As a child growing up in the 50s, my family had the typical 2 cars, house in suburbia, and three children, all different from each other, with their own strengths in every way. That picture of perfection lasted until I was 11 years old.
My mom, my sister and myself left that life while my brother had enlisted in the Marines. We were running for our lives from a life of violence and abuse that took us 3000 miles from the home we knew. It was 1962, and a very bold and heroic move for mom to save herself and her kids. We lived out of cardboard apple boxes for a few years, in a furnished apartment, with the idea that we could move in an instant if necessary.
Mom afforded us the best life she could, and the one thing I feel that saved me, for sure, was the creativity mom and I shared from as early as I can remember. We were able to make anything out of anything, and our scissors were the kind you had to get resharpened every so often, generally by a man who did this from his truck back in that day. Mom had a set she would carry in a blue folded case, and we would create Christmas gifts, ornaments and decorations for the house. We developed a closeness in our creativity.
She sewed my clothes, cut my hair, and cut open eggs with tiny scissors to make ornaments for the tree at Christmas. We created scenes inside the eggs from meticulously cut Christmas cards we received over the years, adding sequins and paint inside and out of the eggs to finish them. Mom had been a Girl Scout leader in her earlier days and taught me many of the things she learned along the way.
Despite hardship, and constant fear, we still had fun. We constructed a make-shift fireplace one Christmas, out of the Apple boxes, to hang our stockings on that mom also made from scratch. We were on the run, trying to stay alive, but we always found a way to make lemonade out of lemons, essentially, with a pair of scissors.
Because we had to learn to live with old, beat up furniture, and had to learn to fix everything ourselves, I became quite handy over time with a passion to make things better.
Later on, a bit older and on my own, I would collect furniture I would find on big trash day, or something cast onto the sidewalk of a store for trash pickup, and throw it in the back of my car and head home, like I had just found a stray puppy to nurture and give a home to. ‘Give back a life and make it better’ was my motto. Give it the life my mom gave me. With a paintbrush and some scissors, I still create a new world for forgotten or tossed off furniture. This has become a passion of mine. I often think mom would be proud.
I don’t use my mom’s scissors any longer, but I keep them in a place where I come across them every so often. I always stop for that moment and think about the old days. I open up the case and think of the things those scissors have seen, think about how we made it, somehow, and what they mean to me. How we had good times in spite of bad times.
As each daughter grew up and eventually began their own lives, I packed a pair or two or three of scissors went with them. In my world, they are a staple for living.
Not to sound like a Fiskar commercial, but my big purchase when I got married was a set of Fiskar scissors that came in a molded box where each pair could sit comfortably. There was a sliding cardboard cover that slipped over the container. I think I just threw that container away this past year, and the scissors went into my sewing box, which is a large tool box. I believe those scissors were made in the USA.
I no longer have to run, no longer have to hide, no longer live with fear, but I do still enjoy my scissors. Attached is a pic of one of the eggs mom and I created that has survived over 50 years….And then just a sample of my own ornaments and furniture I still create, thanks to scissors and my passion to find the beauty in most everything.