August 11, 2011 my mother died two days after her 87th birthday. Her name was Elizabeth Pearl (Carroll) Howard. The era of her younger life was spent when being a "housewife/homemaker" was an honored profession although not thought of as a job. It was the expected duty of wife and mother. I never heard her complain of that. She kept a neat home; provided regular home cooked meals; always made sure my sister and I was clean and dressed as nice as we could afford; but most of all- taught us the good values of living a good life with our main "social" connections made in the Church.
When my sister and I cleaned out Mama's apartment, I kept the tablecloths. I think my sister kept the aprons. I cut up the three tablecloths to make keepsake gifts for our three daughters and three oldest granddaughters for Christmas.
I used 3-ring notebooks and made covers from Mama's tablecloths. Each contain recipes collected over the years from our family and Church friends.
The buttons came off of one of Mama's dresses.
I made a pocket inside each cover for collecting recipes.
This is Mama's pound cake recipe. I made notes like this on some of the recipes to add history to the memories collected here.
I used another of the tablecloths along with some other fabric to make six aprons also.
Each of the pockets came from her table cloth.
Each apron was different. It was like putting a puzzle together to get the fabric to work out.
In each apron, I added a little book of wisdom for everyday life.
Since we were all very connected to the lady who left behind the memories connected to these gifts, the opening of these presents was a somber time to absorb. I think my girls and their girls were very appreciative and grateful to the life their grandmother led. I think they are happy I took the time to turn a few pieces of fabric which carried precious memories into two useful keepsakes for each.
I am happy to hand down something to try to preserve a part of my legacy of times when women were willing to work with their hands to provide for their families. I know most women do that now in a much different way, and it is still good. It is a very different time though. It is good to remember.