Safe-ty Pins

When I was  little girl growing up in church, my grandmother, and several of her friends used to wear safety pins over their left breast. Sometimes they would have a handkerchief attached.  I never really thought about the significance of those pins.  I always assumed it was either so they could keep up with the handkerchief, or in case some one needed to pin up their slip so it wouldn’t show. 🙂

But, now that I think about it, why would the wear them so often without a handkerchief attached?  Wow! My grandmother may have been involved in a secret, not so secret club!  Of course, knowing my grandmother, this does not surprise me in the least.

The reason I was thinking about this is because a new secret safety pin society has arisen. We have pledged to stand together with other ‘others’. To stand by, and with, to be a safe harbor when any of us is confronted and present a united front. I’m glad we’ve stepped up. I shall go out a get my safety pin.

I am almost positive Grandmother’s safety pin stood for something very similar.



Author: Mercedes' Blog

Poet, Writer

2 thoughts on “Safe-ty Pins”

  1. Ms. Mercedes,
    Happy you explained that it was your grandma and her friends who wore the pins, because I knew you couldn’t be my age. Few people are. I haven’t seen anyone do what you describe, here, since the late forties and early fifties. You’ve jogged my memory with that little tidbit, which I can honestly say was deep in the recesses of my mind. You see, I am now 75 years old and part of an era when young ladies practiced that safety pin/handkerchief custom; although I cant say I was much of a lady with my rough self.
    Since I’m old, I might be able to offer an explanation for the custom that so baffles you.
    Back when I was a school girl, in Bedford Stuyvesant , Brooklyn, there was a big emphasis on hygiene and cleanliness. We had to wear clean, pressed white blouses, shined shoes, and clean socks every single day. Teachers would inspect our ears, necks, hands, hair and nails…. everyone had to be sparkling clean. The reason probably stems from New York City’s past outbreaks and epidemics, like typhoid, small pox , etc.
    As for the pinned handkerchief, tissues were at a premium, and blowing your nose or sneezing into the air was frowned upon . In assuring we carried handkerchiefs at all time, schools required the boys to place theirs in their shirt pocket and girls, to secure theirs to their blouses. Thus, the safety pin.
    This is not necessarily, the same reason why your grandma wore hers, but it’s the only explanation I can offer,. Yet, it doesn’t explain why only the pin. For that question, I can only tell you that many women kept pins on their aprons for handy use. How’s that?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for that explanation! We lived in Florida, but yes, Grandmother was very much into hygiene, and making sure whatever needed pinning was pinned. LOL I will say, safety pins were MUCH sturdier then!
      Again, thank you, Miss Anita.


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