Monday, August 19, 2013

Aprons ...

Marlene Terry
When I think of my grandmother the image of her standing on the front porch at our little house on 3rd South always comes to mind.

By the time I got to know her, she was already old. At least that's what I thought. Her hair, long and snow white, was always twisted into a plain, no fuss bun and her face was free from makeup. She also wore those sturdy (and always black) grandma shoes, and never appeared in public without them or without ... her apron.

You know. Aprons used to be standard fare for a lady of the house. The purpose? To keep the wearer's dresses (the one or two they owned) unspotted and tidy.
Funny I think, that I really don't remember what any of Grandma's dresses looked like. But her aprons? Unforgettable.

She preferred the olden days cobbler type — made, many times, from recycled flour sacks. Now and then however, when there was extra money to spend she'd sew one up from a bright-colored floral print.
Grandma's aprons slipped over her head, had one or two HUGE pockets in front and tied in a bow in the back. But it was how she used her aprons, far beyond the purpose they were intended for, that I remember most.

I learned early on that an apron can be a handy basket. Pull the bottom ends together with one hand and use the other to fill the space with apples, or tomatoes, cucumbers and melons from the garden.
Grandma's apron also served her as a hand towel when she needed dry hands or a rag to clean off the counter, a hot pad for removing her delicious pies and raisin-filled cookies from the oven, an arm and hand warmer so she could wrap up, stand on the porch and visit with neighbors on chilly days, and when necessary, a handkerchief for a child's runny nose.

When bad news came, Grandma's apron became twisted and strained to relieve the stress she felt. It also covered her face to hide and dry the tears that flowed both, when her heart was full of joy and/or challenges just got to be  more than she could bear.

That being said, after decades when the apron has had little or no purpose and place in modern-day life, I'm pleased to report the trend towards them seems to be returning.

... Just a few days ago I watched from my window and saw a neighbor standing on her front porch using an apron, of-all-things, to wave goodbye to loved ones who were leaving after a few days visit. 
... And yes, she also dabbed away some tears before going back inside.

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