White blankets become friendly ghost costumes.

Pink blankets make elegant princess costumes.

Black blankets turn into scary evil things.

Shaindle Schmuckler

Shaindle Schmuckler

I never used blankets for those purposes. I have, however, imagined and created many other uses. For example, when curtains were needed to complete the stage my dad (z”l) built out of wooden pallets, blankets did the trick. He placed his creation in the back of our bungalow. During the summer my family left the hot, tar-coated city for the tree-lined, easy-to-breathe air of the mountains in upstate New York and our bungalow in Highland Mills. Have I ever mentioned my dad and my uncle Joe owned a bungalow colony?

Before we would embark on our journey to the mountains, my mom (z”l) would cover the furniture in our Bronx apartment with sheets and blankets. This method kept the dust off the pink French provincial living room sofa and chairs, the marble French provincial coffee table, and the antique, white French provincial breakfront.

I packed a much-worn, dark-green blanket edged in light-green satin in my trunk for summer camp. I coveted this blanket and keep it close until this very day, when you can find it in an airtight plastic bag in my closet.

My camp trunk is the trunk my parents carried across the ocean from Paris to New York when Mom brought Dad to America in 1937. This trunk resides in a place of honor in my home today.

The blanket was intended to keep me warm and cozy on chilly summer nights as I slept on my bunk bed at summer camp. I naturally found other uses. When packing for camp, it was a perfect hideaway for items on the camp forbidden list, such as chocolate and other fine candies, Wrigley’s chewing gum sticks, boxes of Chicklets, and lots of red and chocolate licorice.

What? You’re surprised?

Have you ever created forts with blankets? I have. Such a positively wonderful place to hide and read under the light of a flashlight or play pickup sticks or a hot game of jacks.

I’ve also been known to cut up an old, single-sized blanket whose fabric was covered in tiny flowers. These pieces of fabric became covers for my doll’s bed, carpeting for my dollhouse and pillows for my own bed. Cut and sewn by hand using the durable blanket stitch. A totally lost art form.

When Gene, our girls and I lived in Tampa, Fla., we loved loading into my station wagon to visit Busch Gardens. It was a beautiful place to spend an afternoon. An important bonus: It was free.

I wonder if anyone reading this has any idea why I am telling you about our move to Tampa in the middle of my blanket story.

As Tampa grew, Busch Gardens incrementally expanded the zoo portion of the gardens as more and more visitors arrived. No fees were charged. People flocked to this beautiful place.

One fine Sunday, we packed the girls for an outing to the Busch Gardens zoo. We had not been in a long time. We were excited to see the new animals the zoo had acquired. To our utter shock and dismay, in our absence a new regulation had been implemented. There was now a fee per car.

We reluctantly paid for what once was free and should, in my humble opinion, always be free.

The next time I took the girls and a couple of friends to Busch Gardens, I called to be sure there weren’t any increased expenses. Yup, there sure were. Now Busch Gardens had a parking fee and a fee per person.

Here’s where the blankets I kept in my wagon found yet another important use. I followed the instructions of the police department, which strongly suggested having food, water and a blanket in your car in case of emergency. Well, this was an emergency, sort of.

Six girls — four of mine, one belonging to my friend Rene, and Lisie’s best friend, Sharon — Rene and myself headed to Busch Gardens to see all the new animals. Just around the bend of the main entrance, the girls promptly and with efficiency carried out the instructions we gave them before we left for our outing.

I drove up to the hut where fees were collected, and I paid the parking fee and the fees for Rene and myself.