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.

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations. View all posts by leeduigon

6 responses to “Bonus Song, ‘A Wooden Heart’

  • Erlene Talbott

    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.

    • leeduigon

      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.

  • Erlene Talbott

    Lucky kid, you were.

  • Heidi

    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.

  • Heidi

    Mostly I have been listening to her sing it, but now I’ll have to give it a go!

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