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Try a hobby. Mine is button collecting.

Try a Hobby. Mine is Button Collecting

Hobbies are great stress relievers. I know fro m personal experience; I've had MS since 1961. When I was more mobile, I enjoyed flower gardening as Jess Dehnz does (see Winter '90 issue, "Dig I Must.") Now, since I sit most of the day and rely on crutches or a wheelchair to get around, I've found another kind of hobby which fits my needs. It is button collecting.

In 1969, a jar of my grandmother's buttons started me on the trail. That jar has now grown to collection of more than 20,000 buttons, both antique and modern. Some of my favorites are the antique black glass buttons made popular by Queen Victoria, modern glass buttons made in West Germany, and the brass picture buttons that depict animals, stories, people, etc. My oldest button is a pearl button worn in colonial America. Probably the most interesting button I have is a smuggler's button with a secret compartment. I could go on and on because every button is very special to me.

Aside from being relatively inexpensive (although, as with any hobby, it can cost more depending on what buttons you want to collect) it's a great hobby for people with MS because you can adjust it to your ability and range of activity. It's led me down several paths. In 1972 I published a book on buttons. I've appeared on local TV to talk about my hobby and I am the junior co-chairman for the Iowa State Button Society.

I work with larger buttons on days when my hands are clumsy. Telephone wire is used to fasten the buttons to specially designed cards. Some days, even this is difficult but I've found the work has helped my hands more limber.

Even on bad days I try to mount my buttons. Although a lot of buttons may end up on the floor, it's a challenge to try. The National Button Society has a Shut-in or Handicapped Division whose rules allow someone else to mount the buttons if you tell them how to arrange them. So it's not only good physical therapy, it can be a very sociable hobby as well: My sister and mother boty enjoy working with me.

On really bad days I enjoy just looking at my carded buttons and planning ahead, deciding on which show card to use certain buttons. History, how they're made, the meaning of a design, these all come into it--so I'm learning and my mind is always stimulated. I've been fortunate enough to win ribbons at exhibits and that always gives me a boost.

Button collecting has been such an important and positive aspect of my life that I'd like to encourage others to give it a try. If you're interested, there are local and state clubs around the nation which always welcome new members. Write to Lois Pool, 2733 Juno Place, Akron, Ohio 44313.

But if buttons aren't for you I'd like to suggest you try some hobby. It can be a fascinating and intriguing coping help.
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Title Annotation:multiple sclerosis victim
Author:Burkheimer, Harriet
Publication:Inside MS
Date:Jun 22, 1990
Previous Article:A columnist's legacy.
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