Weekend Report
Five Pictures

The Aprons of Yesteryear


While waiting for my learning-in-retirement class to begin the other day, the subject of aprons came up. The discussants of this highly intellectual topic were my high-school friend Ruth, who by coincidence is a member of my learning-in-retirement program, and me.

Our class is studying 1908 and 1928, two important years in American culture. Baseball, Henry Ford, and Orville and Wilbur Wright have been among the subjects we’ve discussed.

I’m not sure how Ruth and I got on the topic of aprons, but we were reminiscing about our high school Home Economics class (long after 1928) and wondering whether such a class exists in high schools today.  

Both of us distinctly remembered the aprons we sewed in class. They had a wide pocket below the waist and some rickrack stitched across the top part across our chests. Mine was a happy fabric, 100% cotton, a cream-colored background with a tiny-multi-colored-flowers pattern. I can picture it as if it was yesterday.

We also “learned” to cook. I think the first thing we made was oatmeal, but maybe it was tuna fish casserole. I am sure it was something beige-colored. I know that the best thing we made was peanut brittle.

We’re not sure what the boys in our class did in their Home Economics class (which was called “Shop”) but we think they made bookends.

Not sure how well making an apron prepared me for life, but I know I haven’t thought about it for sixty-five years.


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I'm just a few years younger than you and well remember home ec, which we had for 2 years, 7th and 8th grades. I almost flunked 8th grade because I had such trouble running the sewing machine. However, I do remember actually learning a lot about cooking and also useful skills such as table setting and clean-up. One of the first things I remember making was stuffed prunes, which I believe was intended to be an appetizer? Or a dessert? Or a snack? We stuffed pitted prunes with marshmallow or peanut butter or whole almonds. The culmination of our learning in 8th grade was a full course meal. For that one, we had an extra long class that ran into the lunch hour. It's sad that most school systems have done away with home ec, which I think may play a role in so many younger people not cooking these days.

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