• Debra McInvale

My Grandmother's Gloves


Hand painted porcelain plate by Carrie Jim O'Neal. Verse from her poem "The Master Designer", 1975.

[Today’s post begins a series on heritage – what we have inherited from our predecessors and what legacy we might pass on to those who come after us. In each post, I would like to share family memories that have had a lasting impact for me.]


I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice.

2 Timothy 1:5 ESV


The gloves are long, black leather. Soft and well-worn. For small hands. They are too small for me, yet I could never fill them. They belonged to my grandmother, mom’s mom. Carrie Jim. My brother and I called her Mamoo, but don’t ask me why because I have no clue. She was one special lady.


Everyone but us called her “Jim,” which seemed strange to me. Evidently, as the 7th daughter of 9, her dad gave up and decided at least two of the girls should be named after the men in the family. Hence, she was named after her Uncle Jim and one sister was named after dad himself, William Frank. Wouldn’t you know, a 10th child came along, finally a boy, and had to be named after grandpa.


But back to the gloves. I have contemplated how I might use them since I cannot comfortably wear them. Maybe they could be used in the studio as a prop, to show off my hand-made jewelry? Or maybe I could use them in an art project of some kind? I can’t decide. Probably I will simply cherish them for the memories they bring to my heart. Soft hands, attached to arms, who excelled in hugging me.


At my grandmother’s funeral, her niece Roslyn talked to me about the special memories she had of her. They had attended church together, been a part of the same Bible study class, and were together often as family. She remembered Mamoo as a woman who knew her Bible well, who thoroughly enjoyed their studies, and who was funny. Funny?! I don’t ever remember her being funny! She was simply my grandmother: the one who made me go to bed on time and mind my manners, who fed me only healthy meals and never offered junk food. She was an old lady who dearly loved me and who I dearly loved. Period.

I really was jealous of Roslyn that day. She knew my grandmother as – well, a person - a woman in her own right. I knew her only as my grandmother. I was an adult when she died, but I never perceived her as anyone other than my grandmother. In my mind, I had stuck her in a one-dimensional role and wouldn’t let her out. And I am the poorer for it because I know she could have taught me so much more.


I do know these two things about her, however, and each, besides the love, are the great legacy she left to me.


  • She loved her Lord. She was faithful to Him all her life. I clearly remember she and my grandfather, sitting at their breakfast table, Bible open and prayer on their lips. I have her Bible and her notes, carefully and lightly penciled on the precious pages. The legacy of her faith is invaluable and life-giving to me.


  • She was a wordsmith. She wrote memories of her own life so we could cherish the inheritance passed on down to us through generations. And she wrote poetry. Some of her poetry is meaningful and some is plain silly. She once wrote an ode to her typewriter (manual of course); so I wrote a poem back to her typewriter (computer of course).


The inheritance she left me is priceless: faith and words. With just a tad of china painting thrown in for good measure. I am blessed.


As I live now, I am striving to fill her gloves, to measure up to the legacy she left me with the inheritance I leave for my family. Some days I think its working, other days?

I just wish I could actually wear those gloves.


Hugs and Blessings,



Dear Lord Jesus, I come to you with a thankful heart, thankful for the great heritage of living faith left to me by my grandmother. I pray that I will leave such a heritage of faith to my son and to all who walk through this life beside me. Amen.

A CHALLENGE TO PRAYERFULLY CONSIDER


What legacy are you building now by the way you are living your days?

Think about this. Add your thoughts to the blog comments if you are willing to share. We all need fresh inspiration, but we need cautions as well. Legacies can be both positive and negative!


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