This is a short story, just because I have to get back in the habit of posting more frequently. My grandparents told me this story back on my 12/30/2009 visit.
My grandparents met when my grandfather was in the Navy during World War II, but that story is longer, and for another time. My grandfather was telling me about the perks that he got working as a cook in the Navy at Pearl Harbor. He was a good enough cook that some of the higher ups stole him from the galley and used him for their personal chef.
"On our first anniversary, guess what I gave her?" my grandfather asked me with a huge grin on his face.
"What did you give her?" I asked him.
"They told me it was paper," he said. "So, I bought her a whole case of Kleenex from the ship's service!"
My grandmother was in the kitchen washing dishes. I called out to her and asked her if she remembered what my grandfather had gotten her for their first anniversary.
She came out of the kitchen with gloved hands and exclaimed, "Yeah! Paper!" I was excited that she remembered too.
"A whole case!" my grandfather emphasized.
My grandmother continued, "He found out it was paper. 'Paper!? That's easy!'" she said, mimicking his thought process. "So he sent it from Pearl Harbor!"
"A whole case of Kleenex?" I asked.
"And then after several years," my grandfather boasted, "We still got Kleenex!"
Kleenex struck me as an odd gift, especially a whole case of it. "Did you think that was weird?" I asked my grandmother.
"Well, you had to wait in line to get Kleenex! You didn't know that did you?" my grandfather explained.
I was flabbergasted. "Really?!"
My grandmother continued, her gloves dripping, "Everything is hard to get!" Coincidentally, she said this as she grabbed a Kleenex out of a box to blow her nose.
"Stockings you have to get in line for too," my grandfather added.
"One pair! You have to stand in a big long line! And he would go there and wait for a pair for me," my grandmother said, and I smiled, imagining my grandfather standing in a long line of people for his wife, for a single pair of pantyhose.
I asked my grandfather how he could get a hold of so much Kleenex to give to my grandmother when it was so hard to get, while he was stationed in Pearl Harbor.
"That's because the Admiral could get anything for me. He said I could go to ship's service and buy something. Ship's service asked me, 'How many?' I said, 'I want the whole case!' and they shipped it for me!" He laughed proudly.
My grandmother said it just showed up on the doorstep of her apartment while she was at her job, working for Koret of California.