Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Buttons make good memories

A couple months ago a friend of a friend mentioned she had some old buttons that I could have.  Being a seriously button crazed person, I jumped at the chance to get new buttons for free!  When I arrived at her house, she pulled out an old cigar box filled with buttons.   She said, "I've kept these for years because they were my mother's.  It's silly as I don't even sew."  Opening the box I saw wonderful Bakelite and celluloid buttons as well as some great chintz and china stencils.  I also saw memories.  I'd heard the wistful, somewhat melancholy tone of her voice when she gave me the buttons.  Having lost my own mother, I know how simple everyday things can bring back memories as well as a touch of sadness at the loss of a loved one. 

Pouring some of the buttons on the table, I asked which of these she could remember being on a piece of clothing.  Just like so many of us, she began picking up buttons and saying, "This was on my mom's church dress, this one came from my dad's coat, I think this was off of one of my outfits"  It's funny how a simple little button can bring back such a vivid memory. 

Already knowing what I was going to do, I thanked her for the buttons and left.  When I got home, I pulled out the buttons she had pointed out and set to work.  A few hours later I had created a lovely bracelet out of her buttons.   When I returned the buttons, now in bracelet form, to her she actually cried.  Here was a tangible and beautiful memory of her mother.  She tell me she wears it often and always smiles as it makes her feel closer to the loved ones who are no longer with her. 

Since that time I've been getting requests from others to do the same.  I'm finding these are particularly popular with military families.  A young woman (twenties) just sent me buttons and charms from her family.  She tells me the military buttons in the mix are from her grandfather, father and now brother who is currently stationed in the middle east and the charms from a grandmother who recently passed away.  She even sent photos of the 4 of them so when I make her bracelet I'll know who's buttons I'm using.  Funny thing is, I think I enjoy making these bracelets every bit as much as they enjoy getting them!

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