One day, in the spring of 2006, after I had knit the first 8-10 Cozmeena Shawls, the kids and I were playing with polymer baking clay (Scuply, Fimo, Permol, Souffle).
The clay comes in small bricks about 2×3 inches in size and many colors that you bake at a low temperature to ‘cure’. The clay becomes hard and resilient. It is best for small, detailed sculptures.
Having received a small but amazing gift in the early days after the attacks at the WTC on 9/11, I decided to replicate the idea with a fun, new, light-hearted twist. The story below explains the genesis of the Cozmeena Pocket Heart®.
The Pocket Heart was born from a profound experience I had as a 9/11 widow. It is derived from a ’pocket-angel’ — a small coin-like metal with an embossed angel — given to me by a friend who had searched the wreckage at the WTC’s Ground Zero for my husband, Ted, in the first days that followed the attacks of September 11, 2001.
“On Friday of that week, a friend walked in, pulled his hand out of his pocket and said, ‘I went to Ground Zero looking for Teddy. I had this in my pocket when I was there. I want you to have it.’
All of a sudden I felt magically connected to the site. It was like I had been there too. With three small children at home and the chaos that ensued in the days, weeks and months that followed, Stanley’s gift allowed me to take the time I needed to get to Ground Zero myself, which I was able to do the night before it closed on May 30, 2002. It is the single most remarkable gift that I received throughout my 9/11 experience.”
The small, colorful clay hearts evolved some years later in 2006 when I was crafting with my children and decided to make Pocket Hearts because the pocket-angel had been so special. The morph from something serious to something whimsical is in memory of Teddy’s light-hearted love and playful spirit. Paying forward (or back!) the extraordinary kindnesses that have been shown to Jen, Billy, Timmy and me in the years following 9/11, the Pocket Heart is my way of sharing the love, with a small, random act of kindness, as I happily give them to friends and strangers as they cross my path each day. The Pocket Heart is a tangible metaphor and daily reminder of the wonder and beauty, the unparalleled love, support and kindness, the patriotism and unity, the foundational ‘good’ or God that followed the events of 9/11.
The lessons learned since Teddy’s death, along with my treatment for breast cancer in 2009, have brought me to a place of strength, understanding and emotional soundness that would never have occurred without these two life-changing events. These experiences have taught me that almost all traumatic, sad and/or frightening events include a certain beauty or ‘silver-lining’ that allows for incredible, personal growth if one can shift their perspective long enough to see it.
Roughly estimated, the number of Pocket Hearts distributed since Spring 2006 is approximately 25,000+ worldwide.