Cathy Reineke’s memories about her blankets
During the depression, she saved everything so mine was a mishmash of new polyester fabric. Multitudes of clashing colors and textures zigged and zagged through its patchwork footprint. The underside was a soft thick flannel that felt so good next to my face.
The term “draggin’ blankets: originated from my brother’s vocal insistence that these blankets had a sole purpose of being drug behind us whenever we journeyed out on adventures with our parents.
My draggin’ blanket wrapped around me and kept me safe and warm in many different venues. It warmed me for all my naps. I drug it in front of our old black and white TV to watch “The Wonderful World Of Disney” on Sunday nights. But its most prized purpose was to take it to the drive-in on summer nights.
I was raised in Montana. Dusk came late in drive-in season. My parents sat in the front seat of the old green Plymouth wagon and each of us kids were stretched out in the back with the rear seat folded down. Underneath us, our draggin’ blankets outlined each kid’s space (not to be encroached upon). It also provided an easy way for my father to scoop us up out of the back of the car upon our return home. At that early age, we always fell fast asleep early in any movie giving our parents the bit of respite they enjoyed after a day of raising rambunctious and often squabbling children.
My draggin’ blanket has long since been discarded. By the time it left my side in my late teens, it was in tatters, its flannel lining threadbare. Upon visiting my older brother last year, I saw he still had his draggin’ blanket some 50 years later slung over the back of a chair in his living room. His dogs love it curling up on it for their naps after each one has jockeyed to own it for the evening. He was 5 years older than me when he received his blanket from my grandmother. Thus, his blanket did not suffer the wear we younger siblings inflicted upon ours.
Remembering the wonder, comfort and ownership of my draggin’ blanket, I have carried on my grandmother’s tradition. When a child is born into our family I make a draggin’ blanket for the new arrival. Mine are made of durable and colorful fleece in the shape of turtles, caterpillars, and dinosaurs.
These blankets will last many years due to their sturdy construction. I hope some may even adorn dorm beds and be a conversation piece when friends stay overnight. I include a letter with each new blanket telling the new arrival the blanket is warmth, love, and comfort for their lives ahead.
The oldest recipient of one of my draggin’ blankets is now six years old. The other day, I received a picture of “Jack” from his father. Jack is all curled up in his bed wrapped in his dinosaur blanket deep in slumber. It is early morning and he had slept with it as his only blanket just as he has done every night for the past three years.
My grandmother is smiling somewhere knowing the next generation is carrying on her draggin’ blanket tradition.
photos by chimothy and heidielliott
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