An Apronful of Memories

apron, aprons, Cooking, Food, gram, grandma, kitchen, love, memories, memory, My First Blog, photo

Back in March my good friend made and gave me an apron. I have never owned a full sized apron, I have a half apron I sometimes use when baking, but not one that covers my whole front. It reminded me so much of one my Grandmother Middlesworth used to wear. She always had an apron on around the house. I really don’t remember her NOT wearing one (although pictures suggest differently).

I think Grandma was the first person who inspired me the most in the kitchen. She was always in there. Always making something. I sometimes smell certain foods still and think of her.

And my Dad, even to this day long after she is gone, will tell me and my Mom “It isn’t as good as Grandmas.” But we work hard to reach her cooking prowess status.

So a couple of days ago I was cutting up watermelon and getting ready to head out to a party. I didn’t want to get my outfit mucked up and I remembered “I have an apron!” I was so pleased with myself for remembering and I quickly got it out of the cupboard and put it on.

Immediately I thought of my grandmother. The pattern my friend used even is kind of 1970’s color (orange) and there is a rose pattern on one side that I just know that grandma had as either a dress or an apron in a pink color. (Too bad there aren’t too many photos of her left. Many were lost in the multiple floods they endured over the years.)

But I KNEW we had one picture in which she was wearing an apron. I went on a mission to find it.

My Mom couldn’t find anything at first, but Dad agreed that there was such a picture so I was encouraged to keep looking. Then, in the last box that Mom pulled out – there it was:

Here she is. Just as I remember her (except I typically see her in color in my mind!)
 and here I am the other day… looking very much like her. (The B&W photo helps a lot!)

I used to think I didn’t want to be like anyone else in my family. I spent many years saying “I won’t be like them! I will be the new and improved!” Grandma (and everyone else) had her bad side and wasn’t always sugar and light. But as I get older I realize that she just was her own self. She did what she knew to do – cook for her family. And it’s what I love to do too. She was firm about what she cooked – she knew how to cook without recipes, without measuring cups or spoons and it always came out great. I do that too – improvise a recipe. Sometimes it comes out good and sometimes it doesn’t – I’m sure she had some flops along the way too. My husband loves that I can cook this way. He says he would never have come up with that and, most of the time, it’s pretty good.

That makes me happy. To know that I AM like her in this aspect. I am certainly not the baker she was though and I have a lot to learn yet, but it’s a start.

Gram died when I was only 15. I didn’t even have my driver’s license yet. I didn’t have my own kitchen to show her. I hadn’t even begun to understand how much I like to cook. And she was gone. I can’t ask “Gram, how much sugar did you mean in this recipe? The card just says sugar?” And I can’t have her taste one of my concoctions. I can’t stand in the kitchen with her in our aprons and feel that connection to her.
But wearing my new apron I DO feel a connection to her. And I’m going to start wearing it a lot more.

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