Purina Feed Bag Aprons

Mama had many sayings.  I remember she used to say, “What you wear on the inside is for you to be comfortable so that you can work, but what you wear on the outside is for others to see.  It tells a lot about you.”

Mama’s aprons were lovingly made on her old, foot-pedaled Singer Sewing Machine.  The material came from chicken feed bags made of cotton—the ones that were filled with mash from the Purina Feed Company. 

The feedbags were brightly colored pastels with lovely patterns.  The bags that held grain were brown burlap, and they were too coarse to use.

Each morning Mama came downstairs to her large, old woodstove on the chicken farm eight miles from Flemington, New Jersey.  She always wore a freshly ironed apron.  I don’t remember Mama ever wiping her hands on her apron or ever seeing a dirty one.

Her aprons were neatly stacked in a dresser drawer next to their bed in Mama and Papa’s bedroom.  She was as proud of her aprons as any movie actress would be of a closet full of designer gowns.

I wish I had one now to put against my cheek—all I have is memories.