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Not a Bus Story: My Father’s Gloves

February 10, 2011

My gloves are my father’s. He wore them for driving mostly, and then predominantly for the affectation rather than warmth.  California winters didn’t often necessitate gloves. They are soft brown leather with a nice warm lining.  They fit snugly.  There is something comforting about feeling like my hands are the same size as my dad’s.  My father had the hands of a doctor.  Which made sense since he was a doctor.  He was a psychiatrist.  My earliest memories of learning about what a psychiatrist was involve my father emphasizing that he was a medical doctor; he went to medical school, did a residency, and then, instead of treating the bodies of patients, he treated their minds, their psyche.  It took me a long time to really understand it, and for a good part of my younger years, dad’s work was very mysterious.

There has always been something about wearing gloves for me that is transformative.  When I was little, donning a pair of gloves meant becoming someone else: a secret agent who couldn’t leave fingerprints, an ambassador from a distant land dressed up for a royal coronation, or a superhero.  Superheroes always had gloves as part of their costumes.  For some, the gloves themselves had powers.  It often seemed that, as a hero would suit-up, the gloves would be the last item and right as they pulled them on, they would be ready for action.

The idea of donning a costume was with me the other day as I headed out the door, into a chilly winter morning and pulled on my father’s gloves.   I wondered if I could now somehow reach into people’s minds and pluck out their inner turmoil, squish it together like so much Play-doh, and make some Bakelite kitchenware out of it.  Or perhaps, with a touch of my gloved hands, I could guide someone off the path they were traveling towards deception and cruelty and onto one of peace and beneficence towards others.  Or maybe, time itself was now within my grasp, and with a gesture, I could move myself forward into an era of energy-gathering sidewalks and personal teleportation devices or backward into the Age of Enlightenment.

Instead, I arrived at my bus stop with warm hands.  I don’t think it’s too much to think my father did many of these remarkable things and left a hint of that power in his gloves. Maybe the inner turmoil of his patients was not turned into dishes, but they were able to better handle their issues.  He may not have immediately seen the effect of his guidance of other’s paths, but I have no doubt many moved away from the selfish and dark towards a brighter and better life.  Perhaps he could not move himself through time,  but when I wear his gloves, I traverse my memories of him and exist in the past, if only for a moment.  It’s not Doctor Who, but I still call it time travel.   My father’s gloves may not be magical or possess the keys to superhero powers, but they do keep my hands warm and fire up my imagination and that’s a pretty nice legacy to inherit.


From → Not Bus Stories

  1. Victoria permalink

    So beautifully written and so resonant…I have my Mother’s watch…

  2. Question: how did you come to possess your father’s gloves? Were they given to you, or did you request them? I don’t think I’ve worn one thing that my father has worn, unless you count the tuxedo in the attic that I wore as Groucho Marx one Halloween in Junior High. Boy, did I get reamed for that one.

    • When my father passed away, seven years ago as of the writing of this story, I was fortunate enough to receive his gloves as we were going through his things.

  3. Elizabeth permalink

    So glad you wrote about dad. I was hoping you would. What a wonderful reminder of him and his legacy. The most endearing aspects of him continue to live in his children and grandchildren. Knowing you have his gloves is a great comfort, somehow. Thanks for sharing!

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