I Carry Your Heart With Me (I Carry It In My Heart)

Every day I think to myself that I should have brought gloves for my walk to work, and every day I forget them again. It was like this my first year of university, when I'd get on the number 73 bus in the mornings after speed-reading the pages of Bleak House I hadn't read the night before, and sit on the top deck with my nose pressed against the window, watching people walking through London looking cold. Every time I got off the bus, I remembered I'd forgotten my gloves. And every time after that, I forgot them again.

At first I had a pair of cheap grey wool ones that I'd bought on impulse when my fingers were turning red and raw. I don't remember where I bought them, just that they didn't cost very much, and perhaps this is why I never remembered to bring them anywhere. Eventually, I must have brought them somewhere, because I lost them, and then I didn't have any gloves anymore. I suppose I mentioned this to my grandmother---my German one, my father's mother---when I was visiting her one weekend (I visited her most weekends), because she gave me a pair of her old ones, chocolate brown leather, that she'd bought in the late 60s, early 70s maybe, gloves that perhaps waved my father off to America one morning, perhaps waved my dying grandfather off to That Great Big Pub In The Sky.

I wore them on and off throughout college, always thinking I'd lose them or leave them somewhere and, miraculously, never doing it. I wore them maybe twice in South Carolina. Once was during the first winter we moved there, when it snowed very lightly one day---just a dusting of powdered sugar, really---and I had to walk to an interview, one of the first I'd ever done in my career, not knowing what I was doing or how you interviewed a person, or why no-one had told me it would get this cold in the South.

My grandmother went into a nursing home right after Christmas and I can't talk to her on the phone the way I used to, which was a few times a week when I was at boarding school and university, and every Saturday morning without fail when I lived in Charleston. I talk to her in other ways, though, remembering things mostly---like how we used to chant "hot chocolate, hot chocolate, hot chocolate" when we were walking home and it was cold out, willing ourselves to get back to the warm house more quickly. I do this still, involuntarily. But by the time I'm home, I've forgotten about it.

This morning, for the first time since I started walking to work, I remembered my gloves. I didn't wear them on the way there, but it was chilly on the way back, and I pulled them from my bag and slipped my fingers into them, amazed that I still had them, that I'd kept them safe for eight years, that someone else had kept them safe for even longer than that. I imagined my grandmother's hands inside them, all the places she'd worn them, all the things she'd done with them on, all the imagined cups of hot chocolate she'd used as incentive on the cold walk home. After a while, I got too warm and took them off again. You wouldn't have noticed I was crying. It was raining just enough.

Feb 28, 2007

I have my grandfather's tattered old beat-up sweater hanging in the back of my closet. He passed away almost ten years ago and so many of his things got distributed among his children and grandchildren. No one paid much attention to that sweater but it is what I picture him wearing so many years while sitting by the fire.
I am forever glad I have that sweater - just as I am that you have your grandmothers gloves.

Feb 28, 2007

My Dad passed away seven years ago last Thursday.

After he died all I wanted was his combs. They always had the smell of Brylcreem or what ever it was he combed thru his hair . . . even when most of it was long gone.

It took a few years but we finally got around to cleaning out his workshop. Being the more mechanically minded son - I got dibs on all his old tools. These were the tools that I would fetch for him as a young boy while he worked under the car, or behind the washer or on whatever thing around the house that needed his attention.

They are in my garage now and I think of him every time I rummage thru a drawer in the tool chest looking for something. I pick up a wrench and I know that he picked up that same wrench . . . and that as a young boy, and later as a young man this was a wrench that passed from my hand to his . . . and now it's been passed back to me.

Also, hanging in his workshop was a pair of denim overalls that he would wear when he was working - I got those too. They hang from a nail in the garage and occasionally I will slip them on when I've got something that needs my attention - just like he did.

I miss him . . .

University Update
Feb 28, 2007

I Carry Your Heart (I Carry It In My Heart)...


Feb 28, 2007

Lovely -- thank you for this entry. I also have little things from my grandparents, with whom I was very close. If you lived nearby, we could share tea and talk about it!

Feb 28, 2007

What a beautiful post.

I have my father's tartan robe. The same one he had before I was born (in 1966!). He died when I was 19 and that robe is my strange connection to his memory. Whenever I pull that ratty robe on, my mind fills up with wonderful thoughts.

Can't much wear it around outside though like your lovely gloves. One of my brothers has my dad's leather gloves. He used to wear them on his feet and pretend to be a gorilla. Good times....good times.

Feb 28, 2007

I have my grandfather's hat that he always wore every Sunday to church. I have it put away in a hat box because it's too hard to see it everyday. After church one day he took off his hat and taught me how to play one of his favorite games with dominoes.

To this day it is one of my favorite games but it pains me to play it.

Horrible Warning
Feb 28, 2007

When I first showed an interest in baking as a teenager, my grandmother gave me a set of her cake pans. I suspect they were a spare set, but they were hers. I won't bake a cake in anything else, and I am fiercely protective of them.

I have several items that graced my grandparents' home my entire childhood, including a bookcase my grandfather built, but she chose to give me those pans. They inspire me to try to make things that were as lovely as what she created.

She's been gone over 13 years now, and I'm nowhere near it. But I get a bittersweet joy from the effort.

Your grandmother sounds wonderful. I sure miss mine...

Feb 28, 2007

This was beautiful. Thank you for writing it. My grandfather is not doing well right now, but the last time I visited him, he noticed his late wife's engagement rings on my finger. He touched them with his hand and said, "Perfect."

And it is. I love carrying her with me.

Feb 28, 2007

I like that ... "Hot Chocolate, hot chocolate, hot chocolate". Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Feb 28, 2007

Brilliant post, Holly. The title is one of my favorite poems. I, too, have a pair of my granny's gloves. They are dress gloves and they are red! (For which I must always use an exclamation point because Red! Dress gloves!) I like to imagine her wearing them. I miss her and having them makes me feel better.

Feb 28, 2007

Now you got me crying... and I have no rain to cover it up.

Feb 28, 2007

I love the ee cummings reference.

My grandmother willed me all of her costume jewelry when she passed away. What I got was three large Hefty bags full of tangled necklaces, loose pendants, and watches with no batteries.

What I do is wear at least one piece every day. I look down at the flash of sun on metal, and there she is.

Feb 28, 2007

Lovely, lovely, lovely post.

Feb 28, 2007

And this is why I never throw anything away. Some day, my future grandchildren will put on, or work with, or gaze at something that belonged to me and they will smile a little smile or even cry a little tear.
Your grandmother will always be with you, God bless her.

Feb 28, 2007

That was the sweetest, truest entry...
You made me cry at work.

Feb 28, 2007

That was such a sweet post. We must have grandparents on the mind because my last post mentions my grandfather, and how he used to always ask me to show him my ballet steps when I was a little girl. I was always too shy to dance for him. And then he died when I was 9. And I always regretted not dancing for him, especially when I found out later in life how much he loved ballet. Your story makes me think of my mother, and how she has so many good similar memories of her grandmother. Aren't families awesome?

Feb 28, 2007

Beautiful. Just... beautiful.

Feb 28, 2007

Ack! Okay, I just went back and read everybody's comments, and now I'M crying at work. All your stories are so sad yet beautiful and nostalgic. Thanks for sharing!

(Now I need to go home and convince my hubby that we should have kids so that one day I can have grandkids....lol)

Feb 28, 2007

That reminds me of the music box my grandfather gave me almost 15 years ago. He bought it at a yard sale for $2 and it had a old map decoupaged on the top. I can't listen to it without crying.

Feb 28, 2007

Thank you so much for writing this. I miss my grandmother a lot, little things will make me think of her. I still have the stuffed panda she gave me when I was 7. Granted, he's been unstuffed and is hanging in my shower waiting for me to fatten him up again but I still have him.

Feb 28, 2007

My great aunt passed away last Friday early morning. She had a lovely, full life of 94 years, and she was ready to go. But damn, I miss her. I miss her just like this.

Renee in GA
Feb 28, 2007

My Dad died 11 years ago, but I still wear some of his socks. Some are threadbare but all are soft and I will never, ever get rid of them.

notsoccer mom
Feb 28, 2007

yup, i have "things" that remind me of my late mom, grandma, boyfriend. sometimes it's good to remember them, to be with them for a little while.

great post.

Feb 28, 2007

Love the post, the cummings reference, the "hot chocolate" chanting.

i can imagine you and your grandmother, walking along together, chanting it together. It's so human and so beautiful at the same time.

i'm glad you've never lost these gloves.

Feb 28, 2007

You are just the sweetest granddaughter, so considerate, and you're absolutely making me feel guilty indeed. I think about my grandma when I walk outside on a windy day, and how she always would worry about that when I was a kid, and make me wear one of her scarves tied around my head.

As for "i carry your heart with me" - did you know that there is an absolutely gorgeous John Duke arrangement of the poem? I sang it in college, and we had it at our wedding. Just for future reference. :)

Feb 28, 2007

Aw HOlly!!!!!! *tearing up*

I wear a ring of my mother's most days...I twirl it and twirl it around my finger and long for her laughter and hugs, but most days I don't cry...until I read this post!

Mar 01, 2007

That was beautiful. I wish I had something like that, something passed down and loved, or at least used, for years; but still serviceable.

Mar 01, 2007

This is my all time favorite poem.

Your post also made me think about my grandmothers, both of whom I didn't appreciate enough when they were alive, but think of so often years after they've gone.

Mar 01, 2007

Beautiful post. Thank you. I have a set of set of old measuring spoons and a set of tin measuring cups that belonged to my grandmother. I treasure them, and use them all the time.

Saucepan Man
Mar 01, 2007

Warn me when you're going to write something like that. I had a job getting through it and had to tell people at work my cold had come back...

Mar 01, 2007

That was beautiful.

I have many of my grandmothers items and just looking at them sometimes is like a reassuring hug from her. Cheesy, I know, but true.

Never doubt for a moment, Holly, that of all her grandchildren, you are the one. She saw you even before I did.

Mar 01, 2007

I wear my grandmother's gloves, too!

She was a pip. Once, when she was in the rehab center, her friend said, "Look, your stockings have run."

Nana's reply: "They wouldn't dare!"

- M

Wacky Mommy
Mar 02, 2007

That is my favorite ee cummings poem, and my favorite post by you, ever.

Mar 02, 2007

Beautiful, glorious, brilliant post.

And your mother's comment? Started the tears all over again.

Mar 03, 2007

I have the matching suitcases that my grandmother took with her, on her first ever flight, to Israel to meet my newborn brother in 1977. I think of her and wonder what she wore on the plane ride every time I use them.
I love reading your blog, by the way. I just started one but, Jesus!, it's more difficult then I thought it would be!

Mar 05, 2007

Beautiful, Holly.

Sarah Marie
Mar 06, 2007

Awww, don'tcha just love grandmas? Beautiful post. My grandma's 80th was last week...I miss her! She's got love in her hands.

Mar 08, 2007

Lovely. Just… lovely.

Mar 12, 2007

That was just beautiful.
I think of my Grandma when I have a cup of tea - made in Grandma's silver teapot.