She Didn’t Want to Give Away Her Grandma’s Purple Apron, But Wait Until You See the Special Heirloom It Turned Into

It was tough to let go of Gramma’s apron, but now this family has an even more precious reminder of her love.

country-sisters-apronKelly Stigliano via Country Extra

Just as I covered our sleepy dog with my pink blanket, the phone rang. It seemed fitting that the blanket my grandmother had soothed me with when I was a child also could warm dear old Hopeydog.

Still thinking about my sweet Gramma who died when I was 18, I answered the call. My sister, Tina, was breathless with excitement. Her friend, a skilled seamstress, had offered to take old fabrics and piece them together to make an outfit for the vintage Raggedy Ann doll that Tina had just purchased.

The doll was exactly like the one she’d had as a child, but its clothes were missing, and the “I Love You” heart stood exposed on the chest.

Tina thought clothes made from vintage material would be best. I agreed—until she asked me to send her the purple apron that belonged to Gramma.

I hesitated. “It’s precious to me, and I use it,” I said. “I don’t want it to be cut up.”

She explained that she needed a piece of the apron, and said she would make sure it came back to me intact. Then she added, “You know that sheet set with the pink flowers? Can I have one of the sheets? And what other fabrics of Gramma’s do you have?”

I swallowed hard. I love my sister and wanted to cooperate. Tina’s enthusiasm was usually contagious, but not this time. I agreed to her request, but reluctantly.

After washing all the fabric, I mailed a fitted sheet, half of the pink blanket and my beloved purple apron to Tina’s Wisconsin home.

As I sent my precious heirlooms away, I couldn’t help but wonder: Will I ever see these again?

Three weeks later the package returned to me in the mail. I slowly opened the box with trepidation. The purple apron was neatly folded on top. It looked better than ever. The ties had been reinforced and the left pocket was repaired. The other pocket was gone.

Below the apron, something was wrapped in white tissue paper. As I unwrapped it, I couldn’t believe my eyes. My sister had sent me a fish-shaped pillow made entirely out of fabrics that our grandmother had owned. There was the pink blanket and the purple apron!

country-sisters-apron-dollKelly Stigliano via Country Extra

Turning it over, I saw the familiar pink flowers and swatches of other fabric that I hadn’t seen since I was little. Tina had used a piece of her own apron from Gramma as well as other cloths that she had inherited.

I started to cry.

At the bottom of the box I found photos of Tina’s Raggedy Ann. The doll’s dress, apron and bloomers were all reminders of a wonderful childhood rich with Gramma’s love.

Hugging the fish, I called Tina. As we cried together, I thanked her for persuading me to donate things that had sat in bureau drawers for years. Because of Tina and her talented friend, we have mementos we can hold that remind us daily of our beloved Gramma and the love she had for us.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest