April 1, 2011

New Towels

While Herman is on an out-of-town business trip, I'm doing a little spring cleaning. After nearly thirty years of marriage, it's time to get new towels. I went to Penney's Wednesday white sale yesterday and bought big new copper colored fluffy bath and hand towels and washcloths on sale.

Chances are my husband won't notice the old towels are gone when he returns. If he noticed, he might object and insist we keep them. We both grew up in families with Depression-era parents, and there's always the temptation to keep everything from rubber bands to tinfoil balls to old towels to use as rags in the garage or for washing cars.

Digging through nooks and crannies throughout 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 the precede our marriage that Herman's mom got from boxes of Breeze in the 1960s.

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

There are the towels we got for wedding presents, those striped and floral towels from Clearwater Beach when we lived in Florida, the baby washcloths with Barney on them. (I really hated Barney and once belonged to a website called "Barney, Die, Die, Die" but Herman Jr. loved the big purple dinosaur.)

There are the towels we bought on vacation, at Sea World when a sudden rain shower came up, or after a water ride at Cedar Point. There are the 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, and we were encouraged to play tennis daily with colleagues during our four-day sales meeting.

There's the large pile of hideous white stripped Dollar General towels I bought when Herman Jr. was in Boy Scouts and went camping. They were about three dollars each and I just 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 mark 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 on an academic trade program, and literally brought only enough towels for herself from her Philadelphia apartment. That towels reminds me of seeing John Lithgow in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and how funny he was.

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....