One of my Gran's Bonnets made in 1932.
I grew up playing with these bonnets. I think that there are only 5 or 6 left in my chest of linens. I know that I should keep them in the chest so that we will have them forever, but it's so much more fun to have them out.
I feel that way about all vintage linens that are usable. I have a true weakness for beautiful fabric and craftmanship. I never thought of myself as a collector of linens, until I looked at the stack and really thought about the knowledge that I had aquired along with each piece. Each one has a story. One set of Ferguson's Rose Double Damask Irish Linen had never been opened. That is the story that a lot of lovely linens tell, of being treasured so much that the owner was afraid to use them. I like to think that although the linens appreciated the honour, they were also a little lonely.
Irish Linen is an amazing fabric. With proper care it actually thrives with use, and is made to last for centuries. Most of the pieces I have should have been true heirlooms, but they weren't given the memories that are required for a piece of cloth to last generations in one family.
Although the bonnets don't fall in precisely with my linen collection, they do fall into my catagory of beloved things. I watched my grandma put this bonnet on her head every day before she stepped out of the door to let the chickens out or hang the laundry. I was reading yesterday about the origin of electric co-ops in Oklahoma and it struck a cord with me when I realized that my farm didn't have access to electricity until the year before my mother was born.
These bonnets were just another part of my history, and now they are a part of my children's.