Gypsy's Travels

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Q-Towel

DD-Kr introduced me to this post, "An Open Letter to My Adult Children", by Northwest Ladybug. It obviously rang some bells with DD who must remember the years of the towels as well as I.
Having three girl children would have been enough to elicit a towel frenzy in itself. Couple that with having four avid, competetive swimmers, and the washing machine went from overload to on-strike. The chlorine-impregnated towels never had time to dry out, especially when they spent so much time on the floor...behind closed doors...under other wet towels, thus the daily wash.
The towels that made it to the washing machine were not necessarily the ones that had left the house. Nice, thick, brightly colored towels were carried out in the morning and thin, faded, worn towels were returned every evening. Faced with this rapid disintegration of my linen supply, I tried to insist that thin, faded towels were carried out in the mornings. This was met with rebellion.
"How embarrassing! No one wants to be seen with something like that!"
That was obvious since passive trading was taking its toll at our expense.
Nothing worked. Some of the towels my children received as gifts were made specifically for them from distinctive terry fabric. But even those disappeared at an alarming rate. One day I saw a nice square towel with a dinstinctive brown floral design on a cream background. One of the swimmers was casually draping it around her shoulders as she prepared to leave the pool.
"Look!" I pointed the girl out to my daughter. "That's the towel Aunt B made for you for your birthday last year."
"Are you sure?" my daughter asked, glancing in the general direction I indicated.
"As far as I know, there are no commercial towels that look like that!" I insisted. "Go get your towel."
DD put a restraining hand on my arm. "Oh, Mom, I couldn't embarrass her like that."
There is nothing more embarassing to a teenager than a parent, even under the best of circumstances.
I gave up and changed my focus to having proper towels for DH and myself. The reward for my persistence was discovering the Q-towel in a rock-bottom sale bin. The Q-towel was thick, fluffy, not a bad shade of gray, and it had a great big "Q" monogrammed on one end. It appealed to no one. It was concientiously avoided by everyone in the family....except me. "Q" stands for Queen, I told them. Although the rest of the family was derisive, I was happy. No one used "my" day...someone had no choice......
"Hey, the Q-towel is really nice!" The announcement was made in passing one morning, but was noted by everyone. Thereafter, the Q-towel became popular. The children still laughed every time they used it, but use it they did. It went to swimming, but it came home. I looked for more, but that was the only one I ever found.At some time over the years, the Q-towel disappeared. Kids were moving in and out from home to dorm to apartment and back again, but no one ever admitted to snagging the Q-towel.
The Q-towel has become legend in our family. One of those family jokes that only needs to be mentioned to send the whole group into gales of laughter. One of those moments when family bonds are tightened and we remember what is really important. One of these days I will find a stack of fluffy, gray towels, and I will embroider each one of them with a "Q" so my grandchildren will laugh at their parents....until they hear the story.


  1. I'll bet the Q-towel is enjoying popularity at the house of another teen swimmer -- or rather, his/her kids! Would you believe that all kids were home last weekend and I suddenly have to wash a load of towels?! Glad you found inspiration in my post!


  2. OMG, there is so many stories that have never been shared.

  3. We have had several beach towels borrowed over the years when kids or Gkd's visit and they all seem to vanish. Maybe that's why ME is always shopping for bath towels.

  4. What a legend! Did daughter ever get her specially made towel back again?

  5. I can shine some light on this one. The Q towel was indeed very popular in the family -- I think I liberated it from years of drudgery when I was in college and it served me well for several years after that. It eventually was well-loved and became a "shop-towel" for a few more years.


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