A Buttoned-up Life

When I was young, my mother made sure I knew how to do certain things- important things, like how to apply mascara, rotate a linen closet, tip the garbage man in July, bring a near-dead goldfish back to life with heart massage, balance a checkbook, never spend too much (hahahaaaa), always be on time (or fashionably late depending on the time of day), keep a party-ready smile on your face even if your husband has just been a colossal asshole (I sorta fail at this one), and work hard.

She also taught me to sew.

Sort of.

It went something like this:

“Moooommmmm. I really like that dress in the shop window. Can I have it?”

“No. It’s much too expensive.”

“But I liiike it!”

“Cheryl Ann, the answer is ‘NO'”


Well, how can I GET IT then?”

“Maybe for your birthday.”

“That’s years away! Could you sew it for me?”

“Certainly. But I think it’s time you learned to sew.”


double shit

Tomorrow we’ll begin.”

Holy Mary Mother of Jesus what have I gotten myself into?

Cheryyyl! It’s time to get up. You have a sewing lesson today!”

“Not today Mom. How ’bout tomorrow? Later at least.”

“Oh noooo. That’s not how the world works. Up and atom!”

How can anyone be this cheerful in the morning?

“Okay. Enough. Give me a few minutes. I need to wake-up.”

And get my story together ’cause this shit ain’t happenin’.

“Have your juice then hurry in here!”

The record player needle is placed to Led Zepplin’s latest album, as I pour myself into paisley bell-bottoms (with side zipper), pull on a bandeau top in hot pink, and take the GIANT roller out of my hair while applying frosted lipstick and curling my eyelashes. 

What? It was 1969. You never know who may show up.

Turn off that noise and come in here.”

“They’re not noise, Mom! They’re British! Gawd!”

“I like the familiar buzz of needle to fabric and the hum of the foot pedal, when I sew.”

I am now sure I was adopted.

“Okay. Here I am. How do we make that dress?”

That dress? We’re not going to make that dress. We’re going to make an apron, with pockets and buttons. You need to know how to sew a button-hole.”

“I’m not going to make an apron! A button-hole! Are you kidding? I want to make that pencil-pleated-sweetheart-necklined-cap-sleeved chiffon number with the satin waist band and taffeta under skirt!”

“No. I am. Not. Kidding. You have to start with the basics.”

“But I want Audrey Hepburn! I don’t want Julia Child! My life is ruined! I’ll never find love! I’ll never find fortune or fame! My destiny will be ruineeeeed!”


Are you done?

I’m soooo done- you’ll never know.”

Are you ready?”


Damn it.

Grandmother’s Buttons
9814 Royal St.
St. Francisville, LA

A charming button boutique with a Button Museum!

The buttons from the French Revolution (1789-1799)
were plentiful here in Louisiana, as the state was a French colony, at the time.

Do I own any?
But a girl can dream!

The store location is in an old bank building.
The Button Museum is in the vault, as it should be.

Thanks Mom.
I’m obsessed.

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