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An apron to honor mother

May 1, 2010

My friend Blanche Santimaw sent me a copy of a piece about aprons. What could one possibly have to say about an apron that would take up more than one sentencewell, wait until you read this.

Oh, first, maybe most of you will remember Blanche as an RN at the Saranac Lake General Hospital and the Adirondack Medical Center for many, many yearsand seeing Blanche at work was like watching a white tornado - Blanche had only one gear as she would stride through the corridors, and that was high.

I don't know where Blanche found this story but there are many sites on the Internet about aprons.

Susan Adcox writes one entitled Susan's Grandparents Blog. Here is her opening paragraph on aprons: "My sister and I recently found a box filled with aprons at my father's house. It was like opening a box of memories. Aprons were our first projects in homemaking class in junior high and my sister and I made a few for gifts."

So those of you who remember your moms wearing an apron - maybe you had farm mothers as

Blanche and I did - but whether your mom was on a farm or not I'll bet you can remember her doing some of the things with her apron mentioned in the following story:

"I don't think our kids know what an apron is. The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath. Because she had only 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 kidsand when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms.

"Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove, and chips and kindling 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 folks knew it was time to come in from the fields for dinner. 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 window sill to cool? Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

"They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron, but I never caught anything from an apron but love!"

A note from Alaska

I receive a lot of mail from around the country about this column because the Enterprise is a great link for those natives who have moved away. I have a little extra space this week, so here is a note from Doug Corl in Alaska; his mom is Natalie Leduc.

"Greetings from Alaska! I love your column about the good old days in Saranac Lake. Read it every week online (except in the summer when I'm fishing or up in the interior - then I get to read a whole bunch of them in one sitting when I get home). You forgot to mention Lawless's Texaco on the corner of River Street and Main. I can still see old (and young) Ken's face in my mind's eye. I spent a lot of time visiting that place as a kid because it was the closest place to get a Coke from my house and the dam where we went fishing. And I remember such local notables who were employed there over the years such as Jim Betters and Barry Defuria. Those were heady times. Saranac Lake was a great place to grow up. Thanks for the memories."



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