There’s a Facebook post that pops up in my Facebook memories that I have shared over years, “History of Aprons”. It popped up again today, shared it again and intended to write about it. It reminds me of my grandmothers.
I virtually shot to the pantry to unearth my collection (of never worn) aprons to hang on the makeshift line we’d strung up for beach towels. As I snapped a few photos, memories emerged like old Polaroids.
My early childhood was spent in the company of women, 2 great and 1 grandmother. These phenomenal women would leave such a profound legacy of womanhood, great and grand motherhood, that I would strive and falter to reach such grace and whose shoes would be hard to fill.
I struggle to find a memory of any one of them without an apron on. My greats wore full aprons, my grand in a half apron. I see them in kitchens, wiped with floured hands or damp hands from a sink full of suds. I see the hems used to retrieve hot pans from ovens or held up like baskets, full of green tomatoes from the garden. Aprons in the backyard, pockets filled with clothespins that clipped billowing sheets full of sunshine.
I see myself in those aprons…hiding beneath them, tugging at their strings, my dirty face wiped, my tears and on summer days, lifting me from a soapy tub on the backporch and wrapped within their folds. Perhaps that’s why I collect them. They remind me of my grandmothers, my childhood, womanhood and home.
The strings were tied, it was freshly washed, and maybe even pressed.
For Grandma, it was everyday to choose one when she dressed.
The simple apron that it was, you would never think about;
the things she used it for, that made it look worn out.
She may have used it to hold some wildflowers that she’d found.
Or to hide a crying child’s face when a stranger came around.
Imagine all the little tears that were wiped with just that cloth.
Or it became a potholder to serve some chicken broth.
She probably carried kindling to stoke the kitchen fire.
To hold a load of laundry, or to wipe the clothesline wire.
When canning all her vegetables, it was used to wipe her brow.
You never know, she might have used it to shoo flies from the cow.
She might have carried eggs in from the chicken coop outside.
Whatever chore she used it for, she did them all with pride.
When Grandma went to heaven, God said she now could rest.
I’m sure the apron that she chose, was her Sunday best.
-by Tina Trivett-