The Navy blue nautical-themed apron on the left was made by Ethel Turner’s mother, Alice Kimball of Albany, for Ethel’s first husband, Steve Bean, when he was in the U.S. Coast Guard many years ago. It is one of dozens of aprons that will be displayed at the Otisfield community luncheon and program, called “Aprons!” from noon to 2 p.m. June 7 at the Community Hall on Route 121 in Otisfield.

OTISFIELD — If you’re coming to the next community luncheon, make sure you wear an apron.

On June 7, a fundraising luncheon will take place at the Community Hall on Route 121, from noon until 2 p.m., featuring a salad luncheon followed by a program simply called “Aprons!”

Everyone has a story about an apron, said Ethel Turner of Otisfield, who along with her sisters Dottie Adams of Hanover and Norma Salway of Albany, will present dozens of their mother’s aprons and the stories behind them.

When Alice Kimball of Albany Township died in 2001, she left her daughters a large box filled with her personal collection of aprons, many of which she had made, said Jean Hankins of the Otisfield Historical Society.

Last August, two of the daughters, impressed and inspired by their mother’s thrift and industry, turned the apron collection into a fundraiser for a community building in Albany, Hankins said.

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The sisters will present an informative narrative of the history of aprons, which originated in 12th century Europe as a practical means of protecting workingmen’s clothing. After the presentation, participants will tell stories connected to their own aprons.

In the last century until perhaps the 1960s, the apron was viewed as an essential garment in any home, not only for women but for some men performing household or other chores.

“It’s all part of that generation. Especially those who went through the Depression,” she said.

For Turner and her sisters, the aprons bring back memories of their mother, her unique personality and what her lifestyle was like.

“She always had a dress on with aprons,” said Turner of her mother who lived on an isolated farm in Albany where her father ran a saw mill business. Even in the garden, Alice Kimball wore a dress and an apron.

Both parents were dedicated to self-sustaining farming, raising milk and beef cows, chickens for eggs, raspberries bushes for jam making. Everything was grown or raised on the farm except for essentials like sugar and flour that were purchased at a local store.

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“She sewed most of the clothes for her four daughters,” Turner said. “We were expected to help out.”

In the summer before the girls went to the pond to go swimming they had to pick berries. Every morning they separated cream from the the milk.

“It’s something I didn’t appreciate at the time, but I sure do now,” she said of the self-sustaining lifestyle she tries to carry on today.

Turner has her own favorite apron story.

“I remember my grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary. My cousin came over to my house. She was a cake baker and I wanted to help her but I stirred (the mix) too hard. I had flour all over my face. She picked up the corner of her apron to clean it off,” Turner said.

Turner said she hopes everyone will bring their favorite aprons to the luncheon and share the stories behind them.

The event is $5 per person and all proceeds will go to the Historical Society’s Town House Preservation Fund.

Reservations may be made by contacting Jean Pottle at 207-627-2244. The organizers emphasize that men and women are equally welcome to attend.

[email protected]


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