Thursday, April 28, 2011

Day 26: Something that means a lot to me

One of the things that I learned growing up was not to become attached to possessions.  That's not to say that I don't love the things that I have, it's just that I know what I have today may be gone tomorrow.  This was demonstrated very clearly last year when we had a burglary; all my jewelry, from my grandmother's ring to the first little silver dragon ring Honey gave me to my one very expensive piece I owned was gone in a moment.  And while I do miss it, I realized right away that I had to accept what had happened.  At least all the furry babies were safe (miraculously).  While this is a drastic example, there are little, every day instances that demonstrate the futility of being too attached to possessions: a favorite glass or vase drops and breaks, books are ruined in a winter flood, a coat is lent and forgotten.  That is why I had to stop and think about today's task in the Thirty Day Challenge.

I could focus on intangibles.  For example, some of the things that I love are cards or drawings from former students.  Even little notes with just a sentence or two are special to me, not because of what they are but because of what they represent.  A teacher friend shared with me her tradition at the end of every school year: she takes a group photo of each class, places it on a piece of cardstock, and has students sign or write messages around it so that she can remember her classes.  As soon as I heard that idea I started it with my own classes and I love the memory books that I now have.

But instead of taking a picture of the memory books, I walked around and started thinking about what I had around me that means a lot to me.  That's when I walked into the hallway and saw my Grama's creation: buttonhook art. 

For decades, my grandmother collected buttonhooks and for a while probably had the largest collection in the country.  Eventually, she started putting the hooks into frames to display them (she had an exhibit at a local museum one year) and then after that she started making buttonhook collections for family members.

 Of course by the time she started making framed buttonhook collections she was going senile, so her attempts to make sure everyone in the family got something were a bit hit-and-miss.  Mine just happened to be a "hit" because at the time she was living in my state and so Honey and I would drive over the mountain and see her one weekend a month. 

Grama also gave me a framed collection to hang on to for my brother Tin Man. 

She said he was not allowed to have it until he had a house of his own.  We'll see if I'm willing to give it up then.  It looks so nice on my wall.

Both of the buttonhook collections happen to have purple, which I believe was my grandmother's favorite color (that and green) because it was everywhere.  Lucky me, it goes nicely with all the oranges in my house.  The buttonhook collections hang in my hallway, which is otherwise devoted to family pictures -- one side for old/military photos and the other side for more current family pictures.

I probably wouldn't care about buttonhooks if I just saw them randomly and had no connection to them.  But now when I see buttonhooks I think of my grandmother.  I wonder if she has that particular hook in her collection and then I remember I can't buy it for her anyway because she's no longer with us.  So I guess that means that buttonhooks -- a tangible possession -- actually represent something intangible: memories with Grama.


  1. It seems to cause an extra pull to the heart-strings when something is connected to a grandmother or great-grandmother, especially if they bring fond memories.

  2. Wow, those buttonhooks are so cool! And so nice that they have happy memories attached! Great post!


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