About fifteen years ago I read an article that said feathers are nearly indestructible, can be washed and dried and will last for years. Pretty well the only thing that can damage them is dampness. A few days later I was at an auction and bought a dirty, horrible looking bag of feathers for a dollar. I thought it was a great chance to see if they are indeed washable. Well, I washed them, dried them in the sun (although the dryer on low heat will work too) and was amazed to see that they were indeed clean and looking like new. I bought a piece of ticking and made my perfect pillow. All those feathers were softest down and since I like a small, soft pillow I now had exactly what I like.
Fast forward to our latest trip. I always travel with my precious pillow and am always afraid of leaving it in a hotel. I thought that I should put a bright pillow case on it so that it would be more obvious when we were packing. In the hustle and bustle of leaving I forgot. We stayed one night in Santa Fe at a Days Inn. The next evening as we were leaving Denver, I had a horrible sinking feeling that I had forgotten my pillow in Santa Fe. Sure enough, it was not in the car. We stopped at a Days Inn again that night, and I asked what their policy is on forgotten items. Apparently they keep everything they find for six months. The manager dialed the Santa Fe Days Inn and I talked to someone there. They didn't seem very interested in my pillow and it sounded doubtful that I would ever see it again. The perfect ending to this story would be that it suddenly arrived in the mail. That hasn't happened and I doubt that it will.
So I went to the thrift shop, bought a ratty looking old down coat, and to the fabric store for ticking. Today I ripped each section of the coat and put the feathers (most of them anyway, not counting the ones in my hair, nose and clothes) into a new pillow. Luckily, it was warm and calm enough to do it outside on the deck. Now I have a new pillow that is almost as good as the old one. In the unlikely event that I do make it back to Santa Fe within six months you can be sure that the first thing I will do is go looking for my old faithful pillow.