The Button Box

IMAGES MAY BE ENLARGED BY A CLICK OR TWO

This morning Jackie drove me to New Hall hospital for another encouraging physiotherapy session. I had been feeing apprehensive about this one because three weeks ago I stopped taking pain relief or using a crutch. The consequence has been pain which has caused me to skip most exercises. In fact, my progress continues. I can now straighten the leg completely and flex it to 110 degrees – 10 short of the target. The muscles are strong and the hamstrings not tight.

Before setting out we had shared a conversation with Elizabeth reminding me that many of us retain a certain number of items that might come in useful one day, yet never again emerge from the forgotten container in which we have stored them. One such is my

Collars box

Collars box hailing from the days of detachable shirt collars.

From my early days as a single parent I had removed buttons from every worn out item of clothing before binning the garment, and retained these fasteners in case of need as replacements. I had quite a collection which virtually filled this box.

Then along came Jackie and convinced me that I was never likely to use any of them. Clothes today were sold with much more secure buttons, and in any case, always came with replacements. Most of my collection was dispensed with,

Coins, notes, buttons

and the box filled with other knick-knacks including foreign and obsolete coins and Singapore dollars from my Australian trip of 2007.

On just one occasion the button box, and my habit of cutting these items from shirts before throwing them away was to prove beneficial. More than 20 years ago now, I was forced to concede that my favourite shirt was too frayed at the collar and cuffs to be worth saving. I placed it in a waste bin. Mum, who was staying with us at the time, fished out the shirt and, knowing where to seek the buttons, found them all, repaired the cuffs, and turned the collar. That was a pleasant surprise the like of which was to be repeated a month ago.

Some time during the winter, my favourite linen jacket impressed upon me that its collar and cuffs really were too far gone to face another summer. I binned it. Months later, soon after my return from hospital, Jackie amazed me by sitting on the sofa repairing the garment. Unbeknown to me she had retrieved the discarded item, bided her time, bought some suitable bias binding,

Jacket collar and cuffs

and patched the collars and cuffs.

This evening the three of us dined on Jackie’s succulent cottage pie, crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. The Culinary Queen drank Beck’s Blue and Elizabeth and I drank Casillero del Diablo Reserva Merlot 2017.

59 thoughts on “The Button Box

  1. What a wonderful wife you have with Such thrifty and practical skills. I doubt any of my daughters know how to thread a needle, which is entirely my fault of course but these days fast fashion negates the need for this knowledge.

  2. I’m glad you had a good report from your physical therapy, Derrick.
    My mom used to have a big box of buttons. Perhaps we used some buttons from it, but mostly it was simply fun to look through.
    What a wonderful surprise from Jackie. I would have no idea how to do that. I don’t think my mom would have either when she was younger, even though her mother and aunts were skilled seamstresses.

  3. LOL! I’m laughing at Pauline’s button house! I need to organize my buttons into a nice box, like yours. Mine are scattered willy nilly in a drawer. Tell Jackie, well done. I can’t even thread a needle! 🙂

  4. There’s no doubt about Jackie! It seems she can turn her hand to anything. I keep buttons too, and occasionally use one or two of them.

  5. Such a heartwarming post! Many a favourite shirt of mine own was resurrected by my able mother who can now walk no more. Of late, my homemaker has too sprung upon me a miracle or two. It’s a homage to perseverance and protective instincts of humans, mostly the fairer sex. The disposition is in stark contrast to the deepening consumerism and decadence of the younger generations.

  6. Good on ya and the mobility of your new knee! I know where to come if I ever need some Aussie coins.

    Generations of children will never know the joy of playing with a button collection.

  7. YAY for your good report!!! Gentle hugs for your knee!!!

    YAY for Jackie! Your jacket looks better than new!

    YAY for buttons! I love seeing your button box!

    I have a jar full of old buttons (that belonged to my mom and my grandma) that I display! They are very old buttons! I won’t use any of them. I just like to look at them and touch them.

    HUGS!!! 🙂

  8. I can remember my Nanna turning collars on Dad’s work shirts, darning socks and replacing buttons. She had a button box which my sister and I frequently turned out and “sorted.” Simple pleasures, sadly now a thing of the past.

  9. Some little things are just worth saving and when least expected can lead to a pleasant surprise as what your mother and Jackie did for you to mend some of your favorite clothing!

  10. I, too, wear the clothes I love until I’ve worn them out. Then I patch them and wear them differently. I, however, don’t know how to turn a collar and renew a shirt. Sounds like a good skill to have. And I love the box itself–you can tell the contents will be fun.

  11. When I think of those detachable collars, and the way we were back then, I think we must have been a scruffy, smelly lot, trying to look clean and tidy. I’d go up to Bishopsgate every morning in a nice clean collar, same shirt, but at least the collar was clean, and I’d had my bath on the Saturday, I shake my head in disbelief …….

  12. The Button Box

    Upon the shelf there was a box,
    beside the pile of holey socks.
    That held buttons of every shape,
    from creamy pearl to neon grape.

    My eyes would often wander there,
    from time to time, to take a stare.
    Nana would give that box to me,
    then tell me stories from her knee.

    About each button I would take,
    a web of mystery she would make.
    For hours I’d sit and be still,
    and listen to her tales at will.

    This shiny button, big and bold,
    once grace a captains sleeve I’m told.
    There was a small one, round and red,
    “That held a gypsy’s scarf,” she said.

    A pretty one, satin, white and wide,
    once held the lace of a blushing bride.
    Another was smooth as ocean glass,
    and held the kilt of a highland lass.

    Hand-painted glass ones, where well worn,
    held closed the sweater of a newborn.
    A group of blue tied up with thread,
    “To be used another time,” she said.

    Different patterns, with colorful swirls,
    that graced the dress when she was a girl.
    She winked at me, with a tiny grin,
    said, “This was on the dress I met Gramps in.”

    Strange, the tales, from the buttons she’d make,
    as one, by one, from the box I’d take.
    Sitting on her knee always made me glad.
    I enjoyed each minute we had.

    In her eyes was a far away look,
    when this old clasp from the box I took.
    I thought there was a tear in her eye,
    and for a minute, I thought she’d cry.

    She took the clasp in her wrinkled had,
    said, “This was worn by a special man.”
    “A person whose tall, handsome and kind.”
    “Someone of whom you make me remind.”

    “Nana,” I asked, “who could it be,
    that wore this old clasp but looks like me?”
    “My dear young child,” she said soft an low,
    “It’s from the pants of someone you know.”

    “He was once a little boy like you.
    And, he’d listen to my stories too.”
    “He was a cute, charming little lad.
    The boy who wore this, why he is your Dad.”

    Unknown poet..

    Good morning Derrick!!!

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