This time of the year I do a lot of canning and freezing of fresh fruits and veggies and store them up for the winter. I do a lot of commiserating with my female ancestors while I'm 'slaving away' in the kitchen with my electric stove, microwave, food processor,and dishwasher. I think how they must have done these same things...only with a wood burning stove, no quick cooking microwave, only a knife to chop veggies or grate cheese, nothing but water to wash their pots and pans (and then if they wanted them washed in HOT, SOAPY water they had to heat the water and make their own soap!). I'm done with a couple dozen jars of tomatoes or jam within a couple hours. Can you imagine how long it took someone in the 1850's to do the same?
Grandmas and Great-Grandmothers always wore an apron. Mostly made out of muslin....hand sewn. I have a couple aprons my mother made me when I was younger but I like to 'perserve' those and so wear just old clothes when doing this work. Recently a friend of mine gave me an apron pattern....I use to sew years ago but haven't dug my machine out in about 20 years....I'm going to DO it now....if I can just find a place to set it up. The price on this pattern is $18.95! That sounds like a year to me, not the price for a pattern! When I started sewing patterns were about 50cents to a dollar each. My friend assured me she got this one on sale for 99cents. That's beside the point! How can anyone afford to make clothes today with the price of a pattern being almost $20? I think I'll start making my own patterns....isn't that what our ancestors did?
The strings were tied, It was freshly washed, and maybe even pressed.
For Grandma, it was everyday to choose one when she dressed.
The simple apron that it was, you would never think about;
the things she used it for, that made it look worn out.
She may have used it to hold, some wildflowers that she'd found.
Or to hide a crying child's face, when a stranger came around.
Imagine all the little tears that were wiped with just that cloth.
Or it became a potholder to serve some chicken broth.
She probably carried kindling to stoke the kitchen fire.
To hold a load of laundry, or to wipe the clothesline wire.
When canning all her vegetables, it was used to wipe her brow.
You never know, she might have used it to shoo flies from the cow.
She might have carried eggs in from the chicken coop outside.
Whatever chore she used it for, she did them all with pride.
When Grandma went to heaven, God said she now could rest.
I'm sure the apron that she chose, was her Sunday best.
Mary Post Warren
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