Linda Grover: Decisions and power from an apron
"When I cook, I like to wear an apron. To me, aprons have always been more than a cover that protects the clothes from spills and smudges. When I put one on, I feel a satisfactory sense of responsibility and, I admit, a certain decision-making empowerment.

My mother wore an apron around the house and kept two or three more in the drawer with the dish towels. We learned about cooking and cleaning up, and keeping busy and productive, by watching what she did and then doing the same. When she tied one of her waist aprons around my chest before I dried a pile of dishes, I might not have especially enjoyed the chore, but I felt an honor of partnership and preparation for the day I, too, might be in charge.

Although aprons could be bought at Woolworth’s, or Wards, or from the Sears catalog, my mother and her friends often made their own aprons — or gave them to each other as gifts (a young woman usually received a few when she got married). They enjoyed picking out and sewing pretty or whimsical cotton fabrics and trimming them with rickrack, lace and buttons. A thrifty way to make aprons was of fabric left over from other sewing projects, or from clothes that were no longer going to be worn. I think that many people reading this will remember their mothers and grandmothers making not only aprons but children’s clothing from the full skirts of the dresses of the 1950s. Reusing and recycling was a necessity and a virtue but also fun: it saved money, saved resources and provided an opportunity for creative living."

Get the Story:
Linda Grover: Tying on protection, confidence and some history (The Budgeteer News 7/10)
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Linda Grover: Passing on the Ojibwe language (3/21)
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