Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A New Apron for Bird

The beloved apron
From about 1930 my friend Bird spent a lot of time in a closet turned into a sewing room, stitching away at shirts and dresses and whatever was needed to keep her twelve children clothed. All of them were born before I was, and Bird is now 99 years old. I didn't get to see her on her birthday last September, but shortly before that I paid a visit and was concerned when I saw that Bird wasn't wearing an apron.

New and old fabric compared.



She doesn't do much cooking or cleaning anymore, though she lives by herself in an apartment. She wears an apron because she has tied one on every morning for most of her life and she doesn't feel right without that part of her attire. I knew all that, so when she was lacking the essential garment I asked what was wrong.

Her apron was so tattered, she said, she didn't want to wear it when she was having company. Oh, yes, she did have a newer apron that her children had bought her, but it didn't fit right. She brought it out of a drawer, and I could see that it was way too large, made to accommodate the great number of our generation who fill more of an apron than our grandmothers did. Though I didn't have a measuring tape, I took some measurements from the old favorite, using a sheet of paper for the ruler, and when I went home I drew up a proper design, thinking I could make her one. But nothing came of my idea for a long time.

Without shame, I returned to visit last month and found Bird in the oversized apron. But knowing that I would be returning to her city in about three weeks, I asked if I could take her old apron with me this time, to use for a pattern. She took it out of a drawer, clean and neatly folded, though unusable, as the neck strap was broken through.

When I returned with the old apron, I looked among my stacks of fabrics and was amazed to find something that resembled what I imagined the old apron had looked like before it faded. My piece of Guatemalan fabric had been bought to fix a mistake I made in measuring for a tablecloth fifteen years ago, a tablecloth that never got made at all. So the fabric waited around, being the perfect replacement for the old apron, until all the parts of this story came together.

Today was the end of the story, or the beginning of the life of the new apron. I managed to meet my own deadline of this day, when I went to an appointment in her town and dropped the apron off beforehand. Bird was very pleased. She tied the apron on immediately and said that she felt properly put together again.

9 comments:

Jeannette said...

I just have to say that I am glad that you hadn't cleaned out where ever that perfect replacement fabric was stashed...

DebD said...

what a lovely friend you are. The apron turned out great.

gemini said...

Love your post and its metaphor of life. Visiting here for the first time.

wayside wanderer said...

What a nice story and pretty apron. You are a sweet friend. The one I lost was red, too.

Sarah said...

Oh, I like this story very much! I love how you looked for an opportunity to bless this dear woman. With the work of your hands and heart full of God's love you gave Bird a dear and personal gift.

Gumbo Lily said...

What a blessing you were to replace Bird's apron with a new one, and a perfect fit at that! What a gift!

Jody

magsmcc said...

I love very much that all the parts of the story came together! And I love that Bird can feel properly dressed again! Well done, you!

elizabeth said...

this is beautiful. many years to such a wonderful 99 year old lady!

Pom Pom said...

I love the idea of "the perfect apron" fitting so happily on its person. I'd like to wear an apron at school.