When I was a child, I can remember my Mom as she was mending some piece of clothing or making doll clothes or stuffed toys, saying "Go get a button can." or "Can you bring Grandma Hall's buttons to me?" I was usually happy to comply, I loved it when we got all the buttons out! I think my mom taught me to handle the button cans with a certain reverence, making it a special treat for me to sort through them and match them up. After all, Grandma Hall was the one who collected them and that made them special.
Thomas Anthony Hall and Myrtle Esler Brooks Hall, my Paternal Grandparent's marriage photo.
I never had the pleasure of meeting my Grandma Hall, she passed away six years before I was born. But I soon realized that there was a fierce loyalty to her from those who did know her. I heard only kind things about her and stories of her many caring and thoughtful ways.
The many buttons she had collected and saved over the years, sparked my imagination... "What garment did this button come from and who wore it? This button looks really old, I wonder if it could have come from her grandmother's button can? This one looks like it came from a boy's jacket - maybe it was on my Dad's clothes when he was a little kid?"
Sometimes I would ask permission to look at the buttons even if we didn't need one for a project. I would spread them out on the floor and arrange them by color, or design, or size. They seemed like gems to me. I thought of all the things I could do with them. "These green ones would make good cat eyes" or "Wouldn't these be pretty on a ruffled pink blouse?" They fired my creativity.
Through the years, my Mom added buttons to the collection - I still recognize some that were taken from the house dresses she always wore when I was young. I think even some buttons came from my other Grandma and possibly my aunts or sister-in-laws contributed one or two as well. And I've added some myself and continue to do so.
I still look through them once in a while, as I did today. I actually know them well enough to often pick out which buttons I need before I even get the button cans out. But there are many special ones that are just for looking ... and remembering ... and imagining ...