Today is a special day as I have just arrived in Brechin, a small town near the east coast of Scotland, my birthplace. The next few days will be memorable for me and my family. My children and extended family know all the stories but now they will be able to experience places and events for themselves.
I thought long and hard about which scarf I would wear today. I shall be breaking with my usual custom of storing my scarves in sequence after I write my blogs. I am donating this scarf to a special person in memory of a strong woman, my cousin Caroline who died last year. Scarf No. 66 of Series Two will remain in Scotland. So what is the significance of the Hershey Kisses? They are American chocolates shaped like wee pyramids wrapped in shiny silver paper. I intend to wrap the chocolates in the scarf and use it as a ‘furoshiki’ in the Japanese tradition as I described in Blog no. 51, Series 2 SEARCHING FOR GENJI. This idea of wrapping a gift in cloth appeals to me. Cut down on unnecessary waste of paper, cellotape, ribbon…..and time!
This scarf is not Japanese. It is similar to my cotton furoshiki but is made in England by a very famous name ASCHER. I love to discover the history behind my scarves and this one is very interesting. Zika and Lida Ascher were Czech, on their honeymoon in Norway when their country was overrun by the Germans in the Thirties. Zika was from a Jewish family, his wife Catholic. He was a keen skier and the British Ski Club enabled them to set up home in England after they fled from Norway. Zika came from a textile background, his wife was artistic, a business was set up after the war and Ascher scarves were born. Zika had the brilliant idea of inviting the famous artists of the day to design for him and thus Artists’ Squares were born. Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, Picasso, Matisse, Barbara Hepworth, Cecil Beaton, Derain, Calder, to name but a few were happy to see their designs printed with care on silk squares by Ascher of Wigmore Street, London.
My kerchief square is not silk, but fine cotton, black, terracotta and cream, decorated with a pattern of X’s, 25”x 25”. I cannot find out which artist designed it. Maybe some reader will know. It ties neatly round the neck, but after today will wrap these Hershey kisses. So who will receive this odd gift? I will not name her as she may wish to remain anonymous. My cousin entrusted her with carrying out her wishes after her passing, including arranging the scattering of her ashes up Glen Esk. This will happen in a couple of days’ time to the sound of a female piper and we will all have a dram of whisky in hand. Covid did not allow any of the family in England to make the journey north last year for the funeral, so this final farewell is significant.
This square with all these tiny crosses wrapping Hershey’s kisses represents lots of love. Caroline would appreciate that the chocolates are American. She spent many happy working years in USA and moved from the East coast to California when we were living there. She brought her mother from Brechin to live with her in Los Angeles and the two families had lots of fun at a golden wedding party for my parents in Sausalito. The Union Jack flying on our Marin balcony is the same flag now in my flowerpot on my porch in Richmond. Lots of Robertson tartan and clan Tshirts in the family photo below. We shared many happy times at Caledonian Games throughout California, both us becoming more Scottish as the years went by and nostalgia set in. Caroline would be proud to know her good friend has organised such a fine send off with a piper. They both shared the love of art so I trust this kerchief with its association with some of the greatest artists will be a fitting memento for her friend. I just hope she isn’t diabetic and can enjoy the chocolate kisses!
I think Caroline would also appreciate that Zika Ascher was a fine skier of Olympic standard. She and her cousin Sheena were members of the Scottish Ski Club in their younger days. I trust there is no early snow this week up the Glen. I might need some snow poles anyway just for keeping my balance walking up hilly terrain or warding off a rutting deer. I will probably be wearing my Scottish cashmere scarf on Tuesday and tartan trews. I guess the way down from the cairn will be easier after that dram!
Thanks ‘O’ for your kindness to our cousin from all the family.
My granddaughter has just reminded me of a personal Hershey Kisses memory. Her half brother David, an artist in New York, had brought her a gift of a large packet of these from USA. They were carelessly left unguarded and the family black Labrador Tara devoured the lot, each little pyramid still covered in silver paper. Dogs should not eat chocolate, so you can imagine the result of a canine upset tummy…….the following day the lawn looked as if silver mushrooms were growing all over! This gift comes with a Health Warning to greedy dogs!
Busy Bee, Scarf Face!
Series 2, Blog 66.