Pinking Shears

It might seem strange to write an entire post about pinking shears, but do not fear–that isn’t really what this post is about.  But inasmuch as my crafting is a form of soul-searching, I find myself letting my mind drift back into the memories of times long ago.  While most of my scrapbooking endeavors deal with the recent past or present,  sometimes the process itself brings up the distant past.

And so it was today, as I used my pinking shears to create a series of thank you cards. I’ve always loved the way pinking shears can add such an easy ounce of “finish” to any craft project.  As I sat there cutting strips of of music-themed paper, I thought about Louise.

When I was very young, my parents would occasionally use a babysitting service made up of rather senior ladies who were all about the discipline and rarely about the fun.  Most often I would get Louise, who, while probably in her 70s, seemed to be the ancient of ancients to me at my tender age. She appeared to be quite frail, and I remember that her lips seemed to be permanently pursed.  It was from Louise that I learned the word “cross” could mean something other than what I knew it to mean in church.  I came to hate that word:  “cross.”  She was always saying “I’m very cross with you.”  It was as if she had been brought to my house from another century.

At any rate, when my parents would go out and leave me with a babysitter, I would dread the moment when my father opened the front door and I’d see her.  Louise.   Old, crotchety, Louise.  Complete with old lady smell and old lady polyester and old lady voice.

Well,  as it turns out, while Louise may not have been up for a game of Red Rover, she was fairly well-versed in babysitting and would bring craft projects occasionally.  One day, she pulled these strange looking scissors out of her old lady bag, along with a pile of old Christmas wrapping paper.  I watched her as she began to cut squares of paper and much to my amazement—the lines were zigzag!  I’m pretty sure her old lady eyes saw my face light up and she probably risked a small smile. “Would you like to try the pinking shears?”

I enthusiastically began to cut every piece of paper I could find.  I loved running my hands along the edges of the paper.  I loved how she would layer different pieces together and the zig-zagged edges were so perfectly matched to one another.  After our first session, I asked her if she could bring the “zigzag” scissors next time she came.  She promised she would.

And so she did.  She’d bring two pair of pinking shears, one for me and one for her.
And I found, during these visits, that she had much less reason to be “cross” with me.

Now I’m no longer a little girl fascinated with zigzag scissors, but instead a woman who is much older, a little wiser, and still likes to run her fingers against the edges of the paper.

Thank you, Louise.

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May 2008

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