The Buttons of My Life

Today I did something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I took out and repurposed my button and pin collection from its hiding place in a corner of a drawer in my jewelry box.

As regular readers already know, I tend to hold on to things for no good reason. Among the things I hold on to are gifts of various kinds, jewelry, scarves, and miscellaneous memorabilia. Included among the memorabilia are pins and buttons that I have been given because of my association with various groups and interests, and my collection dates back to the 1980s. At least one of these pins is nearly as old as my oldest child, and he just turned 40!

I took off all the clips and posts and glued the buttons and pins on to magnets with Gorilla Glue. On some of them, I had to provide a little cardboard packing to account for the stub left behind, and sometimes I just glued the magnets below the stubs.

Here, for a pictorial representation of bits of my life, are those pins.


Although not in the order in which I received them, the pins represent the following associations and memories (top left to bottom right) :

Pride Smile — probably from an Edmonton parade.

Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society — I studied for this certification for many years but never practiced professionally.

Red Deer College (10-year pin) — I taught at Red Deer College for a total of 18 years and was given this pin in the years before it became more profit-centred than I thought an educational institution should be.

University of Calgary Students’ Union — I got my BA and MA degrees at the University of Calgary as a mature student.

Gaywire — My younger child had a radio show on Gaywire on CJSR in Edmonton for a year or more. Once, I contributed as a guest.

Canada flag — I once took several of these pins with me on a trip to the UK. They were given out freely by the government.

Serge Gingras for City Council — A good friend ran for city council one year. He really should have been elected, but I think now he’s in a better place.

Girl Guides — I was a guide leader for a couple of years.

Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society — Take their courses! You will use the training in unexpected places.

Calgary 1988 — This was the year of the winter Olympics. I contributed, inadequately, by serving food in the cafeteria at the hockey arena.

Downton Abbey — I donated to the PBS TV station that gave us this show, and in turn, they gave me this pin.

Red Deer College — It is now a university.

Walking With Our Sisters — A mind-blowing exhibition providing a walk alongside pairs of shoes numbering the same as the missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada.

Canadian Blood Services (10-year pin) — I donated blood regularly until I took a trip to Kenya. After that, they didn’t want my blood and I just stopped going.

The Year of the Sunday School 1980 — I have been both a Sunday School teacher and a Bible Study leader

Canada 150 — The celebration in Edmonton of Canada’s 150th anniversary was a fun flag-filled event. 

Town Of Olds — We lived in Olds for a couple of years so that my husband and I could commute in opposite directions.

Gideons — I was a tag-along to my husband’s membership in this organization. We didn’t actually put Bibles in motel drawers, but we did go to some meetings and give money.

Girl Guides — Basic CPR, tree identification, and badges. I remember a sleepover with other guide troupes in a community hall where the leaders hid out in the kitchen and drank Baileys Irish Cream.

Another Nasty Woman Against Trump — From a women’s march in San Jose, California.

All those little logos and memory-triggers are now sitting where I can see them on the door of my fridge. Having resurrected these peculiar and sometimes regrettable reflections, I am now tempted to do something with my collection of single earrings and brooches that haven’t been worn in decades. It may be difficult to remember when and how I acquired them but they, too, deserve to be liberated.





  1. Fascinating. I have a pin collection as well, in a bag, somewhere in my house. The oldest is a girl guide pin from the 1960s. The next oldest is a pin I got in 1971 when I went on a tour to an underground mine in Thompson, Manitoba. I also have a few RDC pins and lots of union pins. You’ve inspired me – I just might do something with mine. I’m curious, what was the reasoning behind the Red Cross not wanting blood donations after your Kenya trip?

    • You should find a way to display those pins. I’m already enjoying seeing mine when I use the fridge.

      I think that the Red Cross cannot take blood from people who have visited certain countries because of the risk of some diseases. I don’t know which diseases in particular, though. They will take blood again after a certain amount of time has passed.

      • I was thinking of putting them into a shadow box. I have a few unfinished projects that I really need to get back to! Makes sense re blood donations and travel to certain countries.

  2. This is a brilliant idea! So fun too.
    I enjoyed reading through your memories and thoughts of each one.
    I’m looking forward to what you do with your jewelry. I am in the same boat and am completely lost.

  3. That’s a really fun idea. I had a huge bag of my son’s Scout badges and pins traded at a jubilee in the 90s. 20 years later, I contacted a local Scout troop to see if they might want them. They did, and the leaders said that the kids were thrilled with them. I wish I had just kept one for my little pin collection.

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