In September 1954, I was 16 years old and I asked my mom what she wanted for Christmas. She didn’t hesitate. She said, “Scissors.” “Great,” I said and left to go to work.
A few days later my dad told me, “She wants special scissors made by Singer.” He said you can’t afford them; they’re over $20.00.
The next day I went to the Singer sewing machine Company in the mall. I talked to the salesman and he said, “We don’t carry them because they’re so expensive. You can go over to the 5 & 10 and get them for $2.95. Ours are $21.95. The only difference is these are heavy and say Singer on the blade.”
“Can I order them?” I said. “Not unless you pay for them in advance,” he said.
I asked to see the manager. He told me the same thing, but he would put them on layaway. But if I didn’t pay in a certain time, they keep the money and the scissors. “OK,” I said.
I worked part time. Got paid every Friday. Saturday I’d go make a payment. After five weeks things got kind of tight. But I’d pay even if it was only 50 cents.
Around the middle of November, I walked in the store. The manager gave me a skinny white box with a big bow on it and said, “Merry Christmas.” He gave me a receipt that said, “Paid in full”. I started to ask; then I left the store. When I got home I added up all the receipts. They came to $16.75.
When Mom opened the box, she said, “How did you do this?” And she looked at Dad. He said, “He did this all by himself.” I said, “Me and Santa Claus.”