My “Heart Throbs” for You!

The Old Scrapbook
The Old Scrapbook

Years ago, my first employment right out of college was as a recreation director for a faith based nursing and assisted living ministry.

I had my own office and thought I had reached the pinnacle of employment success. My responsibilities included programming all the activities for 40 nursing wing patients and 40 residents. Meals for them were all provided, meds dispensed, oh and by the way, they were all women.

The average age was 85. It was a challenge to do activities planning with seniors of such limited physical movement. So I planned birthday parties of the month, brought in entertainment, utilized my piano playing skills (yes mom and dad, this did pay off!) and even brought in dogs through an organization that catered to the elderly.

But my absolute favorite activity was Poetry Corner. At first, I had a large turnout but gradually the numbers dwindled. Soon, it was just me and Constance. I loved Constance. She was in her mid 80’s and had alot of spunk. She also had a chaise lounge in her room that I loved. I’ve had a fondness for them ever since! One of these days, I’m going to have myself a chaise lounge.

Constance loved poetry and instilled in me an even greater love of classical poetry. She had two “Heart Throbs” books and we read from them over and over again. If you’ve never heard of them, here is what the inside foreword had to say about volume two: “Following the first announcement of “Heart Throbs” six years ago has come the most fascinating experience ever allotted to publishers. This book, containing 840 selections made from the contributions of 52,000 people, has become a classic in thousands of homes and libraries. The simple bringing together of the favorite selections of the people has far transcended the results of any mere literary or editorial compilations.”

I grew so fond of the books that when I left my employment at the home, I asked Constance if I could have them. She said YES.

Since then, life, marriage, children have all taken precedence. I’ve not looked at the books much but I do bring them out every Valentine’s Day. I happened to think of Constance recently and my heart did a leap. Her face came into perfect view and I can remember her just like it was yesterday.

In honor of Constance, here is one of my favorite poems:

The Arrow and the Song

I shot an arrow into the air

It fell to earth, I knew not where;

For, so swiftly it flew, the sight

Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,

It fell to earth, I knew not where;

For who has sight so keen and strong,

That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak

I found the arrow, still unbroke;

And the song, from beginning to end,

I found again in the heart of a friend.

Henry W. Longfellow

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Join me on my graceful journey.
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19 Replies to “My “Heart Throbs” for You!”

  1. Awesome post! As you may or may not remember, Valentines Day is Jeremy’s birthday, so for the past 28 years, the day has been all about him.
    I, too made a good friend over a book! I was working at Walmart, in the deli when I hurt my neck. They put me at the stupid self check outs where I would wave my magic card when the lights went blinky blinky, and all was right with the checkout again! It was boring to say the least. I took it upon myself to help bag the items and I noticed one customer was buying a book I was reading at the time. Little did I know that encounter would spark a great friendship and the customer turned out to be an author herself! She hired me to edit her books and recommended me to other authors. I just love her dearly and I really enjoy her work! She writes under the names of Alisha Paige, Ruby Vines and Wolfgang Pie. The latter being her children’s books pen name.
    Happy Valentines Day to you and Jim!

    1. Wow, that encounter at Walmart was quite the catalyst! I love your story Cathy, and am looking forward to the day when you will edit my first book! I feel that day coming closer and closer.
      Happy Birthday to Jeremy and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! xo Joanne

  2. I LOVE this, Joanne, for several reasons. First, one of my mom’s dear friends (she died the year after my dad, so it was a very sad time) had a copy of HEART THROBS…and she also had a chaise lounge in the garden room of her house…and I used to ‘recline’ like a lovely young lady and read aloud from it!!!

    Second, though, is the kindness and care and assistance you gave to the women in the center where you first worked. You did a wonderful job and gave them a beautiful gift. As the daughter of a mother with dementia–and caregivers who are kind and helpful and happy with her–I cannot stress strongly enough how important this is and how grateful it makes me. On behalf of all those who treasured your loving attitude and care, I thank you.

    1. Marylin, I read your comment and got a bit teary eyed over it. I never thought about my time at the home as a gift and you are right. Perhaps I brought some joy to the women there but truly, it was my life that was changed by it all.
      Isn’t it ironic that you read Heart Throbs aloud from a chaise lounge?!! I bet my friend Constance would have a big smile on her face just hearing about that!
      Blessings to you on this Valentine’s Day, Joanne

      1. That’s an interesting selection on ebay. I suppose the first lot of Chicken Soup for the Soul books might be our generation’s equivalent of Heart Throbs. It was obviously a very successful idea in its time.

  3. Such a perfectly sweet story, Joanne. Oh, and I love Longfellow. I have a book of all his poems and sagas. He was a magnificent talent, and a standup man.

    I hope your Valentine’s Day was nice.

    Blessings, Marianne xo

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