Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Butterfly Hours Memoir Project: BUTTON

For 2019 I'm running a year-long series on my blog in which I share my responses to the writing assignment prompts found in THE BUTTERLY HOURS by Patty Dann. I welcome you to join me, if you like! I've divided the prompts by month, and the plan is to respond to 3 (or so) a week. For some of these I may write poems, for others prose. The important thing is to mine my memory. Who knows where this exploration will lead?
Here are January's prompts: apron, bar, basketball, bed, bicycle, birthday, boat, broom, button, cake, car.


jar of buttons in my Purple Horse
Poetry Studio & Music Room
As a child I often accompanied my mother to the fabric store. (CLICK HERE to read a poem from BROWNGIRL DREAMING by Jacqueline Woodson about the magic of the fabric store.) I delighted in the mad array of color, the stacks of fabric in all textures and colors, the rainbowed racks of spooled thread and shiny bolts of ribbon and lace. Whatever we found, however plain, I knew my mother would create something beautiful out of it. I listened as she read aloud the recommended amounts of fabric on the back of the pattern envelopes and then proceeded to make her own calculations. She took great pride in her ability to conjure creative arrangements of the pattern pieces so that she might purchase less material. I learned from her to not just follow a pattern, but to think it out for myself. I also learned to save my scraps. You can create some beautiful, useful things out of scraps!

Something else my mother taught me was that one quick and inexpensive way to freshen up a blouse or dress is to change out the buttons. While the fabric was being cut, she'd send me to that wide wall of buttons to make my choice. The toughest part was choosing just one!

Such a small thing, a button. Yet so valuable. My mother was the one who taught me how to sew on a button – a skill that has served me well throughout my life. Even now my adult sons will bring me shirts or shorts that need a button replaced. (I also taught them to sew on buttons, but when they ask, I am happy to help!) These days I keep a jar of buttons, just for the beauty of them. I don't think we've ever discussed it, but I am sure my mother approves.

1 comment:

  1. Love the jar of buttons on your shelf. Mine is tucked away in a drawer. I used to love to pour out my mom's button collection and let them roll through my fingers. And my mom was the fabric manager in a Ben Franklin's store, so I spent many hours fondling fabric and twirling on those stools that were under the pattern books!


Your thoughts?