Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Bobo's Button

 Mom has spent the past couple of days going through old jewelry boxes. She has little of her own jewelry left: it was stolen in 1987 when the house was burglarized and the jewelry box and contents taken. It was a cold day in early February when she and Dad (and Ginger, too, for that matter) returned home from a quick outing and found the back door broken down and hanging free of its hinges.
 Not that there was anything much of value in it - there wasn't - but the point was that someone had invaded our privacy. We still have little of any value but within a month we had a security system installed (a bit late, thank you), since upgraded, and nowadays always-on web cameras that monitor the house around the clock. Seems were better protected now that we have nothing left to protect.
 One item of personal value - though zero in a financial sense - is a tiny button, almost of the political sort, of my grandfather, Elwood M Schmidt (1898-1970). He was about two when this picture was taken:

 The man is perfectly recognizable to me even as child. I can't say "he didn't change much" because he did but the eyes, at least, are something he cannot hide behind. Those lovely eyes give him away and still stare at me across the ages, even from the grave.
 How and why was the tiny button made? I suppose photo shops offered such as this or perhaps a passing circus sold them as novelties. In any case, the button was always kept in my grandmother's jewelry box and I'm happy that Mom still has it today.

 The back of the button looks to be brass or perhaps copper. The pin is of the old fashioned type. It is made better than today's political buttons that are designed to be thrown away when the race is done.
 In the same small jewelry box were these:

 I posted the picture and requested friends try to identify what they were. We all thought they were in the jewelry or fashion accessory category but beyond that we pretty well came up blank. After several days the answer came. Have a look here.
 An antique skirt lifter? Seems those dirty, dusty roads were just begging to soil the long skirts of  Victorian era women and this device protected the dresses lower fringe.Value? Around $200 each. Ours do appear to be silver. They are not tarnished or damaged and seem in much better condition than the one pictured.
 I'd say, though, that they were my aunt's (Minerva Belle Hinkle) who lived from about 1870 to 1962. My grandmother (Helen M Schmidt) was born too late (1902-1995) for this lady's accessory.
 And so the old jewelry box delivered two old "treasures", one of no monetary value, the other only modestly so. I treasure both just the same.

* "Bobo", by the way, is what I called my grandfather. He loved the name and even signed greeting cards that way. My maternal grandfather did not take so quickly to the name. He thought I had called him a hobo.

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