April 12, 2016

Thursday, April 9, 2015

NPM 2015: What Are You Wearing, Jone MacCulloch?

It's the second Friday of National Poetry Month, 2015. Are you feeling the poetry  love?

Mention a synonym for "pink" in the comments
and you might win today's giveaway:
This hand-knitted scarf. It has sequins!
This week's round-up is at Laura Purdie Salas' blog, Writing the World for Kids. Jama Rattigan has a list of kids' lit National Poetry Month projects and celebrations at Alphabet Soup.

All this month, guest bloggers are putting on their finery here at Author Amok. We're doing a month-long feature on poetry about clothes. In addition to the guest posts, every Friday in April I'll post a round-up of original and recommended clothing poems. (Send those via email to laurashovan at gmail dot com or leave them in the comments). You'll find a weekly writing prompt at the bottom of this post.

Meet today's guest blogger, poet Jone MacCulloch of the blog Check It Out.

Thanks for having me today, Laura. I am so glad for this topic for National Poetry Month.
One of my favorite people growing up was Grandma Mac. Even though she lived in New Jersey, she visited us in California every summer and Christmas. Sometimes I wish that I had been more open to learning things she wanted to teach me such as tatting.

L to R: Grandpa Mac, Grandma Mac, and male relative

I inherited several of Grandma Mac’s aprons and still have the one she sewed for me with a left handed pocket and my name in French knots. (She was able to teach me that stitch and others).

AuthorAmok says: That Jersey Girl had style.
The knotted letters are like
a love note from Grandma Mac.

After her daughter’s death in 2011, I received Grandma Mac’s journal.  It’s evident by her entries that sewing and embroidery were things she loved.  Here’s her journal entry for January 24, 1916: 

An excerpt from Grandma Mac's journal.
"Another pretty day..."
I went looking for a poem about aprons and found this:

I don't think our kids know what an apron is.

The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears…

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables.

After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men-folk knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.


Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool.

Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.

I never caught anything from an apron…But Love.

(Author Unknown)

What’s interesting about this poem is the history.  Although it says that the author is unknown, there is a correction stating that Tina Trivett actually wrote the poem.
And then, there’s this web page with the same poem but slightly revised.
Aprons?  Do you wear them?  I still do. Especially the one in the middle, pictured here.

Jone Rush MacCulloch: is a teacher-librarian during the school year and a blogger, poet, and writer the rest of the time.  Her passion for poetry is shared with students in her after school club, Poetry Rocks: Performance Poetry Group.

Jone is published in the newest Poetry Friday Anthology: Celebrations as well as in a couple of haiku publications.  She is currently working on a middle grade novel in verse.

Outside of school and writing, she likes to take road trips her husband, two dachshunds, and be with family.  She usually has a camera, pen, and notebook in hand.  Find her at Deowriter, Check It Out, or @JoneMac.

Thanks for this wonderful post, Jone. A few years ago, my mother bought my daughter and me matching pink aprons with an adorable cupcake print. They are almost too pretty to wear.

ICYMI: In this series...

Jane Elkin looks in her childhood closet. Poems by Mark Irwin and Ron Koertge.

*Your suggested clothing poem prompt for Friday, April 10: Shoes.
On the practical level, they protect our feet from lumps and bumps. But shoes can be engineered for running, biking, or dance. They can be impractical works of art, colorful and sky-high. What does a pair of shoes say about the wearer?

Send your poems any time. I'll post original work and recommended poems on Fridays.

Try this on for size ... recommended clothing poems.

A red dress, in "The Cure," by Ginger Andrews. Recommended by Diane Mayr.

Here's a wardrobe to keep our clothing poems in. Parrish Lantern recommends another poem by French author Valerie Rouzeau.

And listen to the warm words of "This Shirt" by Mary Chapin Carpenter. Recommended by Renee the Tulip.


Gathering Books said...

I love aprons! I wear aprons! I think one can say I invest in them. Each time I work in the kitchen especially I wear one. This was warm. I wrote about my grandparents in our blog weeks ago and reading this brought back memories. Thanks for sharing this poem.

Linda B said...

I still have old aprons too, Jone, but I don't wear them. You've made me want to after reading the poem & all the ways Grandma Mac used them. I love the line about the shy kids. Beautifully done. As for pink, Laura, how about 'cerise'! Thanks for a wonderfully nostalgic post.

Liz Steinglass said...

I absolutely love this poem and all the very specific and concrete uses of the apron. It completely transported me to a different time and place.

Anonymous said...

I love, love, love the poem and do occasionally wear an apron. Especially to grill outside. Make me feel fireproof. LOL

Jone said...

Thank you for allowing me to guest blog. Fuchsia is another name for pink.

jama said...

Wonderful post, Jone. Love hearing about your grandmother. That apron with the embroidered name is so precious. Enjoyed the poem, especially those last lines about pie (so true) . . . :)

HATBOOKS Author Holly Thompson said...

Nice post with the shared poem on aprons. Japan is apron country--aprons for so many purposes . . .especially PTA duties.

Robyn Hood Black said...

What a great post, Jone - thanks for sharing so much in it. I too was transported to my grandmother's house - in the sticks of Arkansas. I do wear aprons in my art studio. I'm good at making messes!

Mary Lee said...

I keep the apron I inherited from my great aunt in my closet at school, but I doubt I would actually wear it if it were in danger of getting seriously dirty! My husband is the only one who wears an apron to cook. He has a black denim apron, rugged and manly.

laurasalas said...

Lovely post--this makes me want to wear an apron--even though I hate to cook!

Irene Latham said...

I love how these aprons connect Jone with her grandmother and history! Beautiful. One of my treasures is an apron my grandmother wore and gave to me. My fondest memories are of sitting on a stool watching her cook (she talked to me the whole many stories!). A synonym for pink... blush! (I also love scarves. And sequins. :)

Catherine Johnson said...

What a fabulous apron poem! So nice to read the memories you have, Jone.