Aprons tie into memories

Tucked back somewhere in a dark corner of one of your closets or maybe in that old pie safe where you are saving various items you use on your dinner table, you may have tucked some memories of Mom or Grandma. Those memories could be a small folded piece of cloth that was once Grandma’s or Mom’s favorite apron.

It may have stains on it that you couldn’t wash off, but each one of those stains could bring back a memory of something she made years ago that you enjoyed. Perhaps an apple pie, some cinnamon rolls or that chocolate candy you remember so well.

That piece of cloth maybe faded and worn, but is an example of the work Grandma put in standing over a hot, wood-burning cook stove to fix a good dinner for her family. Or it might be still a bright, colorful print apron she wore on Sunday or when company was coming.

Her aprons may have been made from nice flowered material or, when times were hard and there wasn’t much money to spend, made from an old feed sack. Many years ago, some feed dealers would put livestock feed in brightly colored cloth sacks, knowing that they would be used over and over again in some good cook’s kitchen.

Some feed sacks weren’t pretty and bright, but the material was good, and they could be found tied around Grandma’s waist with the name of the feed on them. They were hardy, long lasting and found in farm homes as late as the 1950s.

If you happen to have one of these aprons that you can find, get it out and put it in a place where you will see it and bring back those pleasant memories of years ago. Some of them were full aprons that went around the neck and tied at the waist. Others were just half aprons used for more formal affairs.

What is interesting is that aprons have almost become apparel that we don’t see anymore. Seldom are they used anymore in homes, except in many Amish homes. Perhaps new, modern cooking techniques don’t require aprons. Or is it that moms aren’t cooking much at home? We don’t see aprons on servers in many restaurants, either.

Some sources say aprons are making a comeback and, checking on the Internet, there are many places listing different kinds, styles and colors of them that you can buy. So should you honor Mom or Grandma by buying two or three?

You can buy bib, back, waist, full length, cobbler’s aprons and more. Some were even called “flirty.” You might want to look at one of those.

Looking at a bit of history, aprons were first used by men. They go back to biblical times. Cobblers, blacksmiths and other craftsmen of years ago used heavy leather or coarse material to protect their better clothing. In the 1800s and early 1900s, they were considered important when cooking and cleaning.

I used to visit an Amish friend who repaired buggy wheels. He always wore a heavy denim apron because working on those wheels and their iron rims was hot, dusty work, hard on his better clothes.

Will aprons make a comeback? It might be nice to bring back memories of those years when Mom or Grandma wore them. We could also have a contest to see who would wear the brightest, most stylish or historical apron. And they would help save that good dress you wear to church on Sunday or when special company is coming.

Let’s promote a revival of aprons!

Parker is an independent writer for the Tribune Chronicle.