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?