A VISIT TO THE PAST
Seventy-five years ago my grandmother, upon learning that her son would be getting married at the end of September, began working on a wedding gift for my mother. I think it took her nine months of crocheting to get her gift completed.
In case you don’t know what an antimacassar’s purpose in life was I’ll explain. Back in the first half of the 20th Century, men used to slick down their hair with various types of oil or pomade. Macassar Oil was one of the popular brands. To protect their overstuffed furniture from becoming oil stained, women began making little doilies to place on the back of the furniture where the man’s head would rest. The set my grandmother made contained smaller pieces for the arms of the chairs or sofas and also a larger scarf for the corner table in the living room. In the 30s every living room had a corner table that was the repository for a lamp and cherished photographs.
My mother would only bring out these crocheted pieces at Christmas and Easter and use them as scarves on every available flat surface in the house. Then on the twelfth day of Christmas she would collect them, wash, starch and iron them and store them away flat in her bottom dresser drawer between tissue paper until the next holiday season arrived.
To maintain the tradition, each Christmas I will get several of the scarves out of the drawer and put them on a couple of flat surfaces. Trust me, I draw the line at starching and ironing them.
My grandmother used a shiny beige colored thread in all the pieces that she made. My mother also had scarves made by her mother and aunts that used a white or multi-colored thread. Here’s one of them …
These were gifts that people made, rather than bought at a store. They are part of a bygone era.