Sunday, July 09, 2006

Work hankies

That's what we called them. They were blue. Or they were red. The sizes were 22 inches and 27 inches, the larger preferred. Every manufacturer had its own paisley design. They were always around the house. I always had lots from that stock. Now, they're bandannas, or even sometimes bandanas. Oddly, they never seemed to fade, but they did wear out. Then I used to find them at Gellman's at Sixth and Brazos, or at the Army-Navy store downtown on Congress, which also sold used clothes, although they were never described as such. For years, one of my favorite T-shirts came from there and had a snarling bobcat on the front (from San Marcos State). Maybe some of the items that appeared to be used were just overruns or misprints from screen-printing shops. Now, at last, even my Austin Army-Navy hankies are getting thin. Sometimes I'm able to pick one or two up at Slack's Riverside Chevron. They're a very skimpy 22 inches or so. I'm often in the habit of carrying one with me in case I need a headband or an emergency leash for a stray or, knotted criss-cross at opposite corners, a sort of carry-tote for items like sunglasses that nobody wants to crunch because because they've been forgotten in a pocket somewhere. The ones at the Chevron are Have-A-Hank, Carolina Manufacturing, which does a big line in C.S.A. items, I see. They rely a lot on sizing for body until it's all laundered out. Back when there were more parades, there used to be numbers of vendors who sold novelty items along the route, such as whirly toys, cotten candy, and even Texas-flag bandannas. We sometimes found these hankies at Winns variety store at Twin Oaks. Every time we go to Callahan's, this is one item we forget to look for.


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