I got to thinking about my Grandma’s sewing box the other day, and thought I’d take a look in there. I got her sewing stuff when she passed away a few years ago – I’m not a sewer past rudimentary repairs and patching, but I’m happy to have it and add it to my own meager supplies. Everyone needs a sewing box.
She’d kept a collection of buttons in an old medium-sized margarine tub in her basket. I’d looked through them before but not with any great intent. I got them out again last night and began to sort them. Many were average, unremarkable, run of the mill buttons. Others were gaudy and dated, perhaps once on a coat. A few even looked suspiciously like couch cushion buttons. But some were very pretty. Mother of pearl, bright plastics, tortoiseshell, etc. I set the pretty ones aside to put with my craft things.
As I played with the buttons, I caught a scent – hard to describe but that is unmistakable. Part dust, part facial powder, part faint old lady soap, part a few other things that nothing else smells like but that of items collected over long stretches of time. The smell of years. The smell of my Grandma.