Buttons have always played an integral part in my life.
. . . if you count lingering in the button racks when fabric shopping as a child with my mom. Mom always knew where to find me (in the days when you could still leave your child somewhat unguarded) — fingering the button cards. They talked to me and I spent my allowance to bring them home with me.
. . . if you count a short story I once wrote about a woman who went mad, had a giggling breakdown, and had to be hauled away in a white coat while trying to decide among the many choices at the button racks. (I think they spoke to her as well.)
. . . if you count the antique jars full of old buttons that I use as door stops around my house.
. . . if you consider the hours I’ve spent in antique stores and thrift shops selecting buttons that will be much admired but never used for much more than filling those antique door-stop jars.
Or, if you count the old buttons I buy on eBay or find at yard sales. Estate sales usually have an intriguing selection of old buttons. Does everyone keep old buttons thinking one day they will have a use for them?
While I’m a junky for old buttons, I have a healthy respect for new ones, too, as they prevent me from going out in public with my shirt flapping wildly in the wind. But old buttons that have my heart.
I’m not sure what the attraction is; can anyone actually explain the feeling they get when they find something old to treasure? Something that makes them wonder in a button-y kind of way? I like to think it’s about my love of history, or rather the people who lived in history. Who was the fine lady who bought the buttons> Did she add them to a high-necked blouse she wore for her beau?
I wonder even more at the full cards of antique buttons that were never used. Were they bought (as I often do with new ones) to use for a specific project and then set aside as other buttons were finally selected?
Who know? I just love them; can’t explain it.