I Wuz Just Thinking: Treasures of Gold


I peeked inside the tote, and my eyes were nearly blinded from the glittering gold of buttons I had first seen so many years ago.

Last April I wrote a column about buttons. At that time, I mentioned Gwen Palmer and her store where she sold her fabrics and buttons. I believe the store closed about 1997.

A few years ago, Mrs. Palmer passed away, and her son and daughter-in-law had an estate sale.  Many of her collections of furniture, antiques, and collectibles were sold.  The remainder were placed in storage units.

Just recently, the storage units have emptied and a large plastic tote ended at the habitat store here in Kilgore.

It just so happened, my son was purchasing some tools at the store and phoned me to see if I would come pick them up as they were too heavy to carry on his bike.

Betty Mahurin Baker

I went and while I was waiting for him, I looked around in what is called, “the girlie room,” meaning it was packed with dishes, books, figurines, and other items.  I lifted the lid on a white tote and peeked inside.

To my amazement, my eyes were nearly blinded from the glittering gold.  Yes, I said “gold.”  Immediately, I recognized the Palmer gold buttons.  Those precious and very expensive buttons that remained behind from the estate sale.

About that time, the manager of the habitat store came into the room.  David saw me looking in the white tote just as I said, “Palmer”….”Palmer buttons.”   He had such a surprised look on his face that someone would recognize the buttons.

After inquiring of the price, he gave me a quote and I was able to purchase the whole tote.  I was so excited.  I could barely wait to get home and go through these treasures.  The tote was very heavy to carry but my enthusiasm allowed me to manage it.

I remember at the estate sale, some of the little clear containers had spilled and the buttons were picked up and just dropped into the cartons. There had been no time to properly separate them.

It took me nearly all day going through the cases, re-organizing them and matching them buttons I had already purchased.

In the bottom of the white tote were some old Kilgore News Herald papers.  I went through each one and read the articles, then the advertisements about the Palmer store.  Various seasons were featured with picture of Mrs. Palmer and the Barbie doll clothes she made.  Another was a picture of Jimmie Palmer and his parents.

Finally, I saw a little white plastic bag on the very bottom.  I lifted the bag and to my surprise, there were autographed photos by the country artists:  Willie Nelson, Box Car Willie, Mickey Gillie, Roy Clark, Andy Williams, and one photo of two ladies named Beverly and Penny. “Heart & Soul” was printed on the photo.  I have no idea who they were. Most of these photos were autographed to “Gwen.”  Some had the date of 1992 on them.

Those autographed photos were such a joyous find for me.  I immediately looked up their approximate values by way of the Internet.  Another smile came to my face.  My mind was racing on how I would spend the money if I chose to sell them.

After giving it a lot of thought and discussing the situation with my husband, he  and I both decided it was best to return the autographed photos addressed “to Gwen,” to her son  Jimmie.  We felt quite sure he was not aware the photos were even in that tote.

Again, I received joy when Jimmie thanked me for the photos and news articles with the ads of his mother’s store. I had compiled and placed them into a red folder for him.

The happiness on his face and twinkle in his eyes were more precious than any amount of money that could have come from selling the autographed photographs.  For me, those glittering gold buttons were my treasures…..as I was jus thinking.

, , , , , , ,

Related Posts