Mother-in-law + email forward = family history via an apron

I was going through my email account and deleting old messages, when I came across this email exchange with my mother-in-law. I don’t normally forward random email messages, but this one, about aprons, was very timely for our multigenerational family.

We were approaching the holiday season and I was gearing up for some apron making.

From: Kanesha
To: G
Sent: Thu, November 4, 2010 11:00:15 AM
Subject: FW: Aprons

So excited to make aprons with you!


Subj: Fw: Aprons
(Notice that a “Medium” is a size 14 – 16)

The History of  ’APRONS’

I don’t think our kids know what an apron is. The principle use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few and because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons required less material.  But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children’s tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron. From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that ‘old-time apron’ that served so many purposes.

Send this to those who would know (and love) the story about Grandma’s aprons.

Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool.  Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.

I don’t think I ever caught anything from an apron – but love…

When life was sweet.

-Source of the poem is unknown and I Googled.

aprons 1, 2

From: G
Sent: Thursday, November 04, 2010 12:01 PM
To: Kanesha
Subject: Re: Aprons

My grandma always wore an apron.  My mom not so much.  My grandma always wore one of those caps that looks like a shower cap because she always milked cows by hand, resting her head against their side.  She did this until she was down to one cow in her 80′s.  I think she had an inside apron and an outside apron.  I hope so. She served fresh (still warm milk) in a white  pitcher.   She also had a wash house.  And a magic basement.  She let grandkids sit on her counter and watch her bake.  At least she did me.  I don’t know about the others.



Here are some pictures of aprons my mother-in-law has made for us.


7 Responses to Mother-in-law + email forward = family history via an apron

  1. Aprons seem a lot harder than quilts (or at least harder than mine because I don’t make things line up in predictable fashion!), but you inspire me to try. Thanks for transporting me for a few minutes!

    • Betsy, if you saw the hems and seams on some of the aprons I made, you would gasp. My girlfriends loved them and who is going to be looking that closely anyway, right? ;-)

  2. Oh I love that poem, I think I have to go put on a dress and apron right away! We do wear aprons (my sons have them too) and I have a few vintage ones but not on a daily basis and usually not over dresses either. So inspired to wear them more often! I wind up using my shirt to carry oranges from the tree (and flash the neighbors) in the same manner.

    • Don’t forget about your pearls, Amber. ;-)
      I’m in the habit now (since my MIL lives with us) to throw on an apron. It’s pretty fun and I always think about my maternal grandmother – in the kitchen – singing gospel songs – and plucking a chicken.

  3. This post hits home and my heart. I remember my grandmother Thelma wearing her apron. In her memory, I wore her apron last Thanksgiving Eve. :) I will try to post the picture.

  4. Pingback: Mad Men – Season 5 | it's a full nest

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