Goldie Watts would literally give you the coat off her back.
Four years after a woman admired her tweed coat at a funeral in Rocky Harbour, Watts wants to find the admirer so she can send the coat to her.
Watts lives in Toronto, but she visited Newfoundland for her late friend Myra Simms’ funeral, held on Oct. 12, 2015 at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church.
While at the funeral, a woman told her twice that she loved her coat, Watts said.
“She was like a little kid on Christmas morning, she was so enthusiastic about the coat,” said Watts.
The 71-year-old said she has been downsizing in recent years.
“I was going through my closet, and I thought, oh my God, I never wear this coat. And I was thinking about that woman, and I kept thinking, