=Growing up on the Acadian Peninsula in the northeast of New Brunswick, Jocelyne Losier remembers her mother Lina Losier always wearing an apron.
"They were not fancy aprons and she wore them in the house, out in the garden, everywhere," says the 61-year-old who every summer returns from her Montreal home to spend several weeks at the family homestead in the Losier Settlement on the peninsula.
Although as a child Losier's interests were not in the kitchen but riding the tractor and working outdoors with her father Willie, it was years later that she began to collect aprons as a hobby.
When Losier, as the youngest child, inherited the homestead after her parents died, she and her sister Yvette opened a bed-and-breakfast at the house in 1986.
"We only operated it in the summer months because I live in Montreal," she explains. "To serve breakfast for me it was automatic that I wear an apron and so it became a ritual."
In the meantime, friends and guests of the bed-and-breakfast were adding to her apron collection and now she has about 400 which she keeps at the house. Even now, she still dons some of the more exquisite aprons when she is cooking a meal during her annual stay in the homestead where she reunites with family members who come from all over the continent to be together.
It would appear that aprons are making a comeback, says Losier. She cites the work being done by Dallas, Texas, apron curator EllyAnne Geisel who put together a travelling women's museum in 2006. The contributors to Apron Chronicles recall a woman who had worn an apron and what she represented to the family, an event when an apron was worn and values and traditions from a gentler, less complicated time.
The tour is running in the U.S. until 2011, says Nicole Gilbert, registrar at the Women's Museum in Dallas. Currently it is at the Pearce Collection Museum in Corsicana, Texas, until Aug. 28. It will then move on to the Roland Park Country School in Baltimore, Md., from Oct. 19 to Nov. 30. After that it goes to the Franklin G. Burroughs & Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach from Jan. 10 to March 19, 2010.
A number of Losier's aprons will be on display during the Congres Mondial Acadien (World Acadian Congress 2009) being held on the Acadian Peninsula in northeast New Brunswick from Aug. 7 to 23.
Three towns on the peninsula will be hosting the gathering of Acadians. The first week it will be held in Shippagan and Lameque, the second in Caraquet and the third in Tracadie-Sheila.
"We are Acadian and every five years there is an international gathering which takes place in different venues," says Losier. "The first three took place in Moncton, Louisiana and Nova Scotia."
Visitors can enjoy a large portion of her apron display as well as treasures and collectibles when the Women's Institute holds a special tea Aug. 12 to 26 and Aug. 19 to 22 from 1 to 5 p.m. daily. It is located at 5217 Route 160, Pont Landry, N.B.
"We are going be serving molasses cake as well as blueberry cake and jelly roll along with New Brunswick's famous King Cole tea," says Losier.
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