite lonely and perhaps was reaching out through you
to the kids who were afraid of her!

Julie A said...

Awww...

I was hoping to read that she would give you one of the handkerchiefs...

Going into a stranger's house these days is unheard of. I remember those days when a child could and nobody think anything bad could possibly happen.

Julie @ Whisper In The Woods

Lady Lilith said...

Lol. A little fashion consultant at such a young age.
I would wonder why she chose her nose. After all what was she planning on doing with it?

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

How funny. (If a person needed a handkerchief at her nose, you'd think the last thing they'd worry about would be the color!) Strange the way those little memories can stick with you though isn't it!

Andrew said...

Another good story from the archives. How odd to match a handkerchief to skin. Of course if she used it, it would become a darker colour and no longer match.

edenhills said...

This vignette makes me wonder so much more about her. She seems quite an intriguing character. Adorable picture of you!

Betty said...

That was a little strange, but at least she had some color in her life. I love your childhood picture. You were so cute.

Judie said...

I thought she was going to give you a handkerchief as well. What a cute photo of you, Gattina!!!

diane b said...

A funny and interesting story from your past. Cute photo too. Tell more.

Sandra Carlier said...

What a strange woman! It is the first time I hear a woman need the good handkerchief to skin! HiHi!