Friday, April 12, 2013
Momma's Apron Forward by Mary E. LaLuna Recently I was driving up Red Arrow Highway from New Buffalo Michigan to St. Joseph Michigan, just enjoying a nice Saturday afternoon with my sweetie. We had no intention of wandering into the local antique shoppes, as it has never really been anything that we have done together. Now and then, I enjoy walking into a neat orderly antique shoppe, but typically stay away from them. Except when I was in Cold Spring, New York a year or so ago, I have never been in one with Steve. This time was different. Something called to us from a little shop called "Days of Yore Antiques." It is a quaint little store tended to with a great deal of love as you can tell by the strategic placement of doodads, and other antique finery. As we moved from the beautiful treasures in the front of the store towards the back (I was quickly moving towards the blue glass) I saw them, Aprons! What drew my attention to them was the pink and lime green gingham check ones with fine needle work around the bottom. Now any reader that graduated from King Upper Grade Center in Kankakee, aka, East Junior High School, would remember (that is if they were in middle school prior to 1980) making an apron in Home Economics, along with chocolate soufflé and other delicacies (?). It wasn’t until I visited Connie Yore's Antique Store, did I come to value the rationale behind the making of an apron in middle school home ec. I carefully searched through all of the finely starched aprons, aprons of every style, need and occasion. I remembered the yellow gingham fabric that I was given. I remembered the cross stitch, the French knot, the chain stitch. I remembered that you would have to get it just right, or carefully take the stitches back out and start over. I came across fancy aprons worn over the evening wear. There were satin black ones, ones made of lace stitched together with rows of ribbons. They were beautiful. There were aprons that dated even my now deceased grandmothers. Again, I was in an antique shop, which explained the antiquated selections. I wondered as I picked each one up, touched the aged fabric, realizing the life, the beauty, and fantasizing the stories that were woven into each delicate piece of fabric. Which one would I choose? Which one would hold a story for me to share to you my reader? I further questioned, does anybody wear an apron anymore for the reasons that Beaver’s Mom and our grandmothers did? Have aprons just become some silly way for the BBQ chef to beg for commentaries from the salivating crew waiting to be fed, “the best darn BBQ ribs in said county!” It didn’t matter I was entranced by a by-gone day. I needed to have an apron of my own. Maybe I would begin the tradition in my own home. Maybe, my new Granddaughter would be exposed to the beauty of MEME’s apron. I suddenly longed for the apron my deceased sister-in-law gave all of the women of the family one Christmas. An Avon Christmas plaid, it was of the pinafore variety. I recalled a picture of me standing in my kitchen, the same kitchen that I spent making the chocolate soufflé that was taught to us right after embroidering that yellow gingham apron, but this time a young mother. I dug out that old Polaroid photo of me again I remembered the value of the apron. I remembered wearing that regularly, cleaning up spills, wiping hands, but what I remembered the most was wearing it like a princess gown as I danced with my son. We stood next to the stove it was there that I danced a dance of love. Now I know how important that dance was. I did not understand the value then. I could not see that I was the most beautiful woman he knew. I know now that as he hugged me tight, his love was embracing the garment that made me look beautiful to him. “Sugar pie honey bunch you know that I love you!” I sang that to him, and it garnered me a kiss. A sweet little prince-like kiss accompanied with angelic pursed lips. What I would give to be once again dancing with him. The apron that I chose, a delicate yellow voile one with simple adornments perfectly starched in spite of the wear and literal tear on the front. That was the one I wanted, it was transparent, it was well used. It is much like me, flawed, practical, useful but a little fancy too. Please enjoy the story of Momma’s Apron written by Connie Yore of Days of Yore Antiques , St. Joseph, Michigan. When entering Momma’s kitchen, you were handed an apron that was starched and ironed to perfection. It was one of many of a collection that matched every color scheme. Everyone who helped her had to wear an apron – it made her feel in charge! The apron had many uses besides protecting the dress. Momma would use hers to wipe away tears when a child was hurt, or sad. If she was a visitor coming down the walk, she would quickly take the edge of her apron and dust the table. She would always have an apron hanging on a nail in the pantry for a quick change to greet her “coffee” friends at the door. She would gather her apron around the handle of the large black skillet to carry it from the stove to the table. She also used her apron as a grip-enhancer for opening Mason jars. The porch was a good place to visit in the evening. If a chill was in the air Mamma would gather her apron around her arms. It also helped ward off those pesky mosquitoes. The everyday aprons were used as carryalls for vegetables from the garden, wood from the shed, eggs from the henhouse, and fruit from the trees. Mamma also used it to carry laundry to the bedrooms. The fancy aprons were used for serving at the Ladies Aid, church suppers, weddings and yes, funerals. I hope you enjoy this apron and all of the memories that go with it! **as I reread this, and shared it with you, my own memories of aprons, and the women who wore them in my life came rushing in. Please send me your memories. I will reprint them as they come in.