Thursday, May 28, 2015

Rebecca Buttons: The Story of The Wormwood School for Higher Learning

Once there was a dainty teacher,

A headmistress that was quite a creature. 

Her name was Miss Rebecca Buttons.

She scolded parents for being gluttons. 

When parents gave her children trouble,                                                               

She was quick to burst their bubble: 

“Children must have imagination. 

Let it flourish with fascination.”

Her students could do more than read or write. 

They knew how to sing and fly a kite. 

Her father was an industrious farmer,

Who thought his daughter was a snake charmer.

The Wormwood School for Higher Learning

With its five hundred students sent tables turning. 

She said, “Life is more than math and science.

Sometimes you have to show defiance.

If someone tells you that you can’t do it,

Get determined; find a way through it.”

On the corner of her office shelf 

Sat a jar with buttons she collected herself. 

She got the jar from a batch of pickles. 

Magic buttons became better than nickels.

If a student came to her in tears, 

She tried to calm their growing fears. 

“Take a button from my pickle jar

And wish upon a shining star. 

Every time you think you can’t,

Grab your button and hear me rant:

‘You can do it! Go be brilliant!

Anything is possible! Be resilient.’

Buttons can mend a broken heart.

Find a loophole for a place to start.

A four-holed button is stronger than two.

Good buttons are almost like glue.”

When Rebecca walked the halls at school,

She snapped her fingers as a mighty tool.

“Buttons’n’Snaps! Buttons’n’Snaps!

Stand up straight! Mind the gaps!”

Her students’ pockets were full of buttons.

So were their parents’, especially the Suttons’,

Who had a feisty daughter named Gracie.

She wore dresses cute and lacy. 

Mrs. Suttons hated buttons and snaps. 

She told Rebecca her judgment was lapse. 

But every time Mrs. Suttons came to class,

Headmistress gave her buttons en masse. 

“Giving students buttons is ridiculous:

Why can’t you be more meticulous?

Gracie doesn’t need arts and crafts. 

Your teaching skills give me laughs!”

Miss Buttons said: “You’re not at all creative.

Your mind is slightly vegetative.

Try to broaden your thwarted vision.

Buttons can help in any decision.”

Through the school, Rebecca ran a string 

And looped the buttons for charm and bling.

Any time children walked through the hall,

The buttons string prevented a brawl.

“Children, what do those buttons mean?”

Rebecca would say just like a queen. 

Students would say to nasty mothers:

“Buttons mean: ‘Be kind to others.

Believe for the impossible goal.

Give up now, and you’ll live in a hole.’”

Oh, Mrs. Suttons would wrinkle her nose!

She removed all the buttons from her clothes.

Instead, she used nothing but zippers,

From head to toes to her bedroom slippers.

Miss Buttons said: “The world needs teachers,

Space walkers, doctors, artists, preachers,

Storytellers, chemists, deep-sea divers, 

Architects, actors, and camel drivers.

If you don’t like my philosophy, Ma’am,

I’d like to hear your lifelong scam.

Teach your children truth after truth.

Don’t lie to them throughout their youth.

Children were created for mighty things.

You have to let them spread their wings.”

Once Rebecca’s buttons were stolen.

She got so mad her cheeks were swollen.

She thought Mrs. Suttons surely went crazy

And stole her buttons when her eyes went glazy. 

The empty pickle jar in her office corner

Made the headmistress a terrible scorner. 

From then on, Rebecca created a plan. 

Her buttons would never end up in the can. 

She hid most of her buttons in a secret room.

Behind her office wall, she built a button tomb.

When she opened up her chamber of buttons,

It couldn’t be found by Mrs. Suttons.

She moved the painting on the office wall,

Used her button key and entered the hall.

A hall of every button of every kind, 

Alphabetical order was intertwined.

A to Z: Buttons sat on shelves,

Almost organized by themselves.

Buttons for anger, worry, and fear,

She stocked up on wisdom once or twice a year.

The Wormwood Button Elves—she hired. 

For hours a day, they worked and perspired,

Finding lost buttons all over town,

And bringing her buttons, as if a crown. 

Big buttons, little buttons, colored and wood.

Plastic lasted longer; it was understood.

For variation, she stocked marbles and dice.

If you lost a marble, you better think twice.

Dice were good to roll if you needed a chance,

But you never knew what you’d get in advance.

Of course, in emergency, snaps were secure.

To display the options: The Wormwood Brochure.

She could show her students every single option.

Her students, themselves, were a form of adoption.

However, the merchandise was never on display. 

Except for the pickle jar she filled every day.

The button vault was kept well-hid.

One would say it was off-the-grid. 

Then one day when Rebecca didn’t see,

Gracie slipped into her office with a plea.

“I don’t think I’ll ever amount to much.

Mother thinks I should clean house and such.”

Miss Buttons said: “I clean my house just fine.

Your mom is a naysayer without a spine.

This crisis calls for extra special help.”

She opened up her chamber—with a yelp!

Gracie’s eyes grew large—larger than most.

“This chamber is our secret! Let’s have a toast!

Now look at all the buttons and their meanings.

Positivity rules the world in all its leanings.”

Gracie took a button from every jar,

‘Till her pockets were fuller than any bazaar. 

All of sudden the world had possibility.

She wasn’t destined for stark futility. 

Anytime her mother told Gracie lies, 

Miss Buttons gave her reason to reach the skies.

Later in life, Gracie took Miss Button’s job, 

Despite her mother who had been a snob.

Her mother never found the button vault. 

But Gracie inherited it by default.

Miss Buttons lives on now and forever. 

A button reminds you to never say never!


Copyright 2016 Jennifer Waters

Dedicated to my mother, Darlene Waters, for her magic button jar.

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