My mother had a large button box;
it was a tin that perhaps once contained a fruitcake;
My mother seldom bought new buttons unless she
was making a dress for herself, or my sister or me.
Most of the collection of buttons came from old shirts or dresses or even coats that were no longer serviceable.. Before she ever
discarded a piece of clothing, my mother removed all the buttons and put them into the button box. When I as a very young child, I liked to play with the button box, searching for the most interesting and intricate buttons, some silver, some gold, some intricately made.
I am reminded of a story I once read about women who were button makers; it was considered a fine art back in the days when it was not quite respectable for women to have jobs; it was nevertheless quite respectable to make buttons, buttons created with fine silk thread. Once a week the button man came by to collect the buttons for a clothing factory.
I have a button box–it was once a container that a fruitcake came in ( the apple didn’t fall far) Mine is an old container that I must have had for over 50 years. When a shirt or blouse is no longer serviceable, I cut off the buttons and put them into the button box. Someone asked me why I do this, inasmuch as I don’t sew.
I replied “I like buttons” but I could have just as easily replied – because this is what my mother did to add to her collection of buttons.
Sandra Lee Smith
Originally written Day 16, November 16, 2009