May 31, 2015

Happy Mother's Day.

It's Mother's Day in Algeria, France, Morocco, and Sweden. I learned that at Wikipedia, which illustrates the concept of Mother's Day with this photograph:



I love the photo selection. It's so absurdly timeless, so unlike any Mother's Day photograph an ad agency would produce, yet it's posed and iconic, in the manner of ad photography. She's so happy with just that card, and the card itself is absurdly timeless. And that apron! That symbol of maternity, gone now, isn't it?

ADDED: When did the mothers on TV shows stop wearing aprons? I say it was Laura Petrie who changed the style:



(She wore pants too.) Compare Donna Reed:

 

"The Donna Reed Show" was on from 1958 to 1966. "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (the one with Laura Petrie/Mary Tyler Moore) was on from 1961 to 1966.

40 comments:

Meade said...

She looks like Dave Letterman's mom.

Laslo Spatula said...

Thanks for soiling my fantasy, Meade.

I was figuring she had several grand-daughters that all lived on the farm together and frolicked in the woods while looking for things to milk.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Soiling" rather than "Spoiling" WAS intentional.

By the way.

I am Laslo.

GAHCindy said...

Not gone. I still wear aprons like that. But then, maybe I'm absurdly timeless, too. ;)

Gahrie said...

Why and how is an apron a sign of maternity? I wear one often when I cook.

Ann Althouse said...

I think men are more likely than women to wear aprons now. It's a grilling-outside thing. But aprons were symbols of motherhood... to be tied to the apron strings was to be too attached to your mother.

Look at the stills from TV shows in the 50s and 60s. The mother always had an apron on for her kitchen scenes.

Laslo Spatula said...

So the Neo-Nazi Girlfriend who Is Not My Girlfriend invites me to come along when she visits her mother. I realize that this is probably not a great idea -- it giving the appearance of this being a Relationship and all -- but I decide to go along, because I know we will have sex afterward.

It turns out her Mother is a sweet, sweet soul who wears a plaid apron, likes to bake chocolate-chip cookies, and is fine to be around as long as you don't bring up Black People. Or ask about the tattoo on her neck.

The tattoo on her neck: it is the name of her husband in a flowing script, followed by the year 2016. Being that it is not 2016 yet I realize it isn't a commemoration of his death; it turns out that 2016 is the year he will be released from prison. And now I am already invited to the 'Welcome Home' Party. There will be a stupendous cake, I am told.

I really don't want to know why her husband is in prison, but she tells me anyway: there was a misunderstanding, see, so her husband beat a man to death with a crowbar. It turns out it wasn't racist in intent: it was dark, and her husband didn't realize the victim was black until after he started beating him; so it just worked out that way, him killing a black man.

Anyway, this happened when the Neo-Nazi Girlfriend who Is Not My Girlfriend was only two, so all her memories of him are from prison visits, and the letters and cards she would receive from him and her 'Prison Uncles'. It seems that she has quite the support system of men who have promised to kill anyone that harms 'their little girl' once they are out of prison.

As we get ready to leave her mother brings me a plate of fresh-baked cookies to take home, and thanks me for being such a Polite Young White Gentleman. Then the Neo-Nazi Girlfriend who Is Not My Girlfriend and I go back to her place and have sex.

As I lay on her futon I realize that not only do I have to get out of this situation, I have to get out before 2016. And maybe move to a new town.

It is good to have a deadline, sometimes.


I am Laslo.

tim maguire said...

Interesting that the show with the traditional woman was named after the woman and the show with the modern woman was named after her husband.

Ann Althouse said...

Donna Reed was a significant film star for almost 20 years — she'd even won an Oscar — before she went on TV, which was considered kind of demeaning. Of course the show was named after her. Dick Van Dyke was the star who got his name on the show back when Mary Tyler Moore was a nobody.

Both shows had a different last name for the fictional characters, and of course, the wife and husband had the same last names.

Rusty said...

