The following story is from an e-mail that was circulated recently. It seems appropriate to include this in a historical website. Following the article are comments by Genevieve Conradi about her Grandma Gieseke and her apron.
The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath. Because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.
It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.
From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.
When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.
And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.
Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot woodstove.
Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.
From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.
In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.
When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.
When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to eat.
It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.
REMEMBER: Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the windowsill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the windowsill to thaw. They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron. I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron.
ARLEN D. EVENSEN
TURTLE MOUNTAIN ARTWORKS
My Grandma Gieseke always wore an apron at home and she made them herself. The aprons looked very much like the one pictured by the model at the top of this article. Her aprons had two pockets and tied in the back. Most of her aprons were prints with lots of red or other bright colors. She loved the color red and I remember going to the 5 &10 cent store to shop for material, matching thread and seam binding for her as a gift. Grandma always carried a handkerchief in her pocket. In those days, we had real handkerchiefs and no tissues and the used handkerchiefs got boiled on the stove prior to laundering. On laundry day Grandma sometimes wore an apron made of denim. She also had a denim jacket, like the now popular "barn coats", that she wore outdoors to hang up the laundry. The clothespins were in her apron pocket.