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Monday, August 30, 2010

Apron Chronicles

The other day while at the laundromat, I watched a woman walk in, carrying her basket of clothes. She wore a clean, light blue house dress with tiny floral print, and a crisp white apron with pockets was tied firmly around her waist. Her brown hair was pulled back into a low pony tail, but wisps of hair had escaped and fell forward. With wire rimmed glasses perched on her nose, she went about the business at hand of sorting the clothes, spraying any spots with stain remover, and putting the clothes in various washers. She poured bleach in, added some kind of powder detergent,  and went back and added something else. She was so involved with this job of washing clothes. It seemed important to her. And she seemed content. She probably wasn’t much older than me; yet she appeared older by the clothes she wore. It was a breath of fresh air, really, a reminder of simpler times, when my Mom wore a house dress and an apron and baked every single day.

I thought about how nice it would be to wear an apron, with roomy  pockets to collect all the things I'd find during the day, all the odds and ends, like a paper clip, pens, coins, etc.  The pockets would also a good place to keep a kleenex, especially during a bad cold!

I am a MESSY cook. I always seem to splash a little bit of this or that on my clothes as I stir, mix, or fold the ingredients. Grease splatters on my shirt, spaghetti sauce sputters, and fried eggs talk back! If I wore an apron I would save a LOT of clothes and heartache on laundry day! I keep saying that I will buy one, yet I never do.

In my post on Flashback Friday, I spoke about the Grace Museum in Abilene, Texas.


 Their visiting exhibition was this wonderful exhibit entitled, "Apron Chronicles". Two large ropes were hung criss-cross spanning the large room, with 300 aprons clothes-pinned to them!

Special Holiday aprons

With blurry eyes, a thick lump in my throat, and memories of my Mom weighing heavily on my mind, I gazed lovingly at the delicate pieces of fabric hanging before me. There were all kinds of aprons, from downright fancy that you wouldn't want to spill ANYTHING on, to everyday aprons.


The exhibit is based on the book, "Apron Chronicles" by EllynAnne Geisel.




EllynAnne collected stories in this wonderful little book about people and their relationship with aprons, their memories of their moms, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, etc., wearing aprons and the chores that they did like gathering eggs in the folds of the apron, sticking fresh picked vegetables in the pockets, wearing certain aprons for doing the washing, etc. Kristina Loggia took the photographs in the book, which are gorgeous.

The above photos of the aprons are courtesy of www.apronchronicles.com . No cameras were allowed in the exhibit. I recommend you click on the link to get a glimpse into the book, read some of the pages, and feel the warmth and love that this book exudes.

This video is a little long, but quite interesting, of the exhibit. Please watch it - you will surely enjoy it!



And finally, when my Mom died in 2000, I grabbed a couple of her old aprons, her banged up old measuring cups and some of her other cooking utensils, and put together a shadow box for all my siblings. I cut pieces of her apron and put it over a batting for the background, then placed a hand-written recipe card, a picture of Mom sitting in the kitchen, and some of the above pieces on the apron. Even though I am NOT a crafty person, I was happy with the way it turned out. My sister took this picture for me of her shadow box - mine is packed away. If you look closely, you can see that on the recipe card, my Dad added his two cents! It says, "Try 6 first".

24 comments:

Missy said...

That is a beautiful idea! I love this! I love aprons...

Steven Anthony said...

How wonderful. I am very much into family history/memories. I hope you enjoyed your day and even more your memories of your beautiful mother ;)

hugs

Brian Miller said...

sounds like some great memories attached there...i remember my mom wearing an apron but i dont think we have one in the house..

Bonnie said...

Wonderful way to preserve and display memories Pat. Aprons really seem to have gone out of fashion - and I have grease spots on many blouses, acquired while cooking. A terrific idea for a book - thanks for the heads up about it!

Pat said...

I'm upset to see that my link to the video didn't show up! Darn it! Here's the link! It's worth the view!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QKxFTp3huM

Eva Gallant said...

My mother always wore an apron,too. Which is probably why her closthes lasted much longer than mine!

Mama Zen said...

I love the shadow box! What a fabulous idea.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Love the shadow box! It was a labor of love and it shows. I have aprons and I need to use them! I have ruined many clothes while cooking.

Levonne said...

Pat,
What you have written in this post in an inspiration. What a good writer you are! I love the idea of your mother's apron in the art piece. I have my ex-husband's grandmother's apron. She made many and I took one at her death. She was such a precious individual. Anyway, thank you for coming by my blog, A Camp Host Housewife's Meanderings, and leaving your comments. I wish I could see the apron exhibit!

Gail said...

I, too, am a child of the apron generation.

I love your memory/shadow box.

When my mom died, I took all her hand clipped and hand written recipes, placed them in photo albums along with pictures of Mom. Now the granddaughters all have Grandma's Cookbook and each one is different.

Wendy said...

Lovely, Pat! Absolutely lovely!
The Shadow Box is such a Wonderful idea! Wish i had thought of something like that to use some of my Grandmother's things with...
=-)

Karen said...

Fantastic idea! I love old aprons, got a bunch of my Gma's, I buy them at garage sales, can't seem to stop. Thanks for a great post.

misslynda said...

My grandmother taught me to iron. The first thing my sister and I had to "perfect" was ironing her aprons - - - - first they got "sprinkled" with water, set in the refrigerator so they wouldn't mildew, and then ironed when time allowed. The ironing board was by some windows that looked over the creek and into a meadow.

Bossy Betty said...

What a beautiful idea. I have a weakness for aprons too. Thanks for a wonderful post!

Valerie said...

I have many pretty aprons but they're all lying in the drawer, unused but not unloved. I guess easy to wash modern materials are responsible for the apron's demise.

becky said...

Pat,
This was such a WONDERFUL post!!! I loved the way you described the woman in the laundromat... you indeed should write a book! And, might I add, you are crafty... I think we all are... it's just practice & doing it! What a lovely gift for your sibs & beautiful tribute to your mom as well.
I love the idea of simpler times. Now, as women... we do the working, AND the cooking, the cleaning, and the EVERYTHING it seems... giving us precious little time to do the things we love.

becky said...

ps-
now you've done it! you're post was on my mind when I went to the farmer's market today... I had my eye on a particularly colorful apron they sell there (for the past 2 years...) today I bought it!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Great post Pat! I had to enlarge the shadow box picture to see what your dad said "try 6 first" about. Obvious they were a great team. The shadow box idea was a wonderful one.

Like you, I never wear aprons, even tho I'm a messy cook too. Sometimes I try to remember to change clothes to something old if I'm cooking spaghetti sauce !

Anika Sweetfaced Style said...

love this post!

am following you now :)

welcome to enjoy and follow at www.sweetfacedstyle.blogspot.com

<3 Anika

Entre Nous said...

Definately crafty, the shadow boxes are near perfection. I had to travel over to the apron link, its great, reminds me of my White Trash Cook Books. Down home stuff but the aprons. Definately would not want to spill anythng on most!

WhisperingWriter said...

Nice idea!

I like aprons, but I imagine I'd forget to put one on since I just want to get the cooking over with.

Ed said...

I wish my wife wore aprons.

And nothing else.

Hell, I just wish she would cook.

SquirrelQueen said...

I'm glad I read through the comments and saw the link to the video. That is really good. EllynAnne is an interesting woman and she is really passionate about aprons.

I love that shadowbox, what a wonderful idea.

Ruth said...

Pat!

Is this the same Pat?

I'm sorry, I'm just so used to laughing when I get here, and laughing some more, that this touching and beautiful memory post about aprons has me all verklempt. As I read your words about aprons I wondered why on earth I don't wear one. I just gathered beans today, and apron pockets would have been right handy.

Your shadow box project is a beautiful gift of love. The photo of your mom is so cute, and the recipe card with your dad's two cents, all of it is perfect. I would gaze on it every day and feel I was reconnected with her.

Precious!