Today I forgot to put a clean hankerchief in my pocket as I left the house.
When I was a child, I always had a kid-sized hankerchief in my pocket. It was used for my nose mainly, but were also pretty good at mopping up blood from skinned knees, blood noses, and lost baby teeth. When very young, if I was in need of taking a few coins to school, my mother used to tie them into the corner of the hankerchief, so they weren't jangling loose in my pocket. I used to like the idea that one could be used as a tourniquet if I was bitten by a snake or had a cut artery. They were, in short, very useful and quite comforting.
As a middle aged adult, I continue to find them useful. Now, tissues will be used during any heavy cold instead of carrying the phlegm in my pocket all day. However, when you have young children, a large kerchief in the pocket is still extremely useful for drying hands after visits to the toilet, mopping blood from their skinned knees, etc. Even when not with my own children, my habit on going to public toilets (especially if I am about to use my hands to eat) is to finish drying my hands with my hankerchief, and then use it to protect my now clean hand when opening the exit door. They remain a very useful thing to have where ever I am. I feel lost today due to my morning oversight.
It seems to me that somewhere between the 1960's and 2009, they fell out of fashion. I am reasonably sure that no children take them to school anymore. I doubt that many adults below the age of 40 use them much either. A couple of Christmas's ago, a nephew with 3 young children of his own saw me using my hankerchief to dry my kid's hands and said "that's a handy thing to have." Indeed.
The range of hankerchiefs available in shops now seems very small; the last time I looked, it seemed quite hard to find reasonable quality ones. They are either very cheap thin things, or quite expensive. The tissue has replaced it all, but really, I find them not even half as useful.
Why did the utility of the hankerchief get lost in the modern world? Or am I mistaken, and they are more popular than I know?
If, dear reader, you have a good hankerchief experience to share, please let me know. Their rightful place in the scheme of life needs to be restored, and the campaign may as well start here.