My grandmother loved driving. She had a green Mini, the original one, ordered in London on a trip there. And even if she really needed glasses for the traffic, she was so proud to admit that she might be a driving danger.
I loved her driving gloves and being in the Mini with her. For me it was more of a toy car by that time. The gloves, made especially for her in natural yellow-gold leather and sewed by hand, represented an obvious symbol of independence for me, the kind of thing who made the 7 years old girl say “Weeeeell, when I’ll be big I’ll have the same”. Of course I wanted also her pearls, especially a beautiful grey two range necklace with an old and sophisticated clasp I never knew how to open.
One day, at the Sunday French lunch, when we always went at Grandma (and where children were not allowed to speak at table if an adult didn’t ask them), looking at her amazing pearls I asked quite determined “Omi, when you’ll die, may I have your necklace ?”.
There was a silence for a minute and conversation went back to more “grown up” kind of topics, and my “impudent question” was hid behind some laughters. Her surprise was cleverly disguised.
When she finally agreed that she couldn’t drive alone, the pair of gloves rested for a while in the drawer where she kept her fine handkerchiefs, embroided with her initials. I was about 12 years old when I received them for my birthday – it was unexpected and made a great impact on me, even if my hands were too small to fit in.
Today, after changing several countries, I still have them with me. And for sure I’ll have quite soon a green Mini to make good use of these gloves.