Bonus Song, ‘A Wooden Heart’

I was absent-mindedly whistling this song today, not knowing the title or any of the lyrics. My step-grandfather, John, who’d been a merchant seaman for much of his life, and was born and raised in Holland, used to play this on his harmonica. Once his brother Jacob came across the Atlantic and they played this as a duet at a family gathering. Something about the tune clung to my heart for all these years.

I never expected to hear it again, but as I whistled it, Patty exclaimed, “Oh! ‘A Wooden Heart.'” And she sang a few bars of it in German. It’s a German folk song, although John and Jacob probably knew it in Dutch.

John was a good man and he had some great stories of the sea… and I miss him. I miss them all.

But I’m sure they know this song in Heaven, and I hope to hear it there–on John’s harmonica.

6 comments on “Bonus Song, ‘A Wooden Heart’

  1. O, what fun! I remember this one now that I hear it again. My husband was of German descent, and served in the army stationed in Germany,
    learned some of the language, and for a while, I studied a bit of German myself. I like some of their oompapa tunes.

    1. My mother’s family was all German, and they all spoke it fluently (although they were all born here in America). I got a lot of German lullabies sung to me when I was little.

  2. My husband has an old German beer stein with this lyric on it from his grandfather. I am learning German because my mom, who lives with us and has dementia, loves to speak Swiss German, as it was her first language. She threatens to drop English altogether at some point, so I need to keep up with her! She still remembers the old memories, so she remembers and loves this song.

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