Button Button, Who's Got the Button was a game my Grandma invented to keep us little ones occupied. Her button tin was a special treat reserved for special occasions. We gathered around her enticed by the sounds of buttons as she shook the tin, removing the lid with a flourish. We gasped with pleasure at the magical sight within. A couple of rules then off she went, leaving us with So. Many. Buttons. We made up more games and played for hours. There were buttons of glass, celluloid, mother-of-pearl, metal, bone, wood, clay, seeds, and cloth. A spectacular universe of buttons! We lost ourselves in time and space, sorting, pairing, arranging by color, size, and demeanor. We built a fantasy world peopled by buttons.
We had queens and princesses, mothers and daughters, dancers, sailors, stodgy old ladies, men with stinky cigars.
Shiny mother-of-pearls, bejeweled and bedazzled glass rarities ranked highest.
Celluloids in dark, deco patterns became buxom old women and cigar smoking old men.
Sleek brass buttons with metal insignia could be our knights or sailors.
Scores of Depression era white shirt buttons sewn to bits of cloth, boring, were cast aside.
Precious and teensy, cherished for decades, were buttons intended for a baby’s layette.
Buttons became flowers, walkways, decorative patterns. There were no limits.
I adored button day. My Mother's tin was equally fascinating on those long Buffalo winter days. I sorted and arranged her collection, lost in my own thoughts, my design brain at work
So of course! I have a button box (my tin rusted in Florida). I filled with treasures from Mom and Grandma and added my own. There are project leftover buttons and project wanna be's. Oddities from estate sales. Artsies for some day. Buttons traded and buttons shared. Piles and piles of buttons.
I sift through the jumble in search of just the right one, transported. Those button days. A skirt I made at 23, an outfit for my child, a jacket woven at 37. Metal flowers, animal shapes, antlers. Saved for later days. I turn them over in my hand, let them drop back into their box.