It’s strange how the most common, ordinary, taken-for-granted things become instruments for vivid childhood memories. I’m ordering towels for my daughter’s birthday. A strange gift? Not really. Her roommate moved out and now she needs more towels. She needs other things, but as soon as she said “towels” I knew I had to buy some. A woman needs to have nice towels.
“Nice” towels are fluffy and soft. They’re big so they wrap around you. They come in pretty colors and sometimes they have fancy edges or monograms. They match the other towels and wash cloths and hand towels hanging on the rack. Just listen to this description of the towels I’m buying for my daughter: “These luxurious, generously sized bath linens are now even larger, and in 7 more colors! Ring-spun 100% Egyptian cotton has a silky soft feel.” Who could resist?
I don’t remember ever having nice towels when I was growing up. With five children in the house I was lucky to get a clean towel. For years we hung our laundry on a clothesline, so I certainly didn’t get a soft towel. But I don’t think I realized I was disadvantaged until I was about twelve and began to notice my grandmother’s towels.
My grandmother loved pretty towels! She had numerous sets of matching towels and rugs. Some had little satin edges with embroidered flowers. She had holiday towels and “guest” towels. Part of the fun of visiting her house was seeing her pretty bathroom. She wasn’t a rich woman. She scrimped and saved for everything she had, but for some reason towels were a priority. And it was one of those things I never bothered to ask her about. Another regret. She might have had some of those wonderful “childhood memory” stories I could have passed on to you.
I don’t remember my great-grandmother’s towels, but she did have a nice bathroom. It had a deep claw-foot bathtub that now resides at my Dad’s house. And it always smelled wonderful. She must have kept bath powder or bubble bath or something. She was crazy about slipcovers, which she changed with the seasons, and she had gorgeous handmade quilts and pretty bed linens so it seems reasonable to assume that she also had pretty towels and I just wasn’t old enough to care.
My mother wasn’t particular about the kind or color of towels she bought, but as she got older, boy did she like them soft! I told her many times that she put too much fabric softener in the wash. Sometimes her towels wouldn’t even absorb water! But she just laughed at me and kept pouring in the Downy.
My own towels aren’t really “pretty” because I don’t live that kind of life. However, they are large and soft and this year they are blue. Rather than buy matching towels, I just buy all my towels in shades of the same color. Two years ago all my towels were green. Last year I began phasing those out and replacing them with blue. In another year I’ll choose another color. One of those idiosyncrasies we all have, but seldom admit. Ahh, the beauty of a blog. You get to know the color of my towels. Enough rambling. Time to start thinking about tomorrow’s dinner. Enjoy!