Posted by Jenn Thorson at 9:47 AM Labels: aprons, handkerchiefs, hankie, hankies, mom, nostalgia, retro, vintage
Aprons and hankies. What is it about these vintage textiles that makes our hearts go pitty-pat like they do?
Is it the memories of our mothers, our grandmothers? I don't know. Grandma was a fan of the housecoat, and my dear mom was more inclined to find flour on her jeans than she was on any apron. And hankies, well, Mom received one each year as a gift from a beloved family friend. These remained squirreled away in a drawer for safe-keeping for a day that would never come. They were too precious to use, she said. Too important to tuck into a sleeve, to dare touch a nose in need. They existed entombed wood and in mothballs, waiting for some curious archaeologist to break them free some day. They belonged in a museum, not in daily life.
Well, maybe it's the texture. The soft, gentle feel of a handkerchief against the cheek. The starched, crispness of a crepey apron.
Perhaps it the color. Vibrant shades that call to mind the joy of culinary exploration. Of the smart reuse in a casserole. Of the order and art of a Jell-O mold.
Or maybe it's the patterns. A garden of flowers abound, and a year of holidays is celebrated, all in this fabric of the past.
But most likely, it's all of these, and more. As the years have passed, aprons and hankies have become symbols-- not of our oppression as wives, mothers, and career women and home-makers-- but of a gentler time. Of some idealized place in our minds and hearts where there's always something baking in the kitchen, and where good manners still exist, inviting you in to have a seat and a cup of tea. In a world that may feel cold, harsh and entirely too busy, aprons and hankies are tangible representations of the little niceties that bring comfort and stability, femininity and love.
It's probably a place that never really quite existed. The standards are just too high.
I still see Mom with the flour on her jeans, a box of Puffs in the kitchen. But as I make her Crock-pot potroast this morning, to simmer all day, the scent wafting through the house the way I did the home in which I grew up three decades ago, the aprons and hankies still somehow say what needs to be said. Here's me, cooking in my pajamas, of all things. Not bothering to style my hair first. To put on heels. To tie that apron to my waist. But the hankies adorn a table top. An apron might serve as a valance.
They make me happy to see because they say the niceties are still here. With us. Ready to make home a place worth coming back to. They're just a little bit different now.
Well, that's all for today. If you missed my Wednesday feature "Good Books and New Blogs" you might want to click here to check that out. That has a fun little tag, as well as an announcement about new bloggy goodness. And maybe I'll see you THIS Wednesday as we have another "Treasure Box" feature which showcases some finds uncovered in the South Hills. (Yes, I actually wasn't snowed on and made it out to the thrifts this week!) Take care, my nice invisible friends. Thanks for being there.