Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ruby's Button Tin

My Grandma Ruby had a button tin that I loved. That is her in the photo above, standing next to her beloved husband Spencer. She, like so many others who lived through the Depression, was thrifty. Ruby loved Goodwill stores, she even worked at one for a time. She saved buttons from old clothes and new ones that had extras sewn in them. Notice in the photo how the top and bottom buttons on her coat didn't match and she is missing the bottom three altogether. I think she is adorable in that photo.
When I was a little girl I would sift through her buttons and ponder over how old they were. I always had this impression she was much older than she was,as if she was born in 1850 instead of 1915. I imagined she grew up in a "Little House on the Prairie" sort of atmosphere. In some respects she did. I remember her laughing when I asked her if she was from the horse and buggy days. Grandma Ruby would tell us to put our name on the bottom of the things we wanted after she died, so my name was on the bottom of that tin for a very long time, in fact it still is. I have it in my bedroom now, sitting on the old Pfaff Sewing machine I inherited from her. It is one of my most favorite things.
The tin is not only filled with a vast variety of buttons collected over decades but the tin itself is gorgeous. Curvy, with pretty flowers on each side. I love the little gold knob on the lid.

When Grandma died and I had the tin at home, I felt like I had a piece of her with me. I sorted through them and separated them into color groups. Some of them are so incredible I knew right away I wouldn't be sewing them onto anything that I wasn't keeping for myself. I can't let those treasures leave!

I found a couple things in that tin that weren't buttons, a thimble and a ring. The thimble excited me because I like thimbles, although I don't use them. I don't like the way I can't feel my fingertip with a thimble protecting it. The ring is very intriguing to me. You see... Ruby was only 40 when Spencer died in a mining accident in Idaho. My grandma never remarried after he died. There was never another man in her life and this is certainly a mans ring. It looks like a wedding band to me and no one knows if it belonged to my Grandpa. I like to imagine that it was his. I never knew him but I have been told I would have loved him, of course. Funny how a tin full of buttons can mean so much.

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