Thursday, June 11, 2009
A Button Box and a Red '68 Mustang
It may seem extremely old-fashioned to have a button box, but have one I do. Both of my grandmothers and my Mom had them, too. When Dad's mother lived with us, I enjoyed spending time with her going through her button collection. Many were from clothes she had sewn for herself and her children. She even had a wad of shoe buttons! [I have saved shoe ornaments from my all-time favorite shoes: Papagallos.] Frugality and limited availability made collecting buttons important when my grandmothers and Mom were young women. In their era, if a button came off a shirt, it was quickly stitched back on. If the wearer couldn't find the button, a replacement could be found in the button box. During the Great Depression, people learned to value and care for what they had. Losing a button was no excuse to buy a new shirt. Nor was a frayed collar on a gentleman's dress shirt reason to add it to the rag bag. My late, dear friend, Thelma used to carefully remove her husband's frayed shirt collars, turn them inside out and re-attach them. A little starch and the shirt was almost as good as new! My button box holds mementos of my youth when I used to make some of my clothes. Two silver-toned dome buttons with paste diamonds remind me of a fraternity dance in college. I bought my dress: an a-line, hot pink mini with these gaudy buttons running from the neck to the waist. I had silver square-toed shoes to go with it! My date was a sweetheart whose grin when he saw me made me feel so pretty. He was shaking when he put a corsage on my wrist. That was a good night. Tiny round, black buttons conjure up memories of a date for dinner and a play at Mechanic's Theater in Baltimore during the early 70s. I sweated bullets for three days and nights sewing what I thought was a really cool black and white striped satiny dress. The dress closed with twenty buttons and fabric loops down the front. Bad choice. The cool little round buttons kept popping out of the loops all night! It's funny how little things like buttons can bring back memories! I'll admit that the older I get the more I want to remember the good ole days. As I've aged, I've lost some of the goofiness and spontaneity of my youth. Those were fun and exciting times, but I'm a different person now. I enjoy watching kids doing so many of the same things I did at their age. They, on the other hand, just see me as a plump, graying woman. It would never occur to them that: >> In a mini-dress and heels, I'd climbed over fences and walls in Georgetown during a walk to the Zoo following a beer-infused lunch with friends in the Palisades or; >> I'd driven my Dad's '68 Mustang at 60+ mph along hilly, dark and curving Persimmon Tree Road in Potomac -- high on Acapulco Gold -- before the area was developed and grew so many stop signs! Oh yeah; I did some truly dumb-ass stuff as a young adult. Thankfully I no longer need the rush from endangering my life or testing my capacity for alcohol or weed. There really isn't anything new under the sun. Binge drinking and drugging have always been around and considered a sort of "right of passage." I know how lucky I am to have survived.