My father came home with his shears, and word that he’d lost his job spread rapidly through the house. He’d dreamed of working as an electrician after repairing electrical systems on warplanes. (But those jobs went to men whose fathers were in the electrician’s union.) Instead, he became a “cutter”, matching and cutting cloth for men’s suits. My father had wrapped gauze and tape around the cold metal handles of the shears, to make them better fit his hands.

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