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Friday, May 8, 2009

Apron Strings

I grew up watching television reruns that featured dedicated homemakers such as June Cleaver.

I often laughed myself silly viewing the antics of hopeful starlet turned housewife, Lucy Ricardo.

It somehow always seemed wrong to me if Alice wore anything other than her standard uniform.

Commercials often showed images of women in the kitchen.

Magazines of the day featured ads of women in the home.

There was one thing the women all had in common. The apron.
But somewhere along the timeline of my life the apron became synonymous with drudgery. It was as if apron strings themselves became a type of shackle that could somehow keep a woman from becoming all that she could be.

When I first moved to the island of Crete I felt as if I had been transported back in time 50 years. Our landlord's wife further enhanced this feeling when she presented me with a welcome gift. Inside the beautifully wrapped box was an apron. While I smiled and thanked her, inside I cringed at the thought of wearing such an archaic piece of fabric. I stuffed the apron deep into the back of our linen closet. Months later I signed up for a Greek cooking class. The supply list included an apron. So I dug the apron out of the closet and took it with me to class. Sometime during the class I slipped the apron on over my head. The apron was somehow magical. It was filled with happy nostalgia. After that class I began to regularly wear the apron. I loved the convenient and handy pocket and it truly did keep my clothes clean. Yes, the apron was special in more ways than one. Right before we left Crete my family and I had our photograph made while wearing traditional Greek clothing. The ladies ensemble included an elaborate apron which I wore with pride.

While living in Germany I embraced the traditional costume of the dirndl which also included an apron. When attending the European flea markets I found myself drawn to vintage and antique aprons. I would wonder about the women who had worn them and was determined that they be worn and loved again.

Upon my return to the states I was happy to discover that Martha had made the apron fashionable once more.

I often get teased when people learn that I pack an apron into my purse when heading off to a kitchen other than my own. But I get great pleasure from wearing an apron that perhaps helped my grandmother cook a wonderful family dinner. It is as if the apron with all its culinary history imparts its own recipe of love and memories into the current meal.

Thankfully the apron has returned to our homes as a sign of warmth and love. Donning an apron doesn't keep me from achieving any accomplishments. To the contrary, it is as if my apron truly empowers me to be the best wife and mother I can be.

I hope you tie one on this Mother's Day!


Lisa said...

Your photos are lovely. Thanks for sharing them.

When I think of aprons, I think of sewing, and the pride of bringing home my jr. high school sewing class project. That apron, is the only remaining example of my sewing skills as a child. I was bummed when my girls didn't make aprons in sewing class. Duffel bags and pillows, while nice, lack the charm of an apron.

Linda said...


I absolutely ADORE this post! It's so beautifully written and I couldn't agree more about Aprons. I love them. When I wear mine, I think of my hard working Grandma and Mom and I'm filled with nostalgia. I love the photos of you in your aprons. :) Happy Mother's Day weekend.

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Apron's sure have come a long way!

Have a Happy Mother's Day!

Sister Robbins said...

I say this every time, but I loved this post. I am currently using an apron given to me by me sweet MIL. Just a plain white chef apron ready to be imbellished but never quite made it.
Anyway I have memories of her in her aprons. Of the marvelous things she could pull out of there, and her 4 sons who loved to sneak up behind her and pull the tie undone. Thanks for the memories.
Have a Lovely Day~

Jill said...

Precious post! so glad I found your blog...

Liz said...

HE HE HE how Ironic... My daughter gave me an adorable apron from Anthropology and I didn't wear it for a year because I didn't want to "ruin it" LOL!

I wear it now. :)

Have an awesome Mother's Day! Good luck on all the projects you have going on!

Carrie said...

I love aprons. I am a messy cook/baker.

My grandmother wore apron all day--she used it to hold clothes pins, vegetables from the garden to the house, when she cooked and while she did housework.

They are so practical.

Princess Of Pink said...

Love your photo's. I too love aprons lol. There was a time I did NOT like them at all bit lately I seem to be drawn to them. I even collect them now and have quite a few already YAY!!

Hugs from Marian

Muthering Heights said...

I LOVE aprons! Having been born into a decade in which power suits were more fashionable than aprons, I never saw women wearing them, but I always used to play dress up in them as a little girl.

I have a vintage apron that I love to wear in my own kitchen, but it seems that my daughter has claimed it for her own, LOL!

Kathy said...

Now you've got me thinking, "what did I do with that apron?" I am going to search for the apron that I decorated at a kitchen party I went to last year. I will wear it with pride. Great post and the pictures are priceless.

Blondie's Journal said...