Just once on the Donna Reed show I[d like to have seen an episode where there was a knock on the door and Donna Reed opens the door and there stands a group of soldiers. One of em says, " Remember us from Schofield barracks?"

Ann Althouse said...

From Wikipedia: "Donna Stone (Donna Reed) is the idealized middle class housewife to Alex, and the mother of Mary and Jeff. She grew up on a farm and became a nurse. She sometimes works as a nurse on the show. Donna was married to Alex when she was 18 and the couple live in fictional Hilldale. She participates in community activities such as charity campaigns and amateur theatricals. Like several television wives and mothers of the 1950s, she inexplicably wears heels, pearls, and chic frocks to do the housework."

Coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim maguire said...

Prof., I'm aware of all that, but it's irrelevant.

J. Farmer said...

Thanks to the wonders of Nick at Nite, I watched both shows growing up in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I loved Moore's Laura Petrie, she combined a really coy sex appeal with terrific comic timing. In retrospect, the show seemed like an early 60s reaction to the Kennedy era. Is there a Mamie/Jackie split in the Donna Stone/Laura Petrie dichotomy?

J. Farmer said...

@Tim Maguire:

Another distinction between the shows was that Donna Reed was the star of the show, which focused almost exclusively on her role as housewife and matriarch of the family. Plots were almost exclusively based around problems arising from the children, school, community, etc. The Dick Van Dyke Show was something of an innovation in that it tended to follow the husband during his day at work and would then follow him back home as he interacted with his wife, child, and neighbors.

rcommal said...

Here's a different view about Laura Petrie being associated with aprons.

There's something called The Laura Petrie apron here (as well as The Donna Reed, The Ethel Mertz and The Edith Bunker).

I'm not seeing much in the way of stills featuring Laura in aprons out there, though.

As it happens, I do wear aprons all the time while cooking and engaging in certain other activities, but they'd probably be described as the sort a man would use while grilling (my husband, however, never wears one). I only have one that's sort of cute and frilly, but I never wear it (too thin, too impractical and it's only from the waist down which, since I'm short, doesn't cut it).

Paddy O said...

"I think men are more likely than women to wear aprons now. It's a grilling-outside thing."

Oddly enough, I'm wearing an apron right now (I really am). Just made some homemade rocky road ice cream for a party later today and forgot to take it off. This post reminded me I have it on.

It's really good ice cream, by the way. Can get a much better chocolate taste at home.

Not quite as good as the mimosa ice cream I made earlier in the week. That was amazing.

Paddy O said...

I never usually wear an apron, but my 3 year old helped me in the process and she insists that we need to wear aprons when cooking .

rcommal said...

For short women, those half-aprons don't really cut it, in my experience.

Roughcoat said...

I fell in love with Donna Reed when I was a kid after watching "They Were Expendable." She looked so pretty and capable and brave in her army nurse uniform while tending to a wounded John Wayne on Bataan. No wonder John Wayne's character fell in love with her. I decided that when I grew up I wanted to marry a girl just like Donna Reed's character in that movie.

rcommal said...

Paddy: Ha! As it happens, I'm wearing an apron right now, too. That's probably why this post caught my interest, since I don't really spend much time thinking about aprons, even while wearing them. (Which is a good thing, because otherwise I'd be thinking a lot about aprons! Or maybe it would be better if I did, come to think of it. Huh. I'll have to consider that.)

Roughcoat said...

Remember the scene in "Rebel Without a Cause" where James Dean reacts with pity and disgust upon seeing his father, Jim Backus, wearing an apron?

"Oh, dad ..."

Birches said...

Hipsters all wear aprons. Check out anthropologie. It's a thing.

Ann Althouse said...

"I'm not seeing much in the way of stills featuring Laura in aprons out there, though."

I couldn't find any. Her modern style was a crafted image that was important to people of that time, and I think no apron, like slacks, was a key element.

Ann Althouse said...

"Hipsters all wear aprons. Check out anthropologie. It's a thing."

Those look great, but I'm suspicious. I suspect the word is being used to describe a summer dress with a bodice that's held up with a tie at the back of the neck. The skirt seems to go all the way around.

