Shell Buttons

8 Jan

It started with a picture at the end of National Geographic’s November, 2011 issue. They place archived photos there and this one was of Mississippi River clam divers. The clam shells were used in button factories that lined the area rivers. I knew about the factory that was across the river in Sabula, Iowa. I did a little research (ok I Googled it) trying to put a date on the closure of that factory. I didn’t find it but learned about another that still exists in Muscatine, IA. I posted links on Facebook. My cousin responded about another he remembered being in Bellevue, IA north of Sabula. My father’s older brothers, Hugh & Leo had dredged for shells.

At that moment it hit me once again. My cousin’s mother is correct. We are the older generation. Right or wrong, the stories we heard as children are ours to pass on or let die with us. As a child I enjoyed listening to my grandmother tell about her life in South Dakota before my grandfather died. My father’s sister Mrytle told stories about the end of World War I and sharing an apartment with a girlfriend and about their jobs. My mother said the facts were not quite correct but who was around to correct them? Are the stories I heard correct? Does it matter if I pass them on the way I remember them? For me there are fewer people who can say I don’t remember things correctly. Personally I think the stories are just fine however they are told.

Did I tell you about the shell buttons? I have both shells with the holes and the buttons they made.

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One Response to “Shell Buttons”

  1. benwithhart January 30, 2012 at 12:53 PM #

    It is important to share these recollections, record as many as you can. I have tried to share many with my children and need to record more of them.

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