Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Monday, November 26, 2012


As I was preparing Thanksgiving dinner this year I thought about an item that has become almost obsolete, unless one is a professional chef.  I'm referring to an apron.

An apron was a mandatory item of outer wear for a woman when I was growing up.  My first sewing project was an apron.  My mother made aprons every few years for the women in her Sunday school class (for Christmas).  My mother always wore an apron in the kitchen, but never in the other rooms or our tiny house.  After all it was kitchen attire, not dining room, or any other room attire. 

I don't recall seeing her put on her apron, but she was wearing it every time I saw her in the kitchen.  And mostly she wore an all-over apron like the one pictured.  In fact, my mom had this exact pattern for making her own aprons, and mostly she made them out of scrap materials.  Mom didn't quilt, she made aprons.  After all an apron was always an appropriate gift to give to a woman for any occasion.  My mother also wore her apron when she was in the basement doing laundry, or in the back yard hanging clothes.  She wore the short coverall pictured above in her garden.

I didn't like to wear an apron, and thus never got into the habit of putting one on when I cooked.  Not even when I was first married and had many aprons in my hope chest from which to choose, did I wear one.

I don't know exactly when aprons became almost obsolete, but I'm glad that there is now a resurgence in the use of this attire and not just for professional chefs. 

Martha Stewart, I'm not, but guess what?  This Thanksgiving I did wear an apron.  YES, I still have some really old aprons in my kitchen linen drawer!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Storms along the coast

I remember a northeaster that occurred in 1962.  It wiped out several towns along the south Jersey coast.  The government wasn't much help back then because it wasn't expected as it is now.  I'm not sure what I think about all that aid.  In one respect it can be good, on the other hand those of us not fortunate enough to have a home by the sea -- a personal dream of mine, by the way -- have to pay for the rebuilding.

I recall the various towns rehabbing the beaches after that '62 storm.  I remember the Corps of Engineers pouring tons of sand and water mixed onto the beaches to extend them to their former width.  So I imagine the government paid for that rebuilding.  Nothing like what FEMA is doing these days.

I remember another hurricane that occurred in 1944.  I was 1-1/2 and mom, dad, and I were in the kitchen.  Dad said to mom, "There goes a tree."  He went out on the back porch to survey the damage.  The tree miss the house, barely.  Then soon after he came back in he heard another thump and let us know that another tree had hit the dirt, so to speak.  It, too, missed the house, garage, and church building.

I remember the light in the kitchen coming from kerosene lamps.  I remember sitting on my mother's lap in front of the oven which was being used to warm us.  November can be a cold month.  After that my next memory is the day my sister came home with mommy from the hospital-- I was three --  and life was back to normal for 18 months before my first brother was born.  Then there was a brand new normal!