The Buttons

By: Christine Hersom

(3 mins)

Today I was feeling a little nostalgic. Life has been busy lately ands things are not always going how I want them to. When this happens, I look back on my memories for a reboot of my attitude.

The thing that I focused on for at least a beautiful, quiet hour was the buttons. My great-grandmother had a metal tin full of various kinds of buttons. I loved those buttons. Every time I went to her house, she gave me the tin to play with. I would play with those buttons for hours. Everything about them made me smile. The tin was a faded cookie tin from the 1930s. It had a beautiful lady sitting under a tree painted on it. The lady’s red parasol rested on her shoulder. The smile on her face always made me wonder what she was thinking about at the time of the picture. Even better than the tin was the buttons inside. The tin was full to the brim with buttons of every color, shape, and size.

My great-grandmother passed away when I was about 20 years old. She was in her 90’s. The buttons were old.

When Grammy gave me the tin, I would sit off to the side and open it slowly. I was always waiting for a new treasure to appear. The buttons were old but beautiful. There were little pearl buttons from ladies’ gloves. Work buttons from my great grandfather’s engineer uniform. Beautiful glass buttons from elegant dresses. The buttons had such wonderful shapes, sizes, and colors that would absorb my attention for hours.

As I set all the buttons in groups of fancy, work, or general I would dream of the lives the buttons had led. I imagined the beautiful lady wearing white gloves up to her elbow. Her husband would help button the little pearl buttons around her wrist. My imagination was filled thinking about the special occasions when a lady wore those fancy gloves.

I imagined my great-grandfather on his rail runs as an engineer of the train. He would tell me stories of driving the train in the blowing snow. He would have to stop to shovel snow off the front of the train. I spent hours of my childhood dreaming of riding the trains through all kinds of weather. The adventures I would have in my dreams were impressive.

The buttons that intrigued me most were those with Queen Elizabeth II on them. In my mind, I knew that my grandmother had visited England and had tea with the Queen. The Queen would have loved my grandmother. She was a tiny little spitfire with a sparkling aura about her. Her last name was Applebee, but I always called her Grammy Sunshine because of the light she brought to my life. She always called me her “Little Sunshine” because she said I was always smiling. I loved her (and her buttons) more than anything else at that time.

The Queen buttons filled my mind with pictures of royal pageantry. I envisioned beautiful parties, tiaras, and lovely people. When I would sleep over at my grandmother’s, she would pull out party dresses from the early 1900s. I would then get to pick a dress to wear to tea with the “Queen.” My grandmother would style my hair and let me wear fancy shoes. I was ready!

When I was dressed for tea with the Queen, I glided down the large staircase and strutted into the parlor. The table was set with Earl Grey tea (we were royalty, after all). We would have raspberry scones, cream for our tea and the cutest little sugar cubes. This was served on my grandmother’s fancy tea set. Everything was beautiful when I sat and visited the “Queen.”

Not only are these memories some of the best of my childhood, but I reflect on them every time life becomes crazy. It was an easier time. A beautiful time.

I do not know what happened to the buttons when my grandmother passed on. I look for a tin of buttons when I am near an antique store. They will not be my grandmother’s buttons, but there is something about a tin of old buttons that I cannot resist.

So…when life gets crazy, or you look back into your memories, what do you find? If you have the chance…play with the buttons.

Christine Marshall Hersom
All Things Wellness, LLC

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