Saturday, September 5, 2015

Who's got the button?

Button, button. Who's got the button? Again, the brain kicks into gear, and I wonder why these words have come to mind. Button, button, Who's got the button? Remember the game? Hands clasped together with the button in between. The person in the middle of the circle had to decide who the button was passed to. In the earlier rendition of the game, an adult would sit at the bottom of a stairway, hiding the button in his/her hands. If the child guessed the correct hand, he/she could go to the next step. The child to reach the top was the winner.

Buttons. Mom Johnson had a basket of buttons. Of course, everyone saved them. Buttons were often lost, especially by those rowdy, farm kids at play. When a garment was completely worn out (and I do mean completely) or when someone passed and no one could use the clothing, the buttons were clipped off and saved. When we went to my grandparent's house, I would play with these buttons. I remember old flat buttons shaped like flowers. There were a gazillion underwear buttons. Little white buttons with only two holes. Evidently the underwear wore out first, probably because it was not washed very regularly. So I got to play with the lovely buttons.

Mom saved buttons. Why not? Saved money. Saved running to the store to buy new. Always had a supply to match for something old or something new. I would string buttons. Mom tied a big button to the end of the thread, and I would pick out my favorites to string making a button necklace. Button, button. Who's got the button?

I have my own baby food jar full of buttons. Honestly, it has been years since I have used any of them. Yet the button jar is full of memories. The green button is from the first, fancy bathrobe I ever bought. I can go through the past by looking at my buttons. There are three that mean a great deal to me. In fact, they have gone from the button jar to my jewelry box. My mother had a couple of dresses that had belonged to my Great Aunt Alma Hollinger. She was one of my favorite people. This one particular dress had tiny cloisonné buttons set on a silver backing. Precious little pieces of art full of memories of a lovely aunt.

Buttons came into being as ornamental seals and brooches. In the 13th century, someone in Germany decided to use a button to fasten clothing. Of course, along with the button came the button hole or button loop. The first Button Making Guild was created in 1250. Their buttons were created only for the wealthy who loved buttons down their sleeves and on the front of their garments as ornamental design. When they were used for fastening, dressing became an event. I am sure that the servants were not so happy with these new fangled things. In the 16th century, the directionality of the button came to be with men wearing theirs to the right and women to the left.

Well, I probably should button this up for now. The Advocate is kind to allow me a bit of space to write. I thank them for the privilege. If you would like to contact me, please send your correspondence to the Advocate, and they can forward it to me. If you have access to email. please write. I love hearing from you. Miriam, I have received your lovely letter. Thank you for writing.

2 comments:

Axiesdad said...

Even farm boys found some fun in the button jar on rainy days. Brass buttons could be pirates' treasure or a large button on a loop of string became a "buzzsaw," or they became markers for games like bingo. I still have my mother's button jar, one of those big glass peanut butter jars; looking at it takes me back and every once in a while it even supplies a replacement button.

Pamela Loxley Drake said...

Axiesdad, thank you for writing. I had forgotten about the buzzsaw. And, yes, we used buttons for markers as well. Just something wonderful about buttons. I don't think Velcro will have the same effect:)