WEST NEWTON - Throughout history a mother's apron was mostly used to protect her dress, but it was also used as a potholder for removing steaming hot pans from the oven.
She used her apron to bring in chips and kindling wood into the kitchen.
Many times it would carry fresh eggs from the chicken coop and the summer vegetables up from the garden. After she shelled the peas, she carried out the hulls in her apron.
Staff photo by Serra Muscatello
Ruth Grewe, site manager of Harkin Store, displays aprons Sunday at the store in West Newton Township. The aprons were the focus of a Mother’s Day theme that noted aprons and their multiple uses by women of yesteryears.
Every fall, she used her apron to bring in the apples that had fallen from the trees.
Whenever company drove up the road unexpectedly, she used her apron to dust the furniture in a hurry. Once the company was inside, her apron was the ideal hiding place for shy kids.
The mother's apron was also the perfect thing to use when drying her children's tears.
Sunday's program at Harkin Store paid tribute to the Mother's Apron on Mother's Day.
Different styles of aprons from different years were on display for visitors to see.
Three of the aprons on display were from the 1950-1960 era. They were made by Janet Massopust, who was Alexander Harkin's granddaughter.
Ruth Grewe, site manager of Harkin Store, has collected about four dozen aprons through the years.
"My grandmother used hers (apron) all the time," said Grewe.
After she received her grandmother's aprons she began collecting her own aprons. She gathered a variety of aprons from antique stores, second hand and flea markets. Some of her aprons were left at home in her cedar chest she said.
"Mother did lots of things with aprons," said Grewe, "They date back to the colonial times and probably date back farther in history."
Grewe has made about 12 adult ladies aprons, which are now for sale at the Harkin Store's gift shop. She also has plans to make some children's and men's aprons to sell at the store. The fabrics she has used are nostalgic calicos that would have been used in the pioneer days.