Debbie’s Tea Towel Story


#TheGreatTeaTowelSharing that I stated off on Twitter produced a magnificent range of tea towels. Sometimes I spot one and think “This has a story to tell”. It’s difficult to say what it is that sparks that train of thought. It’s a combination of (a) a very unusual tea towel (b) with a story to tell, because as this website boasts, ‘EveryTea Towel Tells a Story’ (c) having an owner who is willing to write a bit about the tea towel and (d) you can sense an emotional attachment because of memories…..

@BitThing has ‘offered’ many tea towels to #TheGreatTeaTowelSharing project, some really beautiful ones but it was this one that caught my eye. Before this Project, I’d never ‘met’ Debbie, nor did I ‘follow’ her but now she has introduced me to a whole new world. And that’s what this is all about. This is Debbie’s Tea Towel Story”

“I was delighted to find Barbara and her Virtual Tea Towel Museum, because up until now I thought I was alone in my enjoyment of the utilitarian tea towel. I’ve a boxful, unused, pristine and loved. It turns out there are lots of people just like me.

Pulling this bread cloth out of the cupboard at the weekend took me back to 1978, when I did a solo bus tour around the USA on Greyhound Buses, staying with some friends, and many strangers. I started in Washington, Virginia and went north to New York, Vermont and Chicago, and all the way across to Seattle. I saw Giant Redwoods on the West Coast, paddled in the Pacific and slept on a water bed in California. I had a twirl in a giant teacup in the original Disneyland and couldn’t see Mount Rushmore because it was engulfed in mist. I tried on Stetson hats in Texas and listened to jazz in New Orleans. 

San Francisco was hip, and cool, like nowhere I’d been before. The Fisherman’s Wharf area was becoming developed and I tasted Sourdough Bread from the Boudin Bakery for the first time. I’ve loved it ever since. I never dreamed then that it would be easy to get here now. I’ve never managed to make my own starter and bake my own.

In 2013, I returned to San Francisco and visited the now highly stylised bakery, but the bread still tasted as delicious as it was. I bought this tea towel and it will always remind me of a trip of a lifetime for me, a girl looking for adventure at the age of 22″.

She added, when I asked about the tea towel in more detail, and if it was a ‘Flour Sack’ one “The towel is big, so full size it doesn’t show much detail. I’ve attached three photos“. It’s square, so typically American. Querying the tea towel, I had pushed Debbie down the ‘Rabbit Warren’ of tea towels “I’ve just looked at their website. It’s just called a tea towel”. She sent me the link. I, too, went down that same ‘Rabbit Warren’. It says “Our signature Medallion kitchen flour tea towel with decorative fleur de lys pattern. 100% cotton, machine washable”. It’s a Flour Sack tea towel!!!

I loved this story. San Francisco (oh, and Seattle) is one of those places I’ve always wanted to go to, to see the bridge and the tramcars, to pretend I was in the world of Ironside, to remember the days of ‘Flower Power’. Debbie’s description is such that I could feel myself there, both in 1978 and 2013. Thank you Debbie for such an evocative story.

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