Classes · On Writing · Writing Life

Wounded Writers Ask – Apron

In ten lines or less, write about an apron.

Wicket from Word Well – which today is from Ben Van Dongen

Horseshoe (boy, he’s really challenging me!)

Horseshoe Apron

I’d like to say there were horseshoes on her apron. A pretty apron, solid red with blue horseshoes and a frilly bottom. That would be nice. But that’s not the truth. She wore aprons. Wrapped them around her round, hard belly. A four-children-lived-in-here belly. The apron was sewn by her hands. And there were many. She was always sewing and making. Even her clothes she made. Layers of material she chose, she cut, she basted, she sewed. To fit her Italian stock like a girdle. She wears a girdle too. I don’t know anyone who wears a girdle. Not then…not now. Skirts – that’s all she wore. Straight and solid-coloured. Just-below-the-knee length. Modest yet classy. And stockings that lasted years. She even mended the runs. Over and over again so that there were chunks of threaded bumps down her leg, at her toes. Call it thrift. Call it wartime. Call it like it is – she never cared about how it looked. Just that it was functional. Just that it covered her. Just that it enabled her to keep sewing.

The kitchen was hers. Owned and operated for 60 years. And always, she wore an apron. Thin, made of leftover material from other projects. Dirty with tomato sauce, wine, garlic – with the life of the kitchen. Sometimes there were clumps of food on it that would scratch my face when I pushed into her belly for an embrace. I loved her kitchen. Her power. Her timing. Her skills to feed twelve hungry mouths.

One time she made two aprons. One for me. One for my daughter. Her great-granddaughter. I can’t remember mine, isn’t that sad? I can remember my daughter’s though. It had a brown border, and patches of M&M patterned material sewn together like a quilt. It was beautiful. It was small, to fit a little girl’s body. My daughter wore it all the time. Even when she wasn’t baking. She wore it – and that’s all, her naked flesh happy with the freedom of the apron’ design. We kept it. She uses it on her dolls now.

Aprons are holders. Keepers of the cooking, the drinking, the spilling, the damage and the cleaning up.

I bought myself an apron recently. It was on sale at a fancy store. It is plain. A modest beige linen with white stripes. It covers my chest too. I forget to wear it mostly. But when I remember, I’m so happy to have it on. It’s so intuitive. So useful. It wraps me up and I like that feeling. It makes me feel important – like, maybe I know what I’m doing in the landscape that is my kitchen.

When I brought it to her house, she noticed it right away. She touched it, held the material between her her bent and knotted knuckles. She told me it was beautiful. It looked good on me. She liked me cooking in her kitchen.

She doesn’t cook much anymore. She is ninety this year. Age keeps her seated in the dining


Wow. That went by quickly! I was getting emotional writing this…indeed, way more than ten lines! I didn’t follow the rules. Is that okay?!

If you’re enjoying these…and you feel inspired to learn about where I’m getting the prompts from, please visit the Wounded Writers Ask website for details on how to get involved yourself!

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