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Friday, January 23, 2009

Aprons and Bonnets

Well, today I received the following email from a friend of mine. She said it sounded like me and wondered if I had written it. Well,, No I did not write it but it brought back so many memories of both my grandmothers I wrote my own version below it.

The History of APRONS

I don't think our kids or grandkids 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.
In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.
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.
Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool, now her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw after taking them from the freezer.
Some people today 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 though........but love!!

Send this to those who would know, and love, the story about Grandma's aprons. Or it can be a good history lesson for those that have no idea how the apron played a part in our lives.

When I think of my Grandmothers I think Aprons and Bonnets. They both wore them. The only time I remember my maternal Grandmother (Ma Swift) took off her apron was to go to bed or to go to church or when we had company. She didnt wear the full apron. She only wore a half apron which mean it tied around her waist and there was no top on it. I never remember the top of her dress being dirty though. She would make her own aprons. I suspect Ma Swift only wore the half aprons because it took only one chop sack to make an apron.

Now, before you ask chop sacks in those days were made from printed material and they held chopped up feed for the animals. After the feed was emptied she would wash up the sacks and use them to make some of our clothes. One chop sack would make a blouse or a skirt or apron and two would make a dress. White chop sacks were used to make undergarments. She would save the scraps for her quilts.

As the article above states aprons were used for many things. When we would go to gather eggs she would gather the eggs in her apron. If we went to gather apples she would have an apron full of apples. If she went to the garden the ripe vegetables would be in her apron. If she was stringing beans the ends and strings went in her apron before being dumped in a bucket for the hogs.

One of my favorite memories about her apron was the pocket. Her aprons always had a pocket on the outside and one on the inside. When her apron got dirty she would wear it inside out and she always had a pocket. That pocket held all of her valuables, her handkerchief, a bobby pin or two, maybe a safety pin, or a loose button. The inside pocket held another handkerchief with loose change tied into the corner. Her paper money was under her mattress.

Whenever I got into trouble and my mother was after me for something she would hold out her apron and say "Get under my apron tail" and then she would wrap me in her apron so I didn't get spanked.

My Granny Holloway always wore the full apron and she always wore a bonnet wherever she went. Her dresses were always long sleeved. She made all her bonnets too. I can remember her with a brown paper poke pattern and a pair of scissors cutting out a new bonnet from one of those chop sacks. The best part about my grandmothers were they were very close friends. They spent a lot of time together and if one was picking blackberries or making apple butter or working in the garden you would find the other one there too. They loved to make soap together. Even with an age difference of twenty years they were more like sisters than like in-laws.

You have seen this photo before but I never get tired of looking at it.

I have an apron too and it is a special apron. It is one my grandaughters made me a few years ago. They machine embroidered a bouquet of flowers on the top to let me know how much they loved me. I love it and even though I don't wear it every day as my grandmother did, it is one of my prized possessions.

That's it for today. I will be back when I find my bonnet.


Gypsy said...

I can still see my grandma in her garden, wearing her sunbonnet, and carrying vegetables in her apron.

Anonymous said...

Jenny, Mr. Alfie and I want to tell you how much your stories of "home" mean to us.. As I told you at Branson, Mr. Alfie was born in Kentucky, and he relates to so much of the stories you tell. Brings back such memories to him! Have to admit, brings tears to our eyes more times than I would like to tell. His "big Mommy" wore aprons, just like you described.. and Mr. Alfie was her "bright shinning star". He misses her more than I can tell you. So your stories bring it all back to him.. thank you so much.. from us both. with our love... Mr and Miss Alfie

Mac and Netters said...

Jenny that is such a great story. It really brings back memories of my own grandmothers. They lived in a small town in Missouri and at one time, right across the street from one another. I spent many hours just running back and forth across the street to spend as much time as possible with them on my short two week yearly vacations.

Joe and Sherri said...

I did not know my grandmothers but my Mom wore aprons over a dress. Yes she wore a dress most all the time. I don't remember my Mom wearing pants of shorts until I was well into my 40's. I guess she changed with the times. Thanks JJ for bringing back those memories.

Joe and Sherri

JB said...

Yep aprons were special things and your stories bring back a lot of memories. You should start a journal that captures your memories they will mean a lot to those grandkids someday. My father has done that and although it is not completed and probably never will be while he is around, it is already a much anticipated treasure.