The Buttons

The buttons

The Buttons

Yesterday my mother called me and asked me if I would mind taking a few things to the Hospice Flea Market for her.  My son was already heading to their house so I called him and asked him to pick up the donations that my mom wanted me to drop off.  When he got home he asked me if I wanted him to put the donations in my car but I asked him to bring them inside so I could see if there was anything that I might want or need before taking the items to Hospice. I also wanted to make sure that my mother hadn’t been in my childhood bedroom getting rid of any of my things.

There was only one box of things and it was rather small.  I was disappointed that there wasn’t more for me to search through.  This box was full of all kinds of items related to sewing.  Lace, thread, needles, hem tape, fabric markers, rulers, pin cushions, snaps, hooks and eyes, zippers and buttons. 

The buttons, Ziploc bags full of buttons……I have never seen so many buttons.  I immediately started thinking of all the cool things that I could make with these buttons.  My mother had meticulously sorted the buttons by what they were made of and by colors.  There was also one bag of miscellaneous buttons that didn’t really fit into any of her other categories. 

I opened the miscellaneous bag of buttons first and began looking through them.  About a quarter of the way through the bag I had a flashback to childhood.  Two tiny little heart buttons.  Oh, those beautiful little hearts, I remember them so well.  Yes, it was April of 1977, the Spring Dance at Middle School and Easter.  My Aunt Sarah had taken me to Forum VI Mall in Greensboro to buy me an outfit for my very first dance and the outfit would also be for Easter Sunday. 

My Aunt bought me a navy blue wrap around skirt, navy blue wedge shoes which were my first ever grown up shoes which basically means my first pair of dress shoes that weren’t patent leather baby doll shoes and a white blouse with a scalloped collar that had a blue ribbon around the neck that the little heart buttons were attached to.  On the way home from the mall I remember asking my aunt if I could get my “high heels” out of the box and wear them in the car but she wouldn’t let me.  She told me that I couldn’t wear them or the skirt and blouse until the dance.

Of course when I got home I had to put on my new clothes and show them to my mother.  She loved the skirt and the shirt but wasn’t too crazy about my “high heels.”  I begged my mother to let me wear my new shirt with the cute little dangling hearts on it to school the next day but she told me that she didn’t want me to mess it up before the dance.  I was so disappointed because it was by far the neatest, most in style shirt I had ever owned.  I had four older cousins and I was forced to wear their hand-me-downs and by the time I got them they were way out of style and worn out.  I pleaded with my mother to let me wear that shirt to no avail.

I asked again the next day about wearing the new shirt but again I was told no.  It just so happened that I had gym the next day so I snuck and put the new shirt into my gym bag and took it to school with me.  After gym, I changed clothes and put on my new, super cool shirt with the dangling heart buttons.  All of my friends loved my new shirt.  It was a hit, I was finally in style!

Fast forward to the lunch room an hour later…..a girl sitting across from me at the lunch table was playing with a pack of mustard and set it down on the table and then pounded her fists onto the packet.  Yes, you guessed it, straight across the table onto my new shirt, in my hair, on my face, it went everywhere.  Of course everyone at the table started laughing and making fun of me as I cried uncontrollably.  Mrs. McGovern, my very sweet teacher, came over to the table and told me she would let me call my mother if I wanted her to bring me a change of clothes. Oh God, no!  I told her I didn’t want to call my mother.  I remember Mrs. McGovern saying that she didn’t think the mustard stain would come out of my shirt if I let it dry on there.  I ran to the bathroom and put on my gym shirt and began trying to wash my new shirt in the sink.  It was bad, really bad.  There was no way that stain was going to come out of my shirt. 

I felt hopeless and began dreading the punishment I was going to receive when I got home.  I deserved it.  I had disobeyed my mother and I had resigned myself to the fact that whatever she decided my punishment would be that it would be fair and deserved.  Well, anything but the punishment that I got would have been fair!  Not only did I not get to go to the dance, I was forced to call my aunt and tell her that I had ruined my new shirt.  My sweet Aunt Sarah told me that it was alright and it was just a bad decision followed by a bad accident and that everything would be alright.  But I told her that it wasn’t going to be alright.  Not only was I not getting to go to the dance but I had ruined the one and only in style, cool shirt that I had ever owned. 

Two days later my aunt picked me up from school and right there on the front seat of her car was a new shirt with ribbons and dangling heart buttons.  When I got home that day I cut the heart buttons off the shirt that I had ruined and put them in my little ballerina jewelry box.  I guess my mother cleaned out my childhood jewelry box many years ago and she saved the little, dangling heart buttons.  Thanks, Mom.


Ps. the girl that got the mustard on me is one of my page followers.  I forgave her a long time ago and thanks to my wonderul Aunt Sarah I was voted Best Dressed my Senior year of high school.


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