Apron holds memories

From our February 2013 issue

By Jean Phillips Duncan, B.C.

A little over 90 years ago, I, Jean Thompson, was born in Henribourg, Sask., to an immigrant family and remember distinctly my Granny Nelson.

She was from Glasgow, Scotland and brought with her many household keepsakes that reminded her of her household that she ran in Scotland, providing for her husband and five children.

After her husband passed away, she and the children immigrated to Canada. She was planning the trip on the Titanic, which, as you know, struck an iceberg and sank. Fortunately the seats were sold out, so they had to travel the next year. They settled in Winnipeg, but eventually all moved to different cities in Canada.

My granny had a sweet shop in Winnipeg and my mom worked in a shirt factory making shirts for the soldiers in WWI.

My mom met and fell in love with Bert Thompson, who went overseas with the British army as a signalman. He was badly wounded with mustard gas and was in the military hospital for almost a year. He was shipped home when the war ended in 1918 and they were married in early 1919 and settled in the new town of Henribourg.

I was born in 1920 and my brother in 1921. My father’s health was very poor and he had to leave his teaching position. He died in 1924 leaving his wife and two children.

Granny gave up her sweet shop in Winnipeg and moved out to live with us on the homestead.

Granny had big aprons that she wore over her housedresses for every chore, inside and out! These big aprons could carry a cabbage head, peas and carrots from the garden, eggs from the henhouse, and many other things.

She would even cuddle the smaller farm animals in her apron. Sometimes the apron would even shelter her from the weather or us children from some danger.

Through the years, I used aprons a lot and then my daughter, Georgie, who loves to sew, made the apron (pictured) and gave it to me on Mother’s Day. It is now over 30 years old. It has been washed, starched, and mended many times and I am still using it.

Jean’s treasured apron

Just recently, my helper, Mavis, mended it once again, but warned me it won’t last too much longer!

This apron has also made many trips to the garden for fresh vegetables and to the henhouse for eggs. It has protected my clothes when I cooked supper after work and holds many dear memories of my years of caring for my family. Long live the apron!