Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Button Box (con't)

...Other things were buried among the buttons.

She separated those into their own pile, then spread them out.

She liked the smell of old thread.

A cloth packet of needles, safety pins, hooks and snaps.

Those were ordinary. Everyday. They went back in the box.

The other things she examined one by one and asked Grandma about them.

It was like the game they played with the quilt squares before she went to sleep.

"What's this, Grandma? Who's was it?"

And Grandma, knitting with swollen knuckles on a wool work sock, would tell her, if she remembered.

The small brooch shaped like a bow with half the red stones gone and its pin missing. Grandma's sister, Glenna, who died young when she was eighteen, had worn it.

The bent winding key from a clock. It fitted the one on the shelf behind the stove, Grandma said. The one Grandma said was a grandmother clock. She thought that was funny.

The lustre, broken where the hook should be. Her uncle Clarence had dropped that one year, helping with Spring Cleaning.

The octagonal hat pin head, carved in pale blue glass. She had been fond of that hat pin, Grandma said, pausing on a purl. She'd used it once for something besides anchoring her Sunday hat. Grandma wouldn't tell her that story.

"Some other time," Grandma said and laughed.

A fancy silver clasp from a necklace. A rhinestone buckle.

A broken tortoise shell button hook. For shoes Grandma said. Grandma wore black laced-up oxfords now with court heels and was glad of it.

A filigree placket from a bracelet. Three things Grandma said were frogs. They didn't look like frogs. Lots of weird things. A part string of amber beads.

Other beads, loose, in many colors. Little beads, like cake sparkles. Indian beads, Grandma said those were.

And jewels, fallen from old bracelets.

They had their own pile. Rubies and emeralds and diamonds and topazes.
They glittered like a real treasure hoard.

She would push back her braids and examine them one by one, while Grandma would turn a heel and rock.

She slid her fingers through the cascade of buttons searching for more.
The sound was like the rain outside on the sandstone step.

She brought up an odd tarnished thing.

"What's this, Grandma?"

She held the small thing out.

It looked like the head of the grass snake Grampa had showed her yesterday down by the rhubarb.

Grandma turned a heel before she looked over.

"Is that where it went? I thought it was lost."

Grandma poked a needle into her ball of wool and laid her knitting aside.

"The rest is in my trunk or the blanket box in my chamber." Grandma got up from the rocker. "I'll get it."

She liked Grandma's names for things.

...to be continued.


Dennie McDonald said...

What is it? Can't wait....

Bernita said...

Clues already give, Dennie.

ivan said...

I'm starting to like this new thread

Savannah Jordan said...

Oh, Bernita, thank you for a much need escape. Eagerly anticpating the next installment...

Sandra Ruttan said...

Ah Bernita, you're such a story tease!

Bernita said...

Thank you, Ivan.It's from a spool of linen thread, but still sound.

Glad if it does that, Savannah. Hold on, dear heart.

Bernita said...

Not really, Sandra.
Didn't want to make the post too long, as I don't have your talent for making long posts interesting, entertaining and provocative.
Besides the rest of it isn't written yet - doing the last, final,conclusive, terminal, decisive edit of the WIP before I crank up the printer.

Shesawriter said...

Loved the detail in this one, Bernita.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Tanya.
Every thing in a button box has a story.

Erik Ivan James said...

Your way with description is wonderful, Bernita. I could see and feel each piece.
Good job.

Bernita said...

Really, Erik? That's wonderful. Thank you.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

LOL...I was so engrossed in the story that I tried to click on...to be continued to get to the rest of the story!

Bernita said...

Aw, Bonnie, what a nice thing to say!
Rest isn't written yet, though.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you've been consciously changing, but I think your writing voice is becoming more and more potent and vivid. Such a pleasure to read!

kmfrontain said...

You know, it's so like my real grandma, and me digging into her box of jewellery and whatnots back when I was...forgot how old. She had so many odds and ends in that box, including jewellery that was in poor repair. And she was crocheting. The smells were all old and dusty. Grandpa had his big, almost frightening accordian nearby.

Nice, Bernita. Very real, the imagery of this piece. Brought back my memory of a similar moment. :-)

Bernita said...

Jason, thank you. Hope that is so. It may simply reflect the subject.

Delighted, KM, that this retrieved a memory. It's a real childhood ritual, isn't it? The jewellery box and the button basket.
The accordion at my grandmother's was always kept in "the parlour."

Gabriele C. said...

You sure know how to torment your readers.

Enough hints to make sure it's not your average grandma and button box story, but no end. ;-)

Bernita said...

Don't mean to torment. Just worked out that way.
Hope you won't be disappointed tomorrow, Gabriele.

Ric said...

Early this morning, got all concerned because your post wasn't up - not like you at all, then come home from a hard day's work and find this gem.
Such a nice setting of time, mood, smells and characters. Makes one feel nostalgic for those long ago days visiting Grandma.
How delightful.

Lady M said...

Ditto to Ric's comment.

Nostalgia... beautiful!

Bernita said...

Thank you, Ric and Lady M.
So pleased it brought back pleasant memories.