A few years ago, after having minor surgery, a friend walked up to me at church and put something in my hand. The friend’s comment was that “I thought you needed this.”  It was a pin in the shape of a flower — gold setting with green stones.

Okay here’s the thing. I was speechless because (a) this friend is male, and (b) he could have no way of knowing my penchant for pins. I was absolutely gobsmacked as my New Zealand cousin-in-law, Jo, would say.

I’ve had a minor collection of pins since I was a kid and one of my brothers gave me two tiny gold mouse pins with diamond eyes, and another gave me a tiny ladybug with a topaz stone. So what is it with guys giving me pins? Not that I’m objecting.

This friend’s wife (who was actually my friend first…way back in our college days) sidled over and whispered (“He goes to antique and thrift shops and picks up these things, then gives them to someone who needs a lift.”) She was right…I did need a lift and I was touched that he recognized it.

About a month ago, I found an envelope in my mailbox at church. Inside it was a red rose pin with a signature “From your pin pals.” I knew who it was from. They’d been scouring thrift shops again.

While writing about these pins, I decided to snoop around to see how many I could find. As is typical, they’re strewn all over the place. Some are in jewelry boxes on my dresser, but the older ones are in various old jewelry boxes in the attics, including the one my oldest brother gave me when I was kid — with the twirling ballerina still in place.

Here are some of the pins I found:



Mice with diamond eyes

Wooden duck with name burnt in center -- probably from a brother or Dad

Pin made by Anne using puzzle pieces and feather

3 responses to “Pinned

  1. Dear Mary,
    What a lovely and delightful column today! I have a friend who teaches school and has/wears a lot of pins. Many come from students, others from those of us who know she likes pins. One class – nearing graduation from Junior High – suggested that if they all passed their final tests with B or above – that she wear some of her pins. She responded that she would wear ALL of her 100 plus pins if they could all get A minus or above.
    And…..they did! The picture I have seen – it was really stunning! She had made pictures on her plain black dress of various groups of pins – thank you for stirring that memory!

  2. Mrs Joggin Unit

    Mary – What a fun story. Have you read about Madaline Albright’s pin collection and how she AND the pins affected world peace during her time as Secretary of State?

    • Pannabecker Steiner Mary

      I found MORE yesterday. Groan. I vaguely remember something about MA’s pins….gotta look that up!

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