I’d last used the cutter with laminated vocabulary words and other visuals when I was working as a preschool tutor for Reading Corps several years ago. I remember feeling a delightful sense of teacherly industriousness as I prepared my lessons. I adored the inexpensive laminator I’d picked up at Aldi’s; I loved watching as my flimsy printouts turned stiff and shiny. And the paper cutter never failed me. Slice. Slice. Slice.
My dad passed away shortly after my service with Reading Corps ended. This time, when I brought out the paper cutter, my thoughts went back to my own childhood: my dad in the basement, the paper cutter on top of our small pool table, and that distinctive metallic sound as the blade came down and through, down and through. What did he need to cut? He directed the choir and served on the music committee at church, so most likely it had something to do with music. I knew I wasn’t to touch the paper cutter myself. I might hurt myself. It was dangerous. When I watched him make cut after cut, I was awestruck. My dad could do dangerous things. He was precise, deliberate, as he was in all he did—the careful upkeep of the farm equipment, the expertly trimmed trees in the grove, the ledger books that didn’t miss a single transaction.
My rectangles piled up. How I wished I could have shared the journey of The Everybody Club with my dad. He would have embraced the message wholeheartedly. He would have been proud of me—not just for making the book, but for helping my friend find a way to celebrate her daughter’s life. For a little while, the paper cutter brought me back to him, and him to me, and we stood there at my kitchen counter, cutting those rectangles together.
is a children's book author, editor, tutor, mom of two adult children and one feisty cat, and collector of weird things.
My Reading Corps Service
Letters for Kids
A Blue Ribbon Day
A Kind Neighbor, a Beaded Tree