Worn by Susan Tepper

There is a soft cotton handkerchief in my mother’s top dresser drawer that is so worn thin you can see through it. It must be fifty years old. Maybe more. She got it as a gift from her sister who was my aunt. The sister worked in a laundry and my mother who was a lot younger had to deliver lunch to the sister every day. In telling this story, my mother called the laundry a sweat shop. She said her sister sat outside on the curb and ate the sandwich and fruit my mother brought her every day. Even if it was 100 degrees outside, her sister said it was cooler than being in the laundry. I cannot visit a Laundromat or dry cleaners without remembering my Aunt. It can make me cry if I’m already having a bad day. My mother says that I’m too emotional. It’s all how you look at things I tell her.


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Filed under Susan Tepper

13 responses to “Worn by Susan Tepper

  1. You’ve captured the past in that fine handkerchief, Susan. It acts as a veil almost, or maybe a web that ties it into the present life of the character. Beautiful.

  2. estelle bruno

    thats a long forgotten story. So sad, I think I will block it out.

  3. That is gorgeous.

    Not a word wasted.

    Well played.

  4. excellent, susan, masterly. much enjoyed this. the transition to the family history, the philosophical ending. gudd.

  5. Robert Vaughan

    I used to tell my baby sister she was “too emotional” growing up, a fact she refers to occasionally now that we are adults. Truth is, I only wish I might have had her ability to emote, to feel, to express.
    I enjoyed this story a lot.

  6. Kim Hutchinson

    Lovely depiction of objects connecting to memory.

  7. Oh dear – so sad, this story just seems to ache. don’t read it when you are having a bad day already!

  8. Love the pacing and voice.

  9. Nice empathy in this and liked the symbolism of the handkerchief.

  10. So much wrapped up in a fine linen handkerchief. I have a basket full from my grandmother — I wonder what stories athey carry? Peace…

  11. Pingback: Week #27 – lost in translation « 52|250 A Year of Flash

  12. Tony Press

    Love this.

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