Monday, October 17, 2016

A Treasure Chest Arrived

I work full time as a medical secretary and write during my free time, but I have a few other hobbies and interests that sometimes capture my attention. I've been collecting antique and vintage clothing buttons since 2003. That was the year I first heard the word charmstring, and also the first year I began collecting them. In the past 13 years I've rescued a number of old strings of buttons from oblivion. Many charmstring end up cut apart and the buttons individually sold. I make it my goal to find these old strings of buttons and preserve them for future generations (the ones who currently don't collect or appreciate anything because they've grown up in a throwaway/disposable nothing lasts for very long because there is no concern for quality anymore culture, but one day that will change and people will be back to saving everything because our resources are not infinite.) I've also collected lots of antique buttons and strung some button strings myself. One of them has 999 buttons on it, measures 13' 4" in length and weighs over 4 pounds. Kelly and I strung that one just to see what a charmstring awaiting its 1000th button would look like. It is impressive when laid out in the hallway, but I only had a spool of old carpet string back then to string the buttons on. The weigh of all those buttons puts a strain on the thread, so it doesn't come out of the box very often. A couple strings were gifts from women who were button collectors who have passed on now. They knew that I was saving these charmstrings, also called memory strings, and carefully preserving them, so passed what they had along to me to keep safe.
     Today an old string of buttons arrived from a Texas estate. It's grungy and grimy and will require a lot of careful cleaning, but when I've worked my magic on it it won't be perfect, but the glass will shine and the grunge will be off the metal buttons so the designs can be seen again.
      This string makes 94 in the collection. I set a goal of 100 charmstrings and have nearly reached that goal. I've already told Kelly she can do what she wants with them when I'm gone, but I have also suggested she donate them to the Keep Homestead Museum in Monson, MA. This is a farmhouse museum and the woman who lived there had an exquisite button collection including a mind boggling number of micro-mosaic buttons from the 1800's from the time when people took Grand Tours and brought home souvenirs of their journeys. There are magnifying glasses available at each display so the viewer can marvel at this miniature works of arts. These buttons depict ancient structures, ancient scenes, people, animals, birds, fruits and vegetables and designs.
     So tonight, instead of being a writer I was a pirate poking through a treasure chest and admiring my booty.
     No matter what your hobby may be, as long as it brings you pleasure and joy then it's a good thing!

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