Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • Sometimes a bag of buttons can be a connection to the whole world if you can imagine it.

    I always say that its funny that my rescue dog has more toys at age 4(ish) than I ever had growing up. Maybe thats because my dog didn't grow up in Communist Russia and maybe because I am trying to make up for that time he was scared and homeless by spoiling him rotten. I suppose I have done that with myself now here in America with every visit to Sephora, or a book store and the like. But I will never forget the joy a bag of buttons used to bring me.

    The late 1980's was certainly a prime example of a terrible want of toy variety in Russia. We all kind of owned the same things, a silly plastic baby doll, a wooden truck, nesting dolls and yadda wadda. However, every household seemed to contain a bag or jar of the most colorful and fantastic buttons. My own house now has such a bag but its not nearly as diverse and random as the one in Russian households and I have no idea how it materialized.

    When I used to get bored as a child (which was often) I would just sit on the floor, pull out the bag of buttons and start shifting them around. I would attempt to find a set or find the most colorful ones or the ones covered in cloth. Most of these buttons once they came off whatever item they were on, were never re-attached, especially the most flamboyant ones. Those were my favorite ones. What kind of costume did they come off of? Were they on a skirt, jacket, performance outfit or what?

    I would repeat this button sorting exercise even when I visited my grandma on the other side of town as she too had a big bag of colorful buttons. I would let my imagination run wild with picturing the clothing items they could be attached to, or wondering if one could spruce up an outfit by changing out the buttons. One by one each button found a group of texture, color, size or simply "other" and then back in the bag they went. I suppose I do the same thing now when designing or creating something. Organizing designs, content, images and etc and trying to create consistency among them. I've gotten pretty good at it too. I have access to the best software, devices and etc but I can still get lost sorting buttons.

    A few years ago the buttons came off my favorite petite red coat from Banana Republic. It was the most expensive non winter coat I have ever owned then and I was damned if I was going to let it be forgotten. I bought it for myself when I got a new job and it was a treat. Finally, the button bag got a visit from me and this time with purpose! The only matching set I could find was a nautical themed big round silver button set, so I was apprehensive at first. But what the hell! The buttons went to the tailor, were attached and now I have a whole new (old) red coat.

    That brought me back though, going through that bag and picturing all the possibilities the buttons offered. I wondered what else needed fixing, and what new design I could create. I imagined so many different looks for that one red coat depending on the buttons I chose. And so that bag sits idle again with all the random buttons which will probably never be used for anything practical. But I don't feel bad because those other buttons once opened a whole world of possibilities to a little girl who owned just a few things, but also had a very big imagination.

    Story 33 of 52 - Random Stories in 2014 and 2015
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.