Handkerchief

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

To many, a handkerchief is considered a piece of cloth that is used to wipe away emotions. To my mother a specific handkerchief meant so much more. This piece of “cloth” was not only something to wipe away her stray tears, but it also stood for strength and love. The handkerchief had witnessed all my mother had gone through as a child, from living in a Communist reign to losing her mother. From the beginning this item stood for love. My mom was a riches from rags success story as she created her own clothing business in Poland. Although on the exterior she was happy she faced demons in her home. After the birth of her daughter, my sister, her husband, at the time, became violent. Although my mother had everything in Poland, financial stability, a home, her family, she left it all in order to protect herself and her child. With only a suitcase filled with beloved items, a few outfits and a small amount of money she went to the United States where she would have to start from nothing. Within her suitcase was this handkerchief. Its meaning had now evolved. Not only did it stand for love and family, but now it stood for strength. This handkerchief, which means nothing to others, holds such a powerful message of my mother’s journey and courage as she had as she gave up everything she had for her family to have a better life than she had. 

Place(s): Poland
Year: 1992

– Nicole

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant