Niche: Bellmead button club has fascination with fasteners – Waco Tribune

There’s an old, tarnished button, the size of a half-dollar and sort of copper-colored, that Marlene Tucker, of Axtell, has held on to for about 40 years. This simple button, embossed with a bow, can be credited for Tucker’s lifelong love of buttons and ultimately, her founding of the fledgling Brazos Button Club.

Tucker’s dad found that first button in the dirt one day when he was plowing and brought it home to her. It wasn’t much to look at, but she kept it and carried it around with her.

“The neat part was, he carried it in his pocket all day to give to me,” she said.

Marlene Tucker holds up a button necklace at a show in Bellmead.
Marlene Tucker holds up a button necklace at a show in Bellmead.
Rod Aydelotte / Waco Tribune-Herald

Through the years, Tucker, now 56, kept gathering buttons. One day, she Googled the question, “What do you do with so many buttons.” That’s how she learned about button clubs.

“I thought, ‘Really, there’s other ninnies out there who get together, and enough for a club?’ ” she said. Not long ago, she settled in Axtell with her family and in October 2011, started the Brazos Button Club.

“We’re making quite a splash in the button world of Texas,” Tucker said.

As Tucker describes it, there’s been a button club drought between Austin and Dallas/Fort Worth.

Button enthusiasts are collectors, but they’re also hunters and competitors. They enter contests at button shows that call for collectors to display buttons of a very specific type. There, the hunt begins to find the buttons to fit the challenge.

Tucker’s mother-in-law, Sallye Tucker, won two third-place ribbons for her button entries at the recent show in Austin.

“She caught the fever from me,” Tucker said about Sallye Tucker, 83. “I can’t go anywhere for a button that she hasn’t been.”

And Sallye Tucker said she has come across some treasure buttons in Waco antique stores.

The Brazos Button Club is up to about 10 members and Tucker is eager to see it grow. She thinks Waco, in the center of the state, would be ideal to host some statewide button shows and workshops one day. But Tucker has no desire to get too big for her britches, or buttons.

She still loves the sound of buttons clicking together in a box as people sift through them. And she loves to poke around a good “poke box” herself, just like she used to sort through the buttons her mom kept in a Peter Pan peanut butter jar on the window sill.

And she still sometimes carries around that old bow button her dad saved from the plow.

“Everybody thinks their buttons are worth millions but they’re not. If you like ’em, that’s what matters,” Tucker said.

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Quirky hobbies, interesting folks, intriguing tales. The people and places that give Waco its indelible flavor have a place in Niche, an occasional feature in Brazos Living. Join our reporters as they seek out the extraordinary in the ordinary. If you have a suggestion for a Niche story, send it to [email protected]

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