Thirty-six years ago today, Minnesotans thrust the first Homer Hanky skyward as Gary Gaetti stepped up to the plate.

As Gaetti hit the first of his two home runs in Game 1 of the playoffs, the air inside the Metrodome filled with 60,000 flailing white handkerchiefs that the hometown newspaper had handed out for free before the game. It was Oct. 7, 1987.

In the stands, Terrie Robbins watched the stadium erupt in fluttering fabric.

"Oh, my God," she said. "It worked."

Robbins, the mother of all Homer Hankies, came up with the idea, the name and the tenacity to convince her bosses at the Star Tribune to shell out $200,000 — the equivalent of more than half a million dollars today — to celebrate the Twins' first playoff appearance since the Nixon administration.

That first home run transmuted the Homer Hanky into something more than just a nice promotion. Suddenly that little scrap of cloth held all our hopes and dreams, and Minnesotans could not get enough.

"It was one big wonderful blur," said Robbins, who soon had 14 printing shops churning out Homer Hankies around the clock to keep up with demand.

"We had to bring them in in armored cars and put them in our safe," she said, as the Twins kept winning and the fans kept waving. Maybe the Twins would have made it to the World Series without Hanky encouragement. But no one was willing to take that risk.

People lined up around the old Star Tribune building, waiting patiently for hours for a chance to buy a Homer Hanky — limit two per fan. Although fans pushed the limit.

Robbins remembers one fan who waited patiently in line with a baby, collected four Hankies — two for her, two for the baby — then returned to the back of the line to go through again.

"We said, 'Ooh, let's see your baby!'" Robbins said. "She had it covered up because it was kind of cold." Sheepishly, the woman pulled back the blanket to reveal a doll.

The Twins won the '87 World Series and the Hankies became part of the fabric of life in this state. People sewed them into pillows, stitched them into quilts and tucked them into their sleeves on wedding days.

You can find grainy copies of the Homer Hanky theme song — set to the tune of "Hanky Panky" by Tommy James and the Shondells — online, featuring some of the happiest Minnesotans you've ever seen in your life.

Construction workers waved Hankies at worksites, nuns waved it around the convent, a pilot waved it from the cockpit of a jet. Someone tied a Hanky to their dog's wagging tail.

For one glorious playoff run, Minnesotans set aside everything that usually divides us and came together under one handkerchief.

My baby waves the Homer Hanky …

There are babies in the video, swaddled in Homer Hankies. Babies who are 36 years old now are ready for their team to make it to a World Series they can actually remember.

Because the Twins are in the playoffs and there is a 2023 Homer Hanky that fans are waving so hard, the players on the field can feel the breeze.

"The first few games against Toronto, the atmosphere was just incredible," said Matt Hoy, senior vice president of operations for the Twins. "Everybody was up and moving [their Hankies]. The electricity in the building was just fantastic … reminiscent of the energy that was there in '87 and '91."

Those fans back in '87 had endured years of heartbreak and disappointment, too. But that's not what you see on their faces in the old footage, as they danced their way through postseason, wearing their hearts on their Hankies.

They let themselves hope, because we all deserve the hope, joy and fun of postseason play. Today at least, this whole fractured state is on the same team.

Happy Homer Hankyversary to all who celebrate. Go Twins!