Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Apron Society

I read recently in a magazine that aprons are making a comeback. Apparently even some of the most popular clothing stores are selling them. This got me to thinking about the women in my family.

I am two generations removed from regular apron use. My own mother certainly never wore an apron. I think I remember my grandmother wearing aprons, but I can’t say for sure. Most of my memories are directly linked to photographs and I can’t think of any pictures of her with one on. But I have evidence that she must have used them at one time.

My fiancé and I are living in her house because she is in a nursing home. During the cleaning process after we moved in, I found two aprons in a drawer in the china cabinet. One was plain, made of dark paisley material, and the other was fancy, with yellow organza trim.

I have trouble imagining an apron society. Did the ladies wear aprons outside of the home? Why would you need different classes of aprons? It intrigues me.

So I tied on the plain apron over my jeans one afternoon while doing housework. When my fiancĂ© got home from work he deemed it “cute.” Plus, the pocket allows for keeping tissues and my cell phone handy.

9 comments:

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Actually, your mother HAS worn aprons--I used to wear them all the time as a kid, a teen and even as a young adult. And Grammy wore them constantly when she was younger. She used to have a red gingham one and it seems like she was never out of it. Aprons kept clothes clean(er) while cooking and working, and kept necessities handy. When company was coming, one wore lacy frilly ones. And then men, of course, had plainer ones for barebecuing. I have a picture of myself in an apron, I believe. At least one, maybe more.

jo(e) said...

My mother always wore an apron when she was baking and such. It was very practical -- kept her clothes clean. I think for a while women of my generation resisted wearing aprons because we hated the rigid stereotype of the woman in the apron always in the kitchen. But now aprons are making a comeback (they are practical, after all) and both men and women are wearing them. I like that.

peacorpus said...

I still wear aprons, everytime when I am in the kitchen (doing chores of course). I had recently asked my son to take a photo of me in an apron and sent it to a friend and told him that that was the domestic side of me. :-) And yes, it is very convenient for holding things while you are wearing them, including laundry pins(since I am almost always doing the laundry when I am in the kitchen and cooking simultaneously during the weekends that I feel very domesticated). Maybe we should write a book about the sisterhood of the travelling apron ;-)

Anonymous said...

Good idea peacorpus! That would be nice, stories about the travelling apron wherein life experiences will be related from one generation to the other, from one place to another.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

When cleaning at my mother's house, where my daughter and her fiance now live, we found a number of her aprons. Some wehre to old and stained to be useful and I found none of the ones I remembered. But we laid at least one for my daughter to consider that had belonged to my mother. It was the kind tied around the waist. For me, the more practical kind cover the top as well, and have roomy pockets.

Erin said...

I like the ones that tie around the waist the best. They are cuter! :) Thanks for all the comments.

Susan E. said...

My mother used aprons, too, and insisted that I do so (at least before I rebelled). After I went away to college, she went to Japan to teach, and there adopted their apron style, a "mama-san" or kappogi. It not only covers above and below the waist, ties in the back, but also has sleeves. Very cute, but usually too warm for me!

peacorpus said...

Hello Erin, sorry, but I have to agree with your mother about preferring the one that covers from the top. But I think that the ones you tie around your waist are, well, you're right, cuter. But I use them really for protecting my clothes, generally from getting wet when I am in the sink, and then from wiping my hands on it when I cook (ha ha i can't imagine all the food stains that will be on my clothes had I not worn aprons).

Leaf Lady said...

When I was growing up, my mother always wore an apron (the half kind) when working in the kitchen. I didn't want to bother with aprons, though, and she said there must be an "alteration of generations" because her own mother rarely wore one either. (Gosh, my mom grew up in the 1930s, the heyday, I would think, for feed-sack calico and rick-rack trim.) But inexplicably, when I moved out, I began wearing one whenever I cooked -- and full ones too. For the past 30 years, it's been a plastic apron. You don't have to wash those! They're expensive and hard-to-find, so be on the lookout at the Goodwill store. This about "covers" it.