Monday, November 16, 2009

The History of Aprons

I don't think our kids today know what an apron is.

The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath. Because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses, and they used less material. But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids. And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove. Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls. Or she would husk ears of corn on the porch, and bring the corn into the kitchen to dump into the sink to rinse before cooking.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees, or pecans that needed shelling.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that "old-time apron" that served so many purposes. In the meantime, the memory of it can be a good history lesson for those who have no idea how the apron played a part in our lives.

Remember: Grandma used to set her hot baked apples pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

People would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.

I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron but love.


Angelia Sparrow said...

I have discovered a love of aprons as I am a MESSY cook. I am in the process of making a few since I have a LOT of cloth.

My kids and grandkids will have an apron-wearing grandma, even if she is a suburban trucker and not a farm granny.

margaret blake said...

I think I need an apron, all my clothes have bleach spashes on them! Grandma knew best, must remember to buy one when I go to the market.