Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Winter White

This is an old post that I wanted to publish again. With all of the unpacking and chaos of the last few months the one thing that I have loved most is going through my linen collection. I'll be posting regularly again in few weeks with pictures of the new old house and my sunny white vintage linens.    
 As I remember it was New Years Day when I was about seven years old; that would have been in 1959. Mother and I were still living with Aunt and Uncle and my aunt Mable and her daughter Francis had come to share the standard black eyed peas with country ham and collard greens; always served to celebrate the New Year. After we enjoyed the noon meal the women all went to the parlor while Uncle George and Uncle Paul stayed in the sitting room to watch TV and discuss whatever it was the men-folk discussed at that time. Now the ladies were laying out a plan; you see it was January and they were planning the Saturday that they would have Uncle Paul drive them to the January white sale. My there was some excitement in that room. My mother would be getting married again in just over a year and my cousin 11 years older than I was filling the cedar chest that she had gotten on her 16th birthday; she would be getting married in the next year or so as well and this white sale had them all in such an excited state that I thought that Santa might be coming again!  When Aunt Estelle stopped talking long enough to catch  her breath I asked WHAT IS A WHITE SALE??? She explained that all the best department stores would have a January white sale which meant that all of the bed and bath linens would be half priced. A white sale I thought??? No one in our family had white bed and bath linens except Granny Selma. Everyone one had sheets with pink roses or blue roses and matching pillowcases and the towels were blue or green or yellow. I just didn't understand this white sale business but what I did know was that Granny Selma had the best sheets. They were heavier than the floral sheets and so much softer and they were trimmed with white crochet lace. They always smelled like sunshine and falling into her feather mattress between two of these soft cotton sheets was like crawling into a cloud. Granny had taught me to crochet and embroider and when she passed away from us some years later I would inherit most of her linens as the Aunts were now using striped sheets and blue sheets and thought that the ironing and washing white sheets with all of that trim was just too much trouble. Well I still have those linens and I still remember Granny explaining that the cedar chest that Francis was filling was her hope chest and some day I would have one too. She went on to tell me how she had filled a blanket chest before she was sixteen and how every young woman had learned when they were very young to weave and trim linen and pure white cotton with beautiful lace and embroidery so they would have the necessary linens to begin house keeping. My hope chest was filled with Grannies white linens that she had made for her wedding, and with white pillowcases that I had trimmed with white crochet lace. To this day I only buy white sheets; I do find the floral sheets to be quite pretty but somehow I just love the white. The kitties get pink and blue for their cribs but me I'll always use white. I'm looking forward to spring, when the days are longer and all of my vintage linens will get laundered and I will lay them on the fresh, new green grass and watch as they gleam in the sun. I will then iron them and tie them in bundles with ribbon. And guess what; as I was pulling a few things from the shelf this afternoon to take pictures I realized I still have a spool of old chintz binding.    

Blessings Sallie                                                                                     

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