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Published: Thursday, 1/29/2004

Perrysburg Aprons featured in show

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Deborah Di Gennaro adjusts an apron owned by Mamie Eisenhower and historian Mike McMaster helps. Deborah Di Gennaro adjusts an apron owned by Mamie Eisenhower and historian Mike McMaster helps.
HIRES / BLADE Enlarge

Memories tied to aprons will be dusted off and shared with guests during a historical fashion show at Perrysburg s Way Public Library.

A committee has been working for months to organize the special celebration of aprons set for Feb. 7, said librarian Deborah Di Gennaro, just after she got her first glimpse of two aprons that will be featured during the Memories of the Apron festivities.

A blue floral organza apron, a gift donated to Mamie Eisenhower, likely will be the fanciest fabric on display. The First Lady probably never wore the apron, said Michael McMaster, educational programs coordinator for the Wood County Historical Center and Museum. The apron is on loan from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kan.

When Mr. McMaster was making arrangements to borrow the apron for the program, he was told that Mrs. Eisenhower only had a hot plate and the skills to cook fudge at the time she and Mr. Eisenhower married.

The apron has been paired with a 1950s blue tea dress from the Wood County Historical Center and Museum for the display. The center and museum is sponsoring the event along with the library.

A brown polished cotton apron worn by Lucy Webb in 1833 also is being featured. On loan from the Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont, the apron was purchased by Lucy s father, Dr. James Webb. Lucy, who later became first lady, wore the apron when she was 22 months old.

An apron donated to Ohio First Lady Hope Taft will be included in the display, along with many vintage aprons in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and fabrics. Included will be a sturdy work apron, stained perhaps from a grease splatter when a grandmother was frying chicken; and a frilly, lacy hostess apron, possibly worn by a lady of society as part of her costume when she entertained at catered dinner parties.

“We want to share some of the history of the apron, and how the functionality of the apron changed through the years,” said Mrs. Di Gennaro.

Several static displays of aprons, period kitchen utensils, and written anecdotes and memories of aprons are on exhibit through Feb. 28 at the library. Area residents who would like to share stories, memories, and anecdotes about aprons can stop by the apron display and fill out a form.

During the fashion show from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Feb. 7, guests are invited to participate in the presentation by wearing their favorite aprons. Guests are being asked to jot down a favorite memory about an apron, tuck it in the pocket, and bring it to the show, said Mrs. Di Gennaro.

During the 1930s through the 1950s, aprons were very much a part of the fabric of America, but during the 1960s women s rebellion, the first thing shed was the apron as more and more women left the hearth behind and headed for the workplace, said Penny Soboleski of Bowling Green, fashion show narrator. The 46-year-old mother of five boys and student at Bowling Green State University, calls herself an amateur collector of aprons. She has about 60 in her collection.



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