William said...

Why are there no sexual fetishes attached to aprons? I have never seen a transgendered person wearing an apron.

Ann Althouse said...

Okay. I looked at the actual Anthropologie site and I'm convinced they are actual aprons. Very cute. I could use one! I'm always splattering my clothes, but it's just not that important these days when clothes are washable and it's easy to do laundry and to avoid ironing.

rcommal said...

Althouse: Yet, the reason I did some Googling is because I was recalling that she did wear an apron, though definitely, absolutely not so prominently as Donna etc., in the show itself. Admittedly, however, I was very young then, so my recollection is of more limited use.

I don't think of Petrie being featured so much in the kitchen or at mealtimes as the others, and no doubt that, too, was by design for the reasons to which you allude. Perhaps it's all of a piece. By extension, perhaps stills of the character in an apron weren't taken or featured.

There's at least one picture out there of Petrie in an apron (see the FB link I posted), but that, of course, in no way undercuts your point.

rcocean said...

Today someone like Laura would have an illegal alien nanny and cook and probably work at a law firm making $300,000 a year.

Rob would probably work at home most days. Riche would be enrolled in private elementary school with a tuition of $25,000/year.

Riche would still be annoying as hell, only more knowledgeable.

rcommal said...

Oh, LOL (more like chuckle out loud):

Here is a post, I'd bet connected to a mother's day, which features 10 actresses speaking about the famous TV mothers they portrayed. (The link goes to Archive of American Television, a website affiliated with the Television Academy Foundation.

Mary Tyler Moore does specifically mention the pants but says nothing about aprons; Florence Henderson, however, is quoted as saying, "I would never wear an apron. I wanted to wear sexy nightgowns."

Fun!

n.n said...

Wearing an apron facilitates a lifestyle in the home and community with reduced need for change of clothing. You can work, serve, play, and fry it up in a pan, while reducing your water consumption and clothing budget.

n.n said...

Women in pants. Just don't do it. H/T to Althouse.

CatherineM said...

I remember reading that the censors thought Laura Petrie's Capri pants were too tight and so they had to let them out.

I was a big fan of Millie. Never enough Millie on that show was my only complaint.

CatherineM said...

Twin beds have also gone the way of the apron.

Babaluigi said...

Huh, I never thought about Laura Petrie not wearing an apron... A "full length" apron helps preserve one's entire outfit from spatters (stuff flies when I am cooking) and the bottom half is also good for wiping one's hands (and is is always in reach).

richard mcenroe said...

If Mary Tyler Moore in Capri pants was wrong, I don't want to be right.

If Laslo wears Capri pants, I don't want to informed.

Ann Althouse said...

"There's at least one picture out there of Petrie in an apron (see the FB link I posted), but that, of course, in no way undercuts your point."

Oh, I hadn't noticed there was a picture of her there. The other woman was so prominent. So, yeah, there is at least one. That's no the Laura I remember, but maybe when she was doing a dinner for Rob's boss and was dressed up, she'd wear a dressy apron like that.

St. George said...

Check out this music video that Dick Van Dyke made...recently...with an obscure dance band... He is 89 and dances up a storm.

He was about 40 when "The Dick Van Dyke Show" went off the air, Mary Tyler Moore was 29.

Gahrie said...

Florence Henderson, however, is quoted as saying, "I would never wear an apron. I wanted to wear sexy nightgowns."

She didn't have to...she had a full time maid who certainly did.

By the way, Carol Brady had a full time maid and no job....along with six kids?

Mike must have been putting in extra hours at the architect job......

Paddy O said...

"Or maybe it would be better if I did, come to think of it."

I found it very useful! The splash and spills weren't a bother. And with a 3 year old helping there were a bit more of those. It's easy to do a wash, sure, but here in parched SoCal it's not environmentally conscious to wash clothes more than necessary.

Plus, it added a sense of cooking flair. I had my wife call me Chef Paddy the rest of the morning.