Each morning upon rising,
she dressed to face the day.
No robe or house dress adorned her.
She prepared to go her way.
But first an apron wrapped her,
made on the treadle Singer machine.
As if her task might soil her dress,
that the apron must keep so clean.
Some wear their apron part-time
or while doing a specific thing.
But Mother wore hers every day,
except on the day when the church bells ring.
After church was over,
and she returned to her home,
the first thing that happened
was to get a clean apron on.
Her aprons are now folded
away in some dark drawer.
The home place is quiet, too,
wondering what for it is in store.
The mother in the apron
is remembered each time we enter there,
where her apron made her special,
made us want to be close and near.
The apron that kept her dress so clean
also wiped away many a tear,
is remembered as a symbol
of how much she really cared.
She never worked for wages
or labored in a plant,
but her family was well-cared for
by this mother that Heaven sent.
The “Mother” in this poem, titled Her Uniform, was my Great-Aunt Ruby, who lived in the slanted little house where I lived when we first moved to West Virginia. A copy of it hangs on the refrigerator in the kitchen there, always has. The poem was written by her son, Bob. A collection of Ruby’s homemade aprons is going on loan to a historical society display this summer, so Georgia had gotten together bagfuls of them that were to be picked up. Ruby had long ones, short ones, “Sunday best” ones. Georgia modeled this one for me. After I twisted her arm.
Aprons are actually growing in popularity again, and for you sewing/apron aficionados out there, I’ll show the simple, classic pattern Ruby used in her favorite aprons, the long ones.
They were all home-sewn, in calicos and flowered fabrics. The front had a U-shaped neck.
There was a nice pocket, of course.
In the back, there was a crossbar of fabric above where the apron tied.
I wonder if an apron is the secret to having your children remember you with such lovely sentiment? Or if there’s more to it than that.
You better get one. Just in case!
P.S. A pattern for a very similar apron is posted on Tipnut here. Ruby didn’t use the piping on her aprons, and she just had one pocket. Also, my cousin’s wife, Sheryl, posted the specific measurements and directions for Ruby’s aprons here. (Thank you, Sheryl!)