I am often asked, "How do you think of so many things to write about?" It is easy, because one thing leads to another.
I had a rather unique situation recently to try and locate Ashley Meyer of Meyer Textiles. I knew she was out there, but no one seemed to know where. I checked with people who usually know those things. I checked at the post office as well as the computer and was surprised and pleased to find her living close by on a farm that had been the home of good friends. (I had even helped make horseradish with their neighbors a few years ago.)
It was only fitting this farm should be home to this interesting enterprise. Who would have thought "Aprons?,” an article that Martha Stewart Living magazine did, and Meyer Textiles Inc., was a nominee for an award? I couldn't be more proud of Ashley’s success if she were a best friend or family member.
I remember my Grandma with all her aprons. She, too, made them from scratch and to suit her purpose. In her day and age, aprons had lots of purposes. People laugh when you talk about all the things that Grandma’s aprons did at one time. They wiped sweat from the brow, tears from the eyes, congestion from children’s noses, and served as potholders to remove things from the oven. They carried wood and corncobs for the stove, and gave a quick dust if someone came to the door. They also protected the Sunday church dress from spills, as they could be washed so much easier than a whole dress. If there was a chill in the air an apron was handy for personal use, or for comforting a feverish or tired child. The pockets held hankies, treats, matches, and even money - if you had any.
They also carried garden produce like potatoes, carrots, radishes, etc. from the garden into the house. They served as bibs, as towels and washcloths, often using whatever liquid was available, including spit, to clean or remove the dirt from dirty faces, hands, merchandise or produce.
An apron also held the eggs you gathered and was a protectant from biting hens as you did so.
There are family heirloom pictures of ancestors who all wore aprons, including men, women and children alike of different style, for different uses.
Speaking of uses – my great uncle Hans, at about age 3, was traveling from Denmark by ship to New York before heading west to Minnesota. Hans brought his little apron full of flatbread that had been given to him by another traveler, to my great grandmother’s cabin on the ship. The traveler gave the flatbread to Hans because she felt his family (my great grandma and her children: Esther, 8, my grandmother Krista, 5, Hans 3, and Ellen, just 6 weeks) could use the extra food.
How proud he must have been, this little boy with his apron full of food to share with his sisters.
I loved the story of Ashley Meyers I was assigned to write. It is so reminiscent of bygone days whose popularity has come alive again. I can see school children aprons for purpose and style. I see jeans aprons made from the backside of worn-out jeans, aprons made from the back legs of jeans and worn like chaps to accommodate todays fashion or to cover fashion jeans. There were coverall aprons, T-aprons, bib aprons, fancy aprons, and all served their purpose.
Something else that comes to mind in connection with aprons: smocks. They, too, had their purpose. A smock was quick to slip on over whatever one was wearing, with short or long sleeves depending on the season. If one was going to do some dirty work it was a quick fix to protect the clothing, available to help take off a chill, and used by mothers-to-be to cover up their pregnancies. It was a comfortable and practical garment to wear.
Children looked ever-so-cute in their little smock tops - called "butcher boys" at one time, for some reason. We had a picture of my Aunt Phyllis and cousin Barbara in their butcher boy outfits in pink and yellow with cotton smock tops over colored cotton pants, taken on a trip to Wisconsin when they were toddlers.
Smocks have now been probably replaced by T-tops to wear over jeans. With modern washing facilities and not having to iron knits, there is less worry today about extra laundry. Maybe that’s why they’ve disappeared from the scene.
Thank you, Ashley. Your story is like opening a box filled with ideas, memories and thoughts that are priceless. You made my day brighter because the apron story made me so happy.
Birthdays and anniversaries :
• Thursday, Nov. 14: Brickyn Moen, Cassandra Hill, Dakota Tracy, Kaye Larson Allen, Jill Ottesen Kehne, Kim Anderson, Gloria Tufte Keehn, Dawn Farr, Brandon Grunwald.
• Friday, Nov. 15: Eli Fussy, Sydney Ann Collins, Greg Riley, John Flor Jr., Daniel Mucha, Lee Waage, Cynthia Callahan, Jacob Douglas Bell.
• Saturday, Nov. 16: Ross Sletten, Asa Daniel Russell Johnson, Matthew Marcus, Betty Brandt, Ronald Johnson, Fred Schmidt, Miranda Dubois.
• Sunday, Nov. 17: Presley Ann Broskoff, Brynn Routh, Mikayla Sue Brouwers, Stuart Kubat, Nathan Larson, Milton Wayne, Gloria Jensen, Nathan Schmidt, Elvern Holland, David Kasper, Jim Olson, Daniel Ingvaldson, John Nelson, Trisha Cyr, Brad & Donna Borchert.
• Monday, Nov. 18: Edrea Marae Kubista, Toni Wayne Smith, Stella Langlie, LeRoy Peterson, Kim Lehmberg, Ernest Anderson, Paul Groth, Allen Schewe, Gordy & Karol Carroll.
• Tuesday, Nov. 19: Sidney Ellen Schultz, Kolby Dale Boverhuis, Deb Schmidt, Leah Scott, Roger Dulas, Jennifer Kycek, Chanelle McCamish, Darrin Peterson, Mandi Wobschall, William Conley, LaShawn & Gretchen Ray, Jeff & Julie Cornelius.
• Wednesday, Nov. 20: Chuck Pence, Howard Pence, Eric Simon, David A. Hanson, Angie Blouin Sikel, Dennis Blouin, Scott Brekke, Malinda Fennert, Alisha Waalkens, Heather Crabtree Krenke, Kristine Kelly, Rachel Nelson, Holly Mattson.
May God bless you with a beautiful year to enjoy!