I just love this post, Laura! I always love hearing about your time in other countries and this story about the apron was so right on. It is a sort of badge of honor that shows a woman's work in the home is serious business.

I remember the pride I felt when I wore my white jacket when working as an assistant chef. Something about a uniform that signified my talent made my job more meaningful.

What an original post and so well written. You are gifted in so many ways!

Have a wonderful Mom's Day!! :-)


Donna said...

I love aprons and I going to send you the link to a blog that makes may enjoy the blog as well.

Have a wonderful Mother's Day!

Jade Creative said...

Great post!
Have a wonderful day!

Glenda said...

I have aprons my mother worn during holidays, they are one of a kind to me.

I forget to wear aprons when I cook. Note to self wear an apron while cooking.

Thanks for the memories.


Déjà View Designs said...

This post makes me want to go get my aprons out of the closet!

Thank you for sharing.

Kim G. said...

Hooray for aprons! I love all aprons, vintage and new. Anthropologie and April Cornell have the cutest new aprons! You sure have lived in some great places!

Bonnie said...

Wow, great old photos! Love the apron idea but have never gotten into it. But maybe, I will, you make it sound so appealing.

Cat said...

Oh Laura, I adore the photos of you in your aprons.. Thanks so much for sharing them.. Wonderful post.. Thanks for all you do..

Have a Blessed Mother's Day, my friend..

Bobbi Jo said...

Great post. I love aprons they make me feel so feminine. Hugs, Bobbi Jo

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Well said! I enjoyed this post so much from the vintage apron pictures to the picture of your family in Greece (what a lovely family). laurie

Shimmy Mom said...

I love aprons! I'm glad that you do to!

TattingChic said...

What fun vintage photos! I love aprons, too! I've always thought they were kind of sexy in a wierd way, is that wierd? LOL! :) F

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Laura, I love aprons, too! They remind me of my grandmother who used to make them for everyone and give them as gifts. She was the very soul of hospitality, and I can see her in my mind's eye wearing her apron and making wonderful desserts. It's such a sweet memory. I've never been very domestic in terms of cooking, but I do confess that I love aprons. Mine usually are sportier than Granny's were and are emblazoned with funny sayings.


Sheila :-)

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Laura,

Love your post today and all your wonderful aprons and photos.

I like to wear an apron, especially if I have good clothes on.

Happy Mother's day to you.

Allidink said...

I've started to love aprons :) I have two. The other day Natalie at Just A Gal blog posted an instructional video from the 50s. The mom, daughter, and even the son wore an apron. The son's was like a dish towel tucked into his pants but still! And they had them hanging up beside their kitchen sink. They simply put them on every time they needed to cook or clean and took it right off to do anything else. It was quite adorable. :) Cute post!

All the best,

Southern Chateau said...

What a beautiful post. I have so many happy memories of beloved women in my family and neighborhood as a child wearing aprons. I too, went through the years of thinking they were an outdated idea, but like many other things that women of prior generations did, I have come to appreciate their wisdom. Thanks for the memories this morning.


love your style stopped by to wish you a Happy Mother's Day!!!
xooxo Laura

Linda said...

I love aprons. I wear them all the time when I am cooking or baking and have some really cute ones. I am glad you rediscovered them. I have one that me grandmother made for me (I was 3 at the time and I am now 57! Do the math!!)
And I grew up wathching the original June Cleaver and Lucille Ball shows! Yikes!! Happy Mother's Day!

Joy said...

What a charming post. Aprons themselves contain a nostalgic charm. :o)

perilloparodies said...

Oh, Laura, thank you. this was an enlightening and fun, and nostalgic post for me. I love each of the TV moms you mentioned, and I have a secret love of aprons though i have very few. plus, i forget to put it on, the one or two i have. i love that you pack one in your bag when you go out. I will definitely consider that as i often end up washing dishes wherever i go. :-) aprons are still wonderful for that. Of course, i may have to wait when i do not also have to carry a diaper bag all the time as an apron would get burried under all the other things i always feel i NEED to have along. i like to be prepared. i just may have to start my own lovely collection of them. i send a virtual hug and say, "happy mother's day!!"

perilloparodies said...

Oh, and i LOVED seeing the pictures of your family in traditional garb... such a neat part of your history...

Coastal Sisters said...

Happy Mother's Day Laura :)

These pictures were wonderful! I have to admit that I am obsessed with aprons. I love them and always wear one when I am in my studio working. I love having the pockets for bits of this and that while I am at work. (Mostly, the pockets have chocolate in them) *sheepish look*

Have a lovely day!


Rue said...

Hi Laura :)

I loved this post!! Your pictures are great... you look so cute :)

I hope you're having a wonderful Mother's Day!