Apr 082013

While my husband is on an out-of-town business trip, I’m doing a little spring cleaning. After nearly thirty years of marriage, we need new towels. I went to Penney’s white sale yesterday and bought new copper-colored fluffy bath and hand towels and washcloths on sale.

Chances are my husband won’t notice the old towels missing. If he noticed, he might object and insist we keep them. We both grew up with Depression-era parents, who kept everything from rubber bands and tinfoil balls to old towels to use as rags in the garage or for washing cars.

Digging through the house, I’ve found towels that tell a story. I can’t help but laugh and remember why we have some of them. Amazingly, we still have towels that precede our wedding that my mother-in-law got in boxes of Breeze in the 1960s.

There are at least three ragged edge, navy blue towels I bought at Sears in summer 1975 before I left for college. I lived in the dormitory all four years, and trotted down the hall to the communal bathroom each morning with my towels, as well as shampoo, conditioner, and toothbrush in a plastic Coke bottle holder. These are the towels that mopped up spilled beer, towels that wrapped around the occasional keg, and padded my black and white TV when I moved home each summer.

We still have the “good towels” we received for a wedding present. We own some striped and floral towels living in Clearwater, Florida. We have the baby washcloths with Barney on them. (I once belonged to a website called “Barney, Die, Die, Die” though our four-year-old son loved the popular purple dinosaur.)

Some towels remind me of trips, like at Sea World when a sudden rain shower came up, or after a water ride at Cedar Point.  I still have giveaway towels from my various marketing jobs, logos faded long after I left the jobs. One white towel with a blue logo reminds me of a junket in the “good old days” when I had a private suite at The Colony in Long Boat Key, Florida. We were encouraged to play tennis daily with colleagues during our 4-day sales meeting. The work world has changed since 1985!

There’s the large pile of unsightly white striped Dollar General towels I bought when our son camped with the Boy Scouts. The towels cost three dollars, and I bleached the daylights out of them after a particularly grimy camping trip.

There’s a mismatched set of oddly colored green towels from the summer I redecorated our bedroom and master bath in lime green. I lost my mind, and the towels note the date.

I found a single pink bath towel I purchased at a Bed, Bath, and Beyond near Lincoln Center when visiting a friend in New York City one summer. She was subleasing a studio, and brought only enough towels for herself. The fuzzy pink towel reminds me of seeing the funny John Lithgow in “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” during that trip.

I’ve washed and dried and folded the new towels, and put them away, wondering if they will ever be used to bathe a grandchild ….

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