Thursday, 14 January 2010


I HAD a glimpse of the past yesterday when I went to the doctor. While waiting for my prescription, I limped into the supermarket to buy milk and bread, when a lady said hallo and explained she recognised me from her days volunteering in the Oxfam shop. I used to go in and out quite regularly with The Daughters when they were small, hunting for treasures – for them and me.

I was amazed that she recognised me after all these years, and we had a pleasant chat, about charities, volunteering, daughters, and community life. How wonderful that she took the time and trouble to approach and greet me – it really gave me a boost.

And it brought back happy memories of The Daughters when they were small. In one charity shop Elder Daughter once discovered an old straw hat, decorated with artificial flowers and ribbons, and she wore it everywhere, on every occasion, whatever the weather – we have a photograph of her in the rain, clad in wellies (on the wrong feet – she had just learned to dress herself), dress, mac – and ‘The Hat’!

Younger Daughter was the Button Queen. Wherever we went she scoured charity shops for buttons. We amassed a collection of tins, jars and boxes which she would empty, then sort the contents according to her mood… colour, size, patterned, plain. She would count them out, devising strange games which the rest of us failed to understand.

But the buttons presented endless possibilities for play, learning and creativity.
They were used as counters, weights on scales and money in a ‘play shop’ stocked with empty cartons, unwanted toys and battered books. They were pressed into home-made playdough to create patterns; painted to produce printed designs; placed beneath paper for rubbings with wax crayons, and stuck to collages.

Additionally they were threaded on wool to make bracelets, necklaces and Christmas tree decorations, or stitched to offcuts of material, transforming the fraying remnants into colourful flower pictures which were hung in the kitchen, and brooches, which were fastened with safety pins.

However, the one thing I never did, unless absolutely unavoidable, was to replace buttons which fell off our clothes!

When I started this posting I intended to say ‘what a difference a day makes’, but ended up writing something completely different! Anyway, in just 24 hours most of the snow has gone and the temperature has risen so much I opened all the windows to let some fresh air in.

Perhaps spring is on the way after all.

1 comment:

  1. hmm I posted a message but it hasn't come up..
    just wanted to say I remember the buttons, LOVED collecting them :) happy memories! x x x


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