Today I thought of a story I’d saved from the paper about an exhibit called: Apron Strings. Do you even know what an apron is? Women used to wear them to protect their dresses as they did domestic chores. And female servants always wore them, going as far back as the 1700s. Today we see Betty Draper‘s maid in one on Mad Men. Somewhere between the 1960s and now, the apron died. Did civil rights kill it? Undoing the memory of legions of black maids in starched, white aprons? Or feminism? What did they symbolize that they died the way they did? The old newspaper story made me remember women in my life who’d worn them, women who’d worked hard and kept family together. But I didn’t learn to sew or cook or embroider or quilt or crochet or tat because the women who did those things weren’t respected by the men I loved. These days, I am learning old ways, cooking, hand-stitching. There’s a yearning in my learning. I don’t know quite what for. Is it the lure of the simplicity of making something small and necessary, of service with quiet, quick, deft hands? Am I appeasing the ghosts of the women who reared me and the women who reared them, gentle ghosts, gallant ghosts, indispensable ghosts who kept the home fires burning and likely wore aprons?
Who are the ghosts in your life? How can they be appeased? And why is that necessary? I know it is. But why?