Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Button Can Memories

It has been a rainy week for us here in Chesterfield County, and we needed every drop of it.  See God, not one complaint out of me.  I always fear that if I sing the old "rain rain go away" song, it will do precisely that.  l thought about the rainy days of yesterday and how we spent the time stuck inside.  There were only  three channels back then children, and just like today when we have over a hundred channels, there was nothing on.  My grandmother Nancy Douglas was a teacher til the day she walked over to the other side.  She had lessons to teach us all and most of my memories of her involve a lesson she taught us.
Rainy days in the summer involved teaching us patience.   I know that most of you had experience with a button can.  Mammy's button can had place of pride on the bottom shelf of the right hand side of the pantry.  (It was a large Prince Albert can, not the smaller hand held can ,for easy cigarette rolling.)  Buttons were expensive items then as they are now.  Worn out clothes had many uses.  The brightest of the material went into separate rag bags for quilting and rug making, the faded and threadbare into the bag for cleaning rags.  The buttons went into the can.  This was true recycling before it became the chic thing to do.  So on rainy days, Mammy would take down the button can and dump the whole thing onto a sheet spread out on the handmade rag rug in the middle of the dining room floor.  We would be given large safety pins and allowed (?) to sort through the buttons and match them up.  We put our matched up buttons onto the safety pins and laid them aside.  There would be some amazing buttons in that collection, filled with  beauty and mystery.  Where had all these buttons come from in the beginning?  What stories could they tell?  We often exclaimed in true joy when we came across one that was too beautiful for words.  Hard for the youth of today to understand the call of a button.  I wonder what their button can memory will be when they hit their 60's?


larkswing said...

Made me smile. There was a trinket tin, one full of pink ballerinas - like the little green soldiers only pink, and another full of charm like trinkets. Maybe old cracker box toys? perhaps? I loved the can the smell of it. My mom did not let my kids sift through it, wish they had, but then again, that might not have had the same impact on boys as on a girl. I often wonder what childhood memories will surface for them as they get older.

Vee said...

I was not allowed to be in the button can, though I have a niece who loves button cans and considers it a high privilege to look through one. Course she is nearly thirty so not a kid anymore. Bet that rain is making everything grow like crazy!

ancient one said...

I have buttons around here someplace, I think. I don't remember my mom having a button jar, but my grandmother did. I never remember playing with them.

Lee said...

That was a great memory Sandi! It brought back my own memories of my Grandmothers' button cans. Grandmommy (maternal grandmother) had some with jewels and some covered ones too. Those were rare though. It was fun. When I was a toddler Granny (paternal grandmother) put buttons in a jar and made me my first pull toy. :-) Heard some good stories from Mom and Granny about that too.


sandyland said...

I love rain always feel so cleansed and rejuvenated not to mention I get a lot done.. A parent just gave her athlete daughtert a quilt made of every race she had participated in how neat!!love to all Sandy

sandyland said...


nice tunes

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Donna said...

My Mom had a button can as Well! I'd forgotten that! Thanks for the memory Girl!
And, Oh Yes...we USE to pay for all that programming we didn't watch...No More! Direct TV...Gone!

Hilary said...

Sandi, you brought back some fine memories here. We had a button jar. Also a little (baby food sized) jar of safety pins. I don't think it ever occurred to anyone to match the buttons and string them on the pins though.

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Maggie May said...

My mother also had a button tin and I think we learnt to count using buttons. I was always pleased to be allowed to sort them! Lovely post. Brought back happy memories.
I like you header!
Maggie x

Nuts in May

TexWisGirl said...

what a great memory. i loved playing in my mother's button drawer.

congrats on your POTW!

holdingmoments said...

What a lovely memory.

Congrats on your POTW.

Lisa Gordon said...

This makes me smile.
I have an entire collection of white buttons.
No plastic, all shell or glass.
Don't know what I'll do with them, but I've had them forever, and I just love them.

Brian Miller said...

nice...first, it rained a ton here last week...minor flooding...and i loved my moms button jar...we used to pour it out and sort it and build and play games...and def tell stories...great memories...

Joanna Jenkins said...

This brought back such sweet memories of my grandmother's button jar. It's been years since I've seen it but I'll be smiling all day now. Thank you.

And congrats on your POTW from Hilary.


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LOVE and adore your picture in your header...it is beyond precious. Thank God for memories... they are truly gifts.

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Sujin said...

First of all, your blogs has "retro" charms and I really love it! :) And I looove your post about mom's button can because I felt the same with my mom's button bag. Sometimes, I use her old buttons on my new clothes and feel weird "in a good way".