Friday, March 9, 2012

Aprons: Last Month's Articel in Two Lane Livin'

I thought I should start sharing the articles I write monthly for Two Lane Livin' on this blog. I hope you enjoy the most recent one

Aprons


How many women wear an apron in the kitchen today, I wonder? My mother’s apron was part of her morning getting-dressed routine. The apron went on as soon as she buttoned her dress, and it stayed on until late afternoon. Then she would get dinner started and go upstairs to brush her hair, put on makeup and take off her apron in preparation for my father’s homecoming from work.

I wore an apron regularly as a young wife but over the years the apron and the housedress went to the wayside and jeans, flannel shirts and tee-shirts became my daily wear. I suppose it was a sensible change; I was outside a lot as we built our house and got our small farm going. I worked beside my husband in those days as we gathered wood, cleared brush and built fences and outbuildings. Housework became secondary to the necessity of the outside chores.

My daily uniform changed again when I started working and going to college in my mid-thirties. I was still wearing jeans but they were in a lot better shape than my “work” jeans, and the shirts became a little dressier. Sometimes I even wore a skirt, a sure sign that I was leaving the farm work behind. As our sons grew up and moved out, we farmed less and less. The tobacco, cattle, sorghum and hay all became part of our past and we moved into a new era. I was home infrequently so the gardens became small patches and our flock of hens was the only livestock on the place. My extensive herb gardens slowly died out while I was too busy to pay attention. 

A gradual shift began about ten years ago. I began to miss the things I used to do. Slowly I added some of our former activities back to the daily routine. The gardens expanded, a new herb garden was added, we built a turkey house and added turkeys to the bird flock. Bees came next. 

Then the apron came back into my life. Raising more gardens meant more cooking and canning and that meant more time in the kitchen. The practicality of the apron was immediately apparent and I was fortunate enough to find a few at yard sales. When my granddaughters came to visit, they wanted to wear an apron in the kitchen too as they helped with cooking and baking. At the annual gathering with my sisters to make fruitcake, everyone began showing up with aprons as part of the supplies they carried in for baking day.

The humble garment has made a comeback in my family. I now have an apron for every day of the week and then some. I have small ones for granddaughters and manly ones for grandsons. I have pretty spring ones and holiday ones. Each time I tie an apron around my waist, I think of my mother, busy in her kitchen as she cooked for thirteen children. I wonder how many other women have rediscovered the pleasure of wearing a pretty flowered apron as they cook for their families today?

6 comments:

Rowan said...

I'm wearing an apron right now! I'm just waiting for the first part of Caribbean Chicken to cook in the oven then I'll be making the sauce and cooking rice to go with it. I invariably wear in apron when I cook and have quite a few. Two have African animals on them and have come as presents from my granddaughters. All are large practical affairs rather than pretty afternoon tea aprons I'm afraid:)

Ronda said...

Delightful! Takes me back to a less stressful time. And memories. Attempting to create that same heartfelt environment here, re-inventing a time when food was real and people sat at the table to enjoy and appreciate the meal, the company, the moment.
Have I mentioned I much I loved our meeting, and our outing?! And have you heard about the crimes there lately? Awful!!!

Granny Sue said...

I see the prettiest aprons for sale in vintage shops and I wonder what are earth they were for--I guess they're tea aprons :) They're frilly and lacy and no one would want to get stains on them! Here in the states there were cocktail aprons from the heyday of the mixed-drink era, but those were just for "decoration" too, not to seriously protect clothes. It would have helped guests identify their hostess!

Nance said...

I don't wear aprons often, Sue, but I sure honor them. I have two aprons that were my dear mother-in-law's and one bibbed one JUST like what my grandmother wore! Same print and everything. I have a "grocery store" apron my sister made for me when I was co-proprietor of a little grocery. (Can you picture one of those from the turn of the century?) I have the tiniest little one for the littlest granddaughter. And some in between. Also, I have my Mama's fancy handkerchiefs . . . hhmm . . . there's another blog for another day!

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

I have a life-long friend that is in her eighties that never gave up the tradition of wearing an apron around during cleaning and preparing meals. She too has quite a collection from homespun to dressier types. I always remember my mom and her daily aprons till the day she died. Loved your history of "growing" a farm. Great post! -- barbara

B. WHITTINGTON said...

Don't have any aprons but I love them. They were a staple of my mom and mother in law. I had a few when we first got married and wore them for a short time. As you said, jeans and casual shirts replaced those cotton house dresses and we dropped the apron habit.
Still, I'd like to have one or two for old times sake.
Thanks for sharing this.
Blessings, Barb

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