“A protective or decorative garment worn over the front of one’s clothes to protect the wearer’s clothing and tied at the back.” This is the definition of an apron. If you were raised in this mountain range, it is likely that you had an older woman in your life who wore an apron every single day. For the mountain woman, the apron was a vital part of her wardrobe.
In the apron’s deep pockets, our mountain mothers of yesterday carried many needful things. Her pockets carried snuff or a mint. She kept the snuff with her in case she wanted to pour out a dip in the lid and tap it gently in between her lower lip and gums whenever she wanted it. Perhaps a safety pin or two, just in case she encountered a tear or rip that she had to pin up. She fastened bobby pins to the top of the pockets to keep her hair in place while she worked. A small piece of string was there too, just in case she had to tie up a wilting stalk of a potted plant. Sometimes she would tie up a little money in a handkerchief and pin it to the inside of the apron tail.
The apron was worn mostly all week without it being taken off except to wash it. The hard working hands of the owner were being constantly wiped on the apron. Smells of fried bacon, wood smoke, biscuits baking in the oven, and even her perspiration, combined to make a most pleasant and unforgettable smell.
The apron was soft and worn when a little one would lay his head on the wearer’s stomach, leaning in for a hug. The wearer of the apron allowed a child’s tears, and dried them often.
Once the woman’s day was done, the apron came off and lain on a chair. As a new day began, it was put on, to join in the woman’s work.
The woman’s wardrobe then wasn’t like today’s. Our ancestors had very few clothes compared to today’s standards. Thus, the apron was indeed a useful article to protect a lady’s dress so it wouldn’t wear out so quickly. In addition to shield the dress of wear and tear, the apron provided much more. And, oh the memories it held.