As I have written many times before, ‘home’ means different things to different people depending on life experience, culture, geography and slew of other factors. However, it wasn’t until I saw this photograph from Twisted Beans, The History of Aprons, that I knew I’d finally come upon an image that truly screamed ‘home’ to me. It’s not a photo of a cute little cottage with a white picket fence, or a family sitting around a board game … it’s this lovely, slightly chubby, white-haired lady standing at her kitchen sink.
It could have been a photograph of my own grandmother. She always wore a ‘pinny’ and it was rarely clean and pristine because it carried on it—and in it—the work, effort and love she had put into her day … whether she’d been frying bacon on the Aga, scrubbing saucepans at the sink, plucking roses from the garden, or treating the furniture to a good dose of elbow grease and polish.
As a young child, I would careen into that apron for an ample-bosomed hug and breathe in the trace aromas of baking, rose petals, dishwashing soap and whatever else had been spilled or wiped that day. It represented a warm and safe place to snuggle and there was nothing better than coming away from my grandmother’s embrace with a bit of flour on my cheek or soap suds on the tip of my nose.
This was back in the day before pre-fabricated food … before ‘gluten intolerances’ and dietary fastidiousness became obsessive; bread was hearty and butter was slathered without shame.
It was back before mothers and grandmothers wore Spandex, took Pilates and went off in search of ‘themselves’.
And, it was well before germaphobes roamed the planet spraying down surfaces and sanitizing everything and everyone they come upon.
I know … we can’t go back, but whatever ‘home’ means to us, we can make a conscious choice to insert parts of it into our present lives. Admittedly, I don’t bake bread and I don’t have any butter in my ‘fridge, but I do own a slightly stained pinny (paint dabs and glue, rather than flour and polish) and I never pass a rose without stooping to breathe in its perfume and inhale the sweet memories.