Friday, May 16, 2014

Inch Ten: Apron Up!

I recently read a post of Facebook about aprons. The gist of the post was about how women of a certain generation always wore them.

Both of my grandmothers were of that certain generation.

Grandma Nelson
Grandma Nelson, my dad's mother, always wore an apron when I was growing up. The only exceptions were when she was on her way into town (to the grocery, to church) or outside doing the dirty work a farm requires. Even after they sold the farm and moved to the outskirts of a small village, she'd often be in her apron. When we showed up for Sunday dinner, she'd be in the kitchen, sheathed in an apron, frying chicken and checking the beans. I even remember her in other kitchens, especially those of her sisters, with an apron on. Look back, I now wonder. Did she bring her own? Did she borrow one?

Grandma Skatzes, my mom's mother, wore an apron every single day from the time she got dressed in the morning to the time she went to bed. Oh, there are a few photos of her without an apron on special days—holidays, certain birthdays—but those are rare. And even in those photos, I suspect my aunt Ginger snatched off my grandmother's apron at the last minute for a "nice" photo.

I am an apron person myself, a habit I got into years ago after spotting more than one work outfit stepping into the kitchen and starting to cook. Now I reach for an apron automatically. On days when I am busy at home, I may wear the apron much of the day until I finally look down and realize I am still wearing it.

I have two aprons that are my go-to aprons. There's the blue United Way one, with spacious pockets. It hits me mid-thigh. There is a longer one, almost to my knees, no pockets, but striped with colorful lines. The striped one is 38 years old, a relic of the year at college when I worked in the campus coffee shop, the C Shop.

I have another apron that I keep hanging, but rarely put on. The cloth is faded purple flowers, with pistachio green trim. It has some stains on it. These are old stains. It has pockets, smaller than my blue apron, but big enough. It barely covers my hips, but that may because of its origin, as its original owner was much smaller.
Grandma Skatzes

That apron was one of the last existing aprons belonging to my Grandma Skatzes. It is handmade, most likely sewn by my mother, who gave it to me after my grandmother died.

Grandma Skatzes has been dead 36 years, Grandma Nelson 32 years. All those aproned sisters of Grandma Nelson are gone too. My mother only occasionally wore aprons, usually hostess aprons that tied around the waist and were worn more for style than anything. My aunt Ginger never wore aprons either.

But there must be an apron gene there somewhere that skipped a generation and landed on me.

I have been known to say "Apron up!" to friends. And sometimes I say it under my breath when I get ready to bake.

My grandmothers would have been pleased.


Cindy Walsh said...

I love your blog!

see you there! said...

I have a few aprons and never think to wear them. That might account for the grease spots on every tee shirt I own. My Grandmother always wore one, just as yours did.


Jennifer said...

I love this! I love aprons not only for their practical usage, but also because putting one on kind of means okay we're getting down to business. Unfortunately, I have an apron I'm not fond of. Maybe I should find some nice vintage fabric and make one that I love, so I can put myself in Grandma mode.

Carol Faulkner said...

Aprons..............what a topic. You have made me cry. My grandmother, then aunt, then mother never made themselves one unless they made me one.