I posted some photos earlier this week of an amazing treasure that appeared on my doorstep a week ago: The Button Box. I feel a little bit of explanation is necessary to demonstrate the importance of this box.
The Button Box has been in my life for as long as I can remember, which is to say, it existed before I did. It belonged to my mom, but as for where it came from before then, I can’t say. (Mom? Where did you get it?)
It sat on top of our kitchen cupboards all through my childhood. When my sister Karen and I were very young, my mom would take it down and place it on the kitchen floor, and we would sort buttons for what seemed like hours. I loved finding matches for my favorite buttons: the red bubble buttons, the lemondrop-yellow ones.
When we opened the potato chip tin of The Button Box, out came a smell unlike any other–it was the smell of plastic, and possibly toxins, but it’s a wonderful, strange smell that floods me with memory. I had forgotten the floral pattern of our kitchen linoleum, the sharp brass hardware of the cupboards, the odor of coconut and chocolate bark and spices emanating from our pantry cupboard as we played with buttons…
When my sister recently dropped off The Button Box, a gift from my mom, memories came rushing back. The smell of the bucket when I popped off the tin lid. (Eventually I took the bucket outside on my patio because hubby said the smell was a bit strong and probably toxic.)
I started touching the buttons, just like I did as a kid. I actually remembered certain buttons, started looking for them, found them like tiny buried treasures or time capsules.
There are so many buttons, thousands, that I have probably never even seen many of the buttons, despite the hours I spent as a girl going through them.
All of which is to say, The Button Box is even more incredible than I remembered. I don’t know what my new career will be exactly, but I know I will be using these buttons for years to come. It truly is a treasure, worth a LOT of money I am certain.
The next project to tackle with this incredible trove is to start sorting the buttons, so that I know how many I have of each kind, and so that I can easily start using them on future projects. You will most definitely see buttons appearing in my work from now on–especially as I have been practicing button-holes on my machine in my Sewing Techniques class.
I owe a BIG “Thank you ever so much” to my mom, who always cheers me on when I dedicate myself to something new, and who had the smarts to hold onto the Button Box all those years and recognize its value.