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Article Archive >> Community

Reflections: My Mama's Apron

Reflections
My Mama's Apron
By William L. Bulla

My kid sister and I used to play hide-and-seek. She would always find a way to hide under my mama's apron. As I approached, Mama would place her finger over her lips to indicate I was not to notice my sister, Patty Ann, hiding under her apron. Then later, when Patty Ann was peeking out from under the apron, I was allowed to say, "You're it!" and I was given the chance to hide from her.
Mama's apron had a large pocket on one side, which often held a cookie, and tied at her waist it was long enough to reach the hem of her dress. Her apron did so much more than protect her dress. I often saw her lift her apron to dust a spot on a table or chair as she swiftly passed from one room to another. The hem of the apron, grasped in both hands, would become potholders as she moved hot pans, or one of her delicious lemon meringue pies, from the oven. Her apron was perfect to carry string beans, apples, okra, peas, or other fruits and vegetables to the kitchen as she stepped out of the garden. Her apron was handy when shelling nuts, carrying ironed clothes to the bedrooms, or bringing in eggs she had picked up in the chicken coop.
We may ask, "What is an apron?" The word comes from the French word "naperon", which means a small tablecloth.
An apron is usually worn on the front of the body and tied around the waist with strings. It is used to protect clothing, to cover the body, or to adorn a costume.
In the 1950"s Lucille Ball, in her TV role as Lucy Ricardo, wore a short apron that started a trend in America. It was designed to adorn the body rather than to be a protective piece of clothing. The short apron was decorative and highlighted the apparel of the wearer.
My daughter-in-law, Maryann, gets up every morning and dons her apron. It is the same style her grandmother wore. She uses it in the same way her grandmother did. In the same way my mama did. It is not the decorative apron of the Lucy's of the '50's, but the practical apron of the earlier years. The way she uses her apron reminds me of the way my mama used hers. I guess this time of the year when we are celebrating Mother's Day it is a time when we reflect on the past in our lives. Yes, my mama's apron was a place where I could go to be comforted, loved, consoled, and forgiven for my misdemeanors. And even at my age, it is a place I miss every Mother's Day.

William L. Bulla is a freelance writer residing in Washington County.

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