Friday, May 25, 2018
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Mary Alice Powell

So many pillow styles to choose from


Mary Alice Powell.

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Why so many pillows?

When I go to bed at night, there are six pillows to deal with. Two of the pillows are dressed in fancy shams. The other four are filled with varying degrees of firm and soft materials.

Depending on how tired I am, or disgusted with the array of pillows, determines where the two sham-covered pillows are placed, or thrown, for the night.

The other four are stacked with the soft ones on one side and the firm on the other, depending on whether I want to crash or watch TV.

One good habit that I have kept all my life no doubt stemmed from growing up in small quarters in a rooming house: I always make my bed.

Then again, I have to deal with all of those pillows and place them just right. I admit to adding a doll to the arrangement. At any age women like dolls.

The pillow overkill is not only a bedtime and morning nuisance, but it adds to the laundry and to the shopping. Sheet sets do not come with four and six pillowcases.

Multiple pillows are also popular on sofas. Two or more pillows are included on almost every sofa in stores. Usually they are not anything you would select, but they are included, like them or not. It is common now for hotels and motels to dress beds with several pillows. Because they are chosen to stand up against the headboard for show, they are usually very firm so I always take my own soft pillow.

Is the abundance of pillows for looks, comfort, or both? 

Remember when we had the same pillow for years and knew exactly where the best soft spots were and where we might get poked with a feather?

My dear mother made my favorite pillow. The cover is striped ticking and I want to believe she gathered the chicken feathers at my grandparents’ farm. It’s heavy and a real treasure.

Until my curiosity took me into pillow departments in stores, I was quite content with my assortment that ranges in size and firmness. Now I am not so sure because what I sleep on, according to what is available, is outdated. I learned that fashion designers Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren are in the pillow business and that there are pillows that claim to keep people cooler with a special fabric. Other styles are claimed to give warmth. Neither the cool nor the warm pillows I saw were electric.

Some labels state the pillow is designed for comfort whether we sleep on our side, our stomach, or our back. For stomach sleepers are pillows with medium support; back sleepers, firm support, and side sleepers, extra support. Manufacturers must believe that people stay in the same position all night because I did not see any pillow labeled for those of us who move from side, to back, to stomach, and back again several times during the night.

The Calvin Klein Duet design with two chambers is intriguing. The inner chamber is feathers and is firmer than the outer chamber of down. People who are really into down can spend $129.95 for a firm down pillow, the top of the line in one Toledo store.

The smartest style on the market just might be the memory pillow that molds to an individual’s contour and is a top seller among the more costly choices. It very likely has a keener memory than the person using it.

Here’s one more pillow tip: If your pillows are two years old, or older, the rule is to throw them out and buy new ones.

Mary Alice Powell is a retired Blade food editor. Contact her at:

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