Thursday, December 17, 2009


One of my favorite stories of my grand parents and Benhard's sister, Corinna and her husband Seivert, is about cards and a gift between Seivert and Benhard.

This may all be a joke but when I heard it, it was serious business to me. I figured in my young brain that times were tough. It wasn't called re-gifting then, either.

Every Christmas, Grandma Julia would carefully erase the signature on the inside of the card and re-write Mr. and Mrs. B Ranum. The envelope received the same erasing care. Now, remember paper was more porous then and erasers, if dirty, made streaks, so it was a challenge to do it right.

There were two ties, that every season were mailed back and forth between the men. Now, Seivert worked in a bank so he wore ties. Benhard, on the other hand, did not wear them on a daily basis. If he did spill gravy on it, it was spot cleaned with a product which was clear, in a bottle with a dabber like grey top. Most families had a bottle like this in their houses. Between Tom and I we can both see the bottle in our minds but do not have a clue as to what it was called, do you?

If you weren't careful, especially on hand painted ties, one had an entire new look and it wasn't pretty. Grandma did wash ties and they didn't look very good either.

When we talk about cleaning a silk tie, we’re actually talking about removing stains, because silk ties were never meant to be cleaned. Launder? Never! Dry clean? Not even that. These ties are extremely delicate and can fall apart easily. All you can do is keep the tie as clean as you can. After all, it is a thing of beauty and not a bib.

Let's go back to cards for a minute. Although you might consider reusing cards a poo-poo, one of the things senior centers do is cover the signature area and put it in a new envelope. This is a way to make money, well, not a lot but some and gives them something to do.

As proper as my mother was, she not only made those cards but on numerous occasions sent them.

Be creative. Have fun. Keep your tie out of the gravy boat.


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