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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Grandma's Apron

I took much of what follows from an e-mail I received. I would give credit to the person who wrote it if I knew who he/she was; although I did edit the piece and add to it. The subject was especially interesting to me, because the novel I'm in the process of writing is set in a time when aprons were an integral part of a woman's wardrobe.

The principle use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress worn underneath. She probably didn’t have many clothes in her closet, if she was even lucky enough to have a closet. Aprons also lightened her load when doing laundry since it was easier to wash an apron than a long-sleeved, full-skirted dress. In a pinch Grandma's apron served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven, or as a dust rag for the parlor table when she saw unexpected company coming up the road.

Aprons were wonderful for drying children's tears or cleaning dirty ears, and they made great hiding places for a shy child being introduced to a stranger.

When Grandma returned from the chicken coop, she carried eggs in her apron, fussy chicks, or half-hatched eggs to be finished in a box behind the stove. Walking from her garden to the house, she cradled  all sorts of vegetables in that apron, apples and peaches in the fall. After shelling the peas she picked, she used her apron to take the hulls to the compost pile. She also hauled wood chips and kindling in that apron.

Most young people have never seen an apron except in pictures. Grandma used hers to set the pies she baked on the window sill to cool. Today's housewives set the pies they buy at the supermarket on the counter to thaw. Obsessed with organic, today’s cooks would go crazy trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.

I don't think I ever caught anything from Grandma’s apron, nor from the one my mother always wore; nothing, that is, except love.

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