Lauda's scissors - a family story

When we moved my grandparents out of the house they'd lived in since the seventies, we got rid of a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff - to the point where we were getting a little ruthless. It's hard not to get stuck in the memories attached to every single item, but we cleared that hurdle before the end.

So when my mom asked if I wanted a nondescript little carpet bag, I said no.

"Does it make a difference if it was Lauda's knitting bag?" she asked.

Um, yeah.

My great grandmother Lauda died before I was born. I never met her, but she was all around us. My mother's family carried her first husband's name, and our extended family, closely knit though unrelated by blood, carried her second. Her wedding photo smiled down on us from above the fireplace.

Each Christmas of my childhood we hung the stockings under that fireplace: simple tubes with rounded ends, with our names and a green Christmas tree on the front and our birthdate (or wedding date, for the married-ins). Simple shapes in simple colors, littered with little beads and sequins, filled with rolls of film, lottery tickets, and See's lollipops. A signal that we were all gathered together.

After Lauda passed the aunts took over knitting stockings for a while, adding in new grandkids as we were born. At some point the enthusiasm died off. I said I would pick it back up, but didn't. (Maybe this year. Maybe next year.)

When I opened the bag I felt like an archaeologist brushing dust off a sarcophagus. Inside I found scraps of acrylic yarn in pastel colors, long metal needles, lumpy swatches, stitch holders and place markers. A typed cardigan pattern. A handwritten letter from my great uncle. Age-stained index cards with her shorthand patterns for a baby blanket and a bassinet robe.

And her scissors.

The yarn and needles and scraps, I've saved together. The scissors I keep with me, and use on my various fiber projects, things I plan, things I start. They are a small piece of a woman who I never met, but who helped shape every part of who I am. It's one way I keep her memory.

The name of this shop is another.

Photo by @effiegurmeza