Senior Center show celebrates aprons

Jul. 20, 2013 @ 11:15 PM

A group of ladies brought aprons out of the kitchen and onto the runway at an apron show at Fort Sanders Sevier Senior Center on Friday.

Storyteller Virginia Borelli, community outreach coordinator for Sevier County Public Library System, spoke at the event, celebrating the nostalgia of aprons and the many stories that stem from them.

"You could do lots of things with Granny's apron," Borelli said. "You could turn it into a basket for flowers or digging up potatoes. If you were hanging clothes on the line, you could use it as a pocket for clothes pins. Granny might even dust off the table with an apron if she saw company coming."

Sevier County resident Helen Karr brought several aprons to the show. One 71-year old apron is especially significant to her. When she was a 3-year-old child, her mother sewed an apron for her. One year later, Karr's mother passed away. Her memories of her mother are now faint, she said, but she will always have that special apron.

"I was surprised when my stepmother gave it to me," she said. "I'm going to have it framed. I just treasure it."

Karr also has an apron she fashioned from flour sacks years ago. "I saved those sacks for years before I decided to do something with them," she said. "I thought it would be nice to have something like that to pass down to my children."

Joan T. Saas led the show and parade with her colorful, handmade Polish apron, crafted in the 1980s. "I love the workmanship and the colors in it," she said. "I wear it often, and I especially love wearing it on Christmas Eve when we have a traditional Polish meal. It's very special to me.

Another apron that is meaningful to Haas is one she sewed for her son when he was a toddler. "At first, he wanted one because my husband wore one for his tools," she said. "I bought the material to make it at a dime store in downtown Sevierville. He wore it almost all the time – on vacation, fishing, and around the house. When he passed away last year, I buried it with him."

Aprons may conjure up images of 1950s housewives, but they have served important roles in many industries, and still do. From blacksmiths to barbers, men and women both have been served well by aprons.

For many, aprons bring with them distant memories of times passed. "I've never cooked with them, but now I use them for telling stories, and that's been useful." Borelli said.

jfrye@themountainpress.com