Saturday, November 28, 2009

Apron Strings

LJL, thank you for reminding me of the little babies in a blanket that my mother, too, made for her little girls. Now I need to get one of my son's hankies, so I can make one for my granddaughters to see. I think Mom also made babies in a cradle. Not sure if this was the same as the babies in a blanket.

Coincidentally, yesterday I received an email with an article about aprons. Wow, did that bring back the memories! Mother, along with the other moms, aunts and grandmothers, all wore aprons when I was a child.

I remember standing in Mom Johnson's kitchen cooking around the big oak table that demanded its space in the middle of the room. Aprons hung by the backroom door (along with the bonnets) where everyone could grab one and set to the task of cooking. Aunt Welma, Mom J. and Mother, in uniform, moved to an invisibly choreographed dance, cooking, preparing the table and never once running into one another. I was small enough to smell the wonderful aromas that filled those aprons.

The article brought up the fact that aprons were probably worn to protect one of the few dresses that women owned back then. We didn't do laundry often and had few pieces of clothing. I don't know if we did the 'sniff and wear' test, but I know that we did wear clothing longer than one day. It went along with the bathes taken less than every day. That's another topic. So Mom in her apron protected a dress, and gave me visions of home.

Aprons were used as hot pad holders when transporting a pie from stove to table. They could carry produce from the garden to the kitchen. An apron was a great rag to wave spooking an escapee cow back to the barnyard. A few eggs could be carried in an apron as well as a few precious morels. Tears could be erased, hands dried, a warm handle on a pan grasped by a hand protected by an apron.

When I was married, I bought pretty, crisp aprons for the servers to wear. Pretty aprons that couldn't catch a spill much less dry a tear. My mother had several of these aprons as well from weddings past. If I suggested to my future daughter-in-law that we buy aprons for servers, her reply would be, "What servers? Aprons!?!?!" Yes, the wedding apron has gone by the wayside along with doilies, embroidered pillow cases and, yes, the handkerchief.

I purchased old aprons at estate sales for my granddaughters to wear when painting. My son has an apron for cooking over the grill. I have an apron for cooking in the closet (not really cooking in the closet but hanging in the closet for cooking) Hm. I don't like to cook. I don't use the apron.

I made my first apron in 4-H about 55 years ago. I packed it around for years before deciding I would never wear it again. It was white with black polka dots and pockets across the front handy for toting kitchen utensils and envelopes when I went for the mail. For the life of me, I can't remember anything ever finding its way to the apron pockets.

The saying "tied to the apron strings" is no longer valid. Evidently we have become tidier cooks no longer of using these pieces of cloth. The tenderness of a mother's touch wiping a brow or drying a tear with her apron is gone. The smell of the kitchen no longer lies hidden in the cloth. But the memories of the women in my family wearing a well-worn apron, tied in back with a neat bow continues to bring a smile to my face and abundant memories.

I guess I am still tied to the apron strings.

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