June 12, 2008

Button Button, who's got the button?

This was a popular party game when I was a kid. Long before Velcro closures and soft knits that pull over the head with ease...everything had buttons back when I was young and dirt was new.

My favorite memory of buttons is making button necklaces drawn from mother's or grandmother's button baskets. Mother's was an open oval that had buttons in the bottom topped by a round piece of wood with nails driven through it for holding spool thread, then a big pair of scissors on top of that. I don't remember a pin cushion but there had to be one, or maybe one of those paper packets of needles. Grandma Pearl's buttons were in a small round lidded basket container which looks ancient.

When I had my beauty salon I hung wall quilts there, often embellished with buttons. Many of my older customers brought me their button jars, happy to give them to someone who would enjoy them. And I do! I have them sorted by color in pint to half-gallon jars so I can quickly find shade and size needed for a project.

The days of a button jar in every home are long past. We no longer wear our clothes until they wear out, removing buttons before the cloth goes into the rag bag. Clothes are worn for a short time and then donated or thrown away, delicious buttons and all. Too bad, there is much to be enjoyed in spreading out a container of buttons on the floor, taking needle and thread in hand, and making a button necklace for grandma.

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