Buttons, Buttons…. #JusJoJan

Mom used to have this expression, "I’m handing in my Brownie button," basically meaning she had had enough and wanted out. I have no idea about the source of that expression: Brownies are the youngest Girl Scouts, and I don’t know if Mom was ever involved in them, or even if Brownies were around when she was that age. But that’s what she’d say.

When we moved to Glenwood Avenue, our original landlords were an older, childless couple named Rabbitt. He was a night watchman and she was a waitress, so we had to be quiet during the day, because Mr. Rabbitt was sleeping and could be quite grouchy if awakened. They had an old cocker spaniel who didn’t esspecially like us, so if we happened to go into the back yard and the dog was out, we’d have to kind of tiptoe past her or she’d growl and bark at us.

Sadly, the dog passed away after a couple of years, and Mrs. Rabbitt was quite sad. One day I was coming home from school, and she and her husband were just getting out of their car. She had something wrapped in a blanket, and she came over to me and showed me that it was a little poodle, who they named Buttons. Kind of cute name for a toy poodle. Maybe not a good name for a pit bull, a mastiff, or a Rottweiler (and you know what I’d name one of those dogs if we ever got one, which we probably won’t). Buttons was the antithesis of their older dog: he was energetic, friendly, and liked to run around and play.

On Sunday night one week, both of the Rabbitts were working, and Buttons was all by himself. And, from the time she left for work until she came home, Buttons howled and HOWLED, disturbing all of us. So Dad went down and suggested that Buttons spend Sunday nights with us. We were home, because Sunday was a school night, and we liked the dog. Even Dad liked the dog, and I always had the impression that he didn’t like dogs.

Dad passed away, and not long after that the Rabbitts sold the building and moved to Pennsylvania. I guess they’re all gone now.

I remember when the first Touch-Tone phones came out, and how they charged extra for the privilege of having one. Needless to say, we didn’t get one right away. The father of one of my classmates, who was also the Scoutmaster, worked for the phone company, so they got one right away. Kind of a perk (which, since that’s short for perquisite, should probably be spelled perq). Anyway, one of the banks started offering a primitive sort of ATM card, and I decided I wanted one (I was 18 or 19 at the time). Problem was you needed to have a Touch-Tone phone to finish the setup, and I ended up having to run to a payphone to do it. When all was said and done, it wasn’t worth it…

Just Jot It January is brought to you by Linda Hill and this station.

14 thoughts on “Buttons, Buttons…. #JusJoJan

  1. Most interesting post, John! I was a Brownie and then graduated to a Girl Scout! It was a big thing back in the day to get badges to show your achievements.


    1. It was the same in the Boy Scouts. I actually passed my Tenderfoot test but never did anything else. Patrick, my youngest brother, on the other hand, was an Eagle Scout. His dad made it to Life (one step below) then went into the seminary…

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        1. Thanks to a lawsuit, girls can now join the Boy Scouts, and now there’s a push going on somewhere to create all girl troops of Boy Scouts. Well, ain’t that the idea behind the Girl Scouts? Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but is there no longer the idea of separate activities for boys and girls?

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