Do you remember your grandmother or your mother snipping the buttons off shirts that were headed for the rag basket and then collecting them in jars? Maybe you even played games or strung them for ornaments and crafts. The buttons were fun to stack into piles, sort by color or size, or scatter/slide across the floor or table making up different games each time.
My mother had a tin of buttons; we called it the button box. And yes, my friends and I got it out every so often and sorted through it just like the above paragraph says. I remember a set of four little blue bows made out of plastic that were buttons. They were so pretty, but I never found a use for them. There were also coat buttons, a couple of buckles that had been saved from belts, and lots of little white buttons off men’s shirts. To this day I still cut the buttons off of shirts I am discarding, or off clothing I am making a memory quilt out of. I can’t help myself, they may come in handy some day. Most of the clothing I buy has an extra button attached in case I lose one. I keep each one of those buttons in a specific drawer in a jewelry box my grandson gave me. I have even used one of them once. They are pretty to look at all jumbled up together in a pile and I can picture each piece of clothing they belong to.
When my husband gets dressed in the morning he often grumbles about the size of the buttons on his shirt collar and cuffs. I often remark I don’t know why, with men as top fashion designers, they don’t effect a change in the size of those little tiny buttons. Sometimes I button them for him and I have trouble with them; I’m sure the public would accept the change graciously.
My mother died forty-six years ago today. At the time I didn’t know it was National Button Day. I still think almost daily of the part she played in my life. Now I’ll think of her every time I see a fascinating button or any kind of button for that matter. She would love the fact buttons are now used on purses and as quilt decorations, not just on clothing.