Sunday, September 16, 2007

491 days, 5 hours, 23 minutes, 2 seconds

Was it second grade? Or fourth grade? The father of a boy in her class owned a novelty shop on the Boardwalk, and he sold all the kids big white buttons with their names in red. But of course they didn't have her name. She cried for what seemed like weeks. She cursed her parents.

Then there was the Nixon button, traded in for the Kennedy button.

The first button she ever wore seriously was during the 2004 election:

2004 No Carb Diet
No Cheney
No Ashcroft
No Rumsfeld
No Bush

Two out of four isn't bad, some people would say. But she's never been some people.

491 days, 5 hours, 29 minutes, 21 seconds

Her mother, who didn't sew except to hem her dresses, had an ornate black floral cookie or tea tin which she used to store ornate buttons. They were her third-favorite thing to play with, right behind charms and marbles.

491 days, 5 hours, 35 minutes, 47 seconds

Spend spend spend spend spend. A hat, two scarves, three pairs of long velvet gloves, two pins, two polyester cowl-neck tops for around the house. All of it just to compensate.

491 days, 5 hours, 52 minutes, 12 seconds

So she said she wanted a green hat, and this is definitely green. More hippie than retro. Someone's sewed buttons along one side in an interesting pattern, where other hats have feathers or flowers. Mostly small shirt buttons. Mostly ivory with thick green wool thread, but other colors as well. The street vendor insists the hat is new.

Her mother had no pattern for those charms.

Her hand so bad today she can barely clasp a button. And one fell off of a blouse last. It was the top button, so it barely matters.