“God bless you.” I grew up hearing this every time I sneezed. My mom, grandmothers, aunts, uncles – it seems that everyone had this response. Now, I react in the same way – “God bless you.”
So, today, I’m grateful for tissues. Yes, tissues. I grab one to wipe my runny nose, dab my eyes when something touches my heart, or hand to someone who needs it for the same reason. We got through boxes of them each year in our home.
We take them for granted. Before the wide distribution of them, people used cloth made of cotton. The movies illustrated to me a couple uses: women dropped them for the gentlemen to pick up and hand to them, or people offered their personal handkerchief to someone who needed one as a gesture of kindness.
I thought about this the other day. I’m glad for those portable tissue packs most women carry in their purse. I, for one, take comfort in the fact that when I’m offered one, it has not been used already to wipe a brow, or worse yet, a nose.
When someone asks me if they can borrow a tissue, I refuse. “No, you can’t borrow it. I don’t want it back when you’re done. I’ll give you one and you can keep it,” I say as I respond with a smile. It’s falls into the same class as a band-aid. I really don’t want it back after it’s used.
Tissues came about because of a shortage cotton during World War I. Kimberly-Clark developed cellucotton, an absorbent cotton-like material for surgical bandages on the battlefield and in the hospitals.
After the war, they had a surplus and looked for a new use. They marketed the product as a cold-creme remover cloth to Hollywood and Broadway. Soon, women complained that their husbands blew their noses in them.The demand by consumers for something to use on their nose switched it to our current product.
In the early 1920’s, the invention of a cardboard pop-up tissues box, propelled them into what is now a common household necessity for most of us.
I’m grateful for disposable tissues.
The photograph for today? Last spring, as I visited libraries across our state to talk about mental illness and sign my book, I spent time in new communities. I explored the local shops and tried to leave a bit of my pocket-money with them. I found this wooden tissue box in a second-hand furniture/craft store. I bought it as a decorative reminder of my journey across the state, plus I thought it fit my decor and personality.
And, God bless you.