Mama’s Button Tin

When I was growing up, my parents “made do”. My mom made all of our clothes except for socks, underwear, and shoes. She did make our slippers, though. She could see an article of clothing in an ad or hanging on a rack in a store and she could make it.

They found free or almost no cost activities (dance, (acrobatics for my brothers), piano). My mom and her friends and relatives would pass clothing back and forth, handing them down to the next kids. Often mama would do various tasks like typing report cards, handling billing, mimeographing, sewing costumes in exchange for lessons. Any article of clothing that wore out was cut up, using the unworn fabric for other articles of clothing, napkins, or quilts. To that end, every single button, reusable trim or elastic,  and zipper was reused. At her side throughout my childhood I got to remove the buttons, zippers, lace, rickrack, eyelet, and elastic! I would take each button and place it in this totally amazing tin.

Mama’s button tin was shaped like a hexagon. It said America the Beautiful on it. It had various scenes on it ~ such as “beautiful mountains majesty” “amber waves of grain”, and “sea to shining sea”. Oh how I loved that tin. We would talk about God’s beautiful creation, imagine what it would be like to instantly go to each of those places. Sometimes I would take many of the buttons back out and we would talk about what article of clothing they came from. Buttons are expensive to buy and so are zippers and other notions. So each thing we saved and repurposed had meaning and value. Meaning because of the memories. Value because of the memories and the money saved.

When I imagine that tin to this very day, I can picture my mom and me. I was usually sitting on the floor at her feet. I just liked that. We would merrily chatter away about anything and everything. To some people it may just be a pile of buttons. To me. . . it is a heart full of hope, joy, dreams, and memories. I do not have the tin, but I sure can picture it and the buttons.

Memories are sometimes all we have. Mama’s Button Tin held a lifetime of memories. That makes them all the more precious. Do you have memories like that?

About Kate Kresse

I love to write, I love to talk, I love to uplift people when I can. I am a woman in love with life. I am a wife, mom, tutor, writer, and I am a perennial optimist. (OK not every single minute but you get the point! :-)
This entry was posted in faith/courage/miracles/hope. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Mama’s Button Tin

  1. What a beautiful memory.

  2. I love this post, Kate! I grew up the same way. My mom saved everything from old garments – elastic, buttons, zippers, rickrack, you name it, and used it again. She had a huge button jar – a one gallon size – full of old buttons, some of which had been my grandmother’s. I have some of those old buttons now; I cherish them and the memories they provide for me.

    • Kate Kresse says:

      Oh gosh I bet it is fun to see them… i remember loving the sparkly ones, the oversized ones, wooden ones, and noncircular ones!!

      • Yes, all sizes and shapes and colors! I put the ones I have in an old blue pint Mason jar that was my grandmother’s and they sit on top of my cabinets in the laundry room along with some other antique items (old iron with wooden handle, some old jars, my grandmother’s washboard, etc.)

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