Flowers, fruit, kewpies, and cats adorn the linens from this era. The pieces were made to be used daily, not hidden away in storage.
Though linens needed to be sturdy enough to stand up to all the work required of them, their true worth lay in the joy they brought into Depression-era kitchens. They injected a bit of whimsy and added a certain measure of femininity.
Fortunately for us, antique stores and flea markets abound with lovely pieces still in pretty good condition to admire. They speak of generations past with many stories to tell. To me, they're works of art.
Tablecloths: I own a few tablecloths, but frankly, I rarely use them. Maybe on a holiday I'll pull one out, otherwise I don't use tablecloths. Growing up, we never did use them either. There were six kids and mother prepared three meals a day, so it was easier to simply wash the tabletop down than to mess with tablecloths. This was also true for my grandmothers.
Aprons: By the way, my own mother never wore an apron. Instead, she would wear a "housecoat." However, my maternal grandmother did wear aprons, nothing fancy, just something to keep her own clothes clean from spills and splatter. As for myself, I wear an apron half the time, thus I stain my clothes on a regular basis. I never learn! Reward: New clothes!