Stephanie Pearce: Grandma’s apron

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Stephanie Pearce

I read a post on Facebook the other day about a grandmother’s apron, and it made me smile as I thought of my Grandma’s aprons. I always have loved aprons, and today I enjoy sewing old time lookalikes. When I was little, a family friend made me a special little apron to wear at the restaurant my parents ran for a while. It had big pockets and I could fit many things in them. This was not where my fascination for aprons started, however. It started with my grandmas. They were seldom seen without theirs.

Grandmas nowadays are very different from the grandmas I grew up with. My grandmas lived through the Great Depression and world wars. They didn’t have jobs, televisions or other kinds of electronic devices to occupy their attention and time. They treated me a little different, too. I knew they enjoyed my company, but they didn’t spoil me like most grandparents do today. They were strict and wanted to make sure I learned my manners. If I didn’t, I was whipped or wacked with a walking stick (not a cane; a stick that reached what seemed all the way across the room!).

I know, it sounds terrible. I may have thought so at the time, but today I look back and chuckle about it. My children are lucky to have a different relationship with their grandmothers, but I feel that they will miss out on all the love I knew in Grandma’s apron.

My Grandma’s apron was worn every day. She had a few, but mostly put them over the same pink-and-blue striped dress. She made her aprons from the cotton sacks that flour came in. They had beautiful prints on them. She wore them with purpose, and they definitely served their purpose.

Grandma used her apron like it was an extension of her. When she was doing dishes she would sometimes dry them with her apron. When she went to do laundry, her apron held the clothespins. She used its pocket to hold eggs she had gathered and the kittens she was bottle feeding. Her apron even could be used to wipe the snot off a calf’s nose. Don’t worry — she changed it before drying the dishes again!

She would often hide treats like peanut brittle in the pockets to munch on throughout the day and would sneak me one once in a while. I remember her apron being covered in white when she would let me help her knead the large batch of dough for the bread she was baking. I remember the apron being between me and her when we hugged.

Her apron was definitely a part of who she was. To me it was like a superhero’s cape, but worn on the front.

Grandmas nowadays may not wear their aprons every day, but they have their own traditions that grandkids will look back and remember fondly. I am just so thankful that I saw those aprons work so hard and love so much. I’ll remember my Grandma’s aprons every time I sew one.

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