LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
In those days, we bought flour and corn meal in 25 pound cotton sacks that usually had a floral pattern in the material. They were actually made to serve as pillow cases but sooner or later you had way more cases than you had pillows to put them on, so women figured out that they could cut them open, sew on a hem and a pocket, trim off enough material to make tie strings and, presto, a very nice apron.
We boarded mining ponies when I was a boy and their feed often came in 100 pound white cotton sacks. You haven’t lived if you’ve never slept and scratched yourself to sleep under a feed sack bed sheet. Mom often dyed them and made aprons and jumpers with the material as well. She could get two aprons out of a feed sack, but she usually had to cut the strings and pockets out of an old dress or a flour sack. Many times I’ve heard other women tell Mom that they liked her apron pocket when it was made of some flowery piece of material sewn onto a solid colored background.
I learned how to tie a bow knot with Mom’s apron strings. She first showed me how to put an apron on a ladder back chair and then she had me tying it around her waist. When the time came to learn to tie my shoes, she told me to do it exactly the same way I did her apron strings. Piece of cake.
Since we had no sisters, Mom made my younger brothers and me learn to cook, wash dishes and do the laundry. She also made us wear aprons when we were pulling kitchen duty so that we didn’t splatter dish water or spill flour and meal on our good britches when we were making, cookies, biscuits or cornbread.