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Sisterhood of the traveling handkerchief: Nearly 90 brides from Cleveland and beyond use same handkerchief at wedding

Through the simple chiffon hanky, the women are all connected.

CLEVELAND — For 90 years, brides throughout the Cleveland area and beyond have passed down a special heirloom – a handkerchief. Through the simple chiffon hanky, the women are all connected.

It all started with Ruth Borstein. In 1932, Ruth walked down the aisle with a timeless chiffon handkerchief that she purchased for her big day. It brought her happiness on her wedding day, and luck throughout her life. Her daughter Joan Rogoff says her mother was a wonderful and giving person.

“She was the sweetest and lovely,” said Rogoff.

Ruth decided to lend the hanky to other brides on their big days – something old and something borrowed all in one. Fast forward 23 years later and the 12th bride carried the hanky down the aisle – Rogoff herself.

“We got married it was 1956, and we got married at the Tudor arms hotel and it was just beautiful.”

Rogoff eventually became the keeper of the handkerchief and continues to carry on the tradition in which her mother started. She continued to lend the hanky to her friends and then to her daughters Debbie Aronson and Marci Moses and many in between.

“I was the 53rd bride and I got married in 1991 and we just had our 31st wedding anniversary,” said Moses.

Today, Moses is the keeper of the hanky and she makes sure loved ones feel that special connection too.

“To take a piece of our friendship and to put it into the most special day of their life…it’s so cool that we all share this together,” said Moses.

That friendship includes Amy Drechsler, bride number 55.

“For me this was an incredibly special connection, I’m sorry I’m going to cry…I don’t have sisters but I do now,” said Drechsler. “Walking down the aisle with this hanky made you part of this club, this belonging,.”

The same for bride number 62, Debbi Cohen. Cohen was also a fellow Ohio State sorority sister. On her wedding day, Moses presented Debbi with her something old and something borrowed.

“When I watch that video…the friendship that we have over so many years it brings it all together,” said Cohen.

And more recently, Anita Sicherman got to carry the hanky. Widowed, she remarried in December 2009 and her something borrowed was the hanky.

“I knew about the handkerchief and my two daughters and daughter-in law carried it and of course, when I told Joan I was getting married, she said you have to carry the handkerchief and I said, of course I’m carrying it,” said Sicherman. “It’s a tradition I never want to break, it’s a friendship beyond any belief.”

“I like to feel that [my mother] looking down and knows how many people she’s made happy by carrying this,” said Rogoff.

The passing of the handkerchief is a tradition that’s grown generation by generation, friends and family passing a handkerchief bought nearly a century ago down to their children and then their children’s children. It is an unbreakable sisterhood on one of the most important days of their lives – this book proves it.

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