Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The best gift ever

Today is my birthday, so I am going to tell the story of one of my favorite presents ever. It is a story most of you have likely heard before from friends, or even lived yourself, but mine has a little twist.


I started sewing in 5th or 6th grade. By Junior High I was using patterns to make dresses and blouses. My parents had bought my sister and me a heavy duty, all metal sewing machine for our own use, but everything else we scrounged from Mom--pins, thread, floss, scissors. This was fine. Mom was generous with our sewing attempts as long as we didn't use the sewing shears to cut paper.


But there came a day when I had fabric and patterns laid out all over the hard wood living room floors with the carpet rolled back to make more room. I was cutting and cutting and my hand was killing me. The problem? Left-handed scissors. I grew up as the only right-handed person in a family of four, in a house crammed to the rafters with left-handed scissors. There was not a single pair of right-handed scissors in the entire house. I remember grumbling quite a bit that evening. I think my mother may have even finished cutting out the final pattern for me because it was just too difficult.


As you can imagine, my family had very little sympathy for me. Since they were all left handed, they faced difficulties every time they picked up a pen, but I thought it was unfair. I grew up being told constantly that left handed people were superior in intelligence, creativity--everything. It didn't help that my Dad and sister's initials both spelled out GEM (at least phonetically--my sister is JEM). It was clear that being right handed meant being the lowest head on the totem pole.


But then came Christmas. And what was in my stocking, but a big pair of right-handed, orange-handled sewing shears. I was so surprised and so happy to see those scissors! They were my favorite gift that year--really one of my favorite gifts of all time. I used them for many many years until they were too dull to cut fabric. Then I bought another pair and delegated the originals for paper cutting. I try to keep the new ones just for sewing, but my husband doesn't understand my obsession not to use the sewing scissors on paper. Of course, he is left handed!

Now I live in an apartment full of right-handed shears!




  1. Margo my dear wife,
    First - happy birthday.
    Second - I must set the record straight for your readers: I surely DO understand you "obsession" not to use your sewing shears on paper. It only took ONE time to learn THAT lesson. :)
    And by the way... As you know, I grew up the youngest in a family of seven as the only left hander, and yes - we only had right handed scissors in our house. So - I feel your pain. :)

  2. Life brings many challenges!!
    You have learned well and produce the most amazingly beautiful needlework, your great- grandmother (the real family needleworker! - a tailor from Montreal) would be thrilled to see your work - But I think she was left handed also!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I think i'll keep you anyway Happy Birthday!
    Love Mom

  3. Happy birthday!
    Enjoyed reading your post, my father is the only left handed in our family and the most creative, we all wished we were left handed, it looks so cool when he writes.
    Wishing you a joyful and creative year1

  4. Thank you everyone for the brithday greetings! I got comments on this post off of this forum. It seemed to strike a note with a lot of people out there with ledt-handed siblings! Thanks!