Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Re-tying Apron Strings

We had a dinner for the women of our congregation last evening where we each wore an apron and shared an "apron story."  I wore an apron that belonged to my maternal grandmother.  It is green checked gingham with yellow edging and a pineapple appliqué.  My mother made it for her, and one for my dad's mom as well, the Mother's Day when she was just pregnant with me.  I don't remember seeing Grandma in it, but she apparently wore it a bit.

My memories of my grandmother do include her in an apron, however.  It was one that she made for herself.  Navy blue checked gingham with red piping, the front crossed over in a v-shape that resembled a vest or maybe a wrap-around blouse.  Pockets on the skirt and tie in the back.  Very tailored and sharp.  Just like my grandma.

Grandma would come from San Diego for anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months one year to visit us back east.  She'd have that apron packed.  I don't remember many times that she was baking or cooking.  It seems to me now that she was always doing dishes.  Grandma hummed while she washed.  Sometimes real tunes, sometimes random made-up ones.  Always hummed with a do-do-do.  And she'd scoop those notes to beat Bing Crosby.  I can still hear the sound of Grandma humming in my head, but the moment I try to recreate it it disappears, and I can't come close.

If she knew I was around, the humming would often turn to singing, and I learned songs like "The Sheik of Arab-ee" and "The Lady on the Crocodile."  She loved the hymn "Abide With Me," and there were several years after she developed Alzheimer's that I couldn't sing that song without crying.  She also sang a non-LDS hymn that I can't really remember, but was something about walking with the Savior in a garden.  When I learned to play my flute, I'd play hymns for her and she would hum or sing along.

I'm not sure that my grandmother was really as musical as I describe her to have been.  I'm not sure why these are the memories that stick out in my mind.  Perhaps because the music meant so much to me.  I know she was always proud of how musical her grandchildren were.  If she could visit for a day, I'd love to have my daughters play the flute and guitar and sing for her.  I'd like to show her how our family continues on in that musical tradition.

We could listen while we did the dishes.  Me in my white linen apron and her in navy gingham.

2 fishy comments:

Lisa said...

ok, well, this post made me get tearful. I remember the pineapple apron, I'm surprised its not worn through. I barely remember the blue one at all. Isn't that strange that our memories are so different about that? I remember grandma walking heel-toe bouncing along to a hummed tune. I think she passed that on to me, the kids are always busting me for singing made up songs.
I hadn't put two and two together about the reason Abide With Me Tis Eventide is so calming to me. What's really special is how calming it is to Lily. One night last summer in Nauvoo she would not calm down, but the cast from the pageant began to sing a beautiful rendition and she INSTANTLY calmed and went to sleep, and now its even more special to me.

I had been thinking about doing something with aprons in RS, I hadn't figured out just what to do, but this post gives me some great ideas.


veronica said...

I love the idea of the Apron activity. I have an apron from my Grandma that I wear all the time. Every time I wear it I can see her standing in her kitchen. Good memories!