Believe it or not, these garments played interesting roles in our lives. As small children, we wore them because we hadn’t yet developed proper eating habits, and our mothers didn’t want our clothes to be soiled. They tied around the neck and were called bibs. As adults, we wore them tied around the waist when cooking to protect our clothes from splattering food. Nursing home residents are often given clothing protectors. These are similar to bibs in that they fasten around the neck, but they cover more of the front. The following poem from How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver illustrates the role aprons played in my life.
Flimsy white cloth garments
with either black or blue stripes on the bottom,
strings that tied at the neck,
these we put on in elementary school
because we were blind children who wore half of what we ate.
In eighth grade, we made them in a variety of colors
from one yard of tightly woven cotton fabric
with strings that tied at the waist.
Someone helped me make mine
because I was a blind girl who couldn’t sew.
When I’m old, unable to care for myself,
I’ll wear a shirt protector,
a soft terry cloth garment
with a Velcro fastener at the neck.
What role did aprons play in your life? Do you remember wearing them when you were a small child or as an adult when you cooked? Did you ever make your own? Please share your memories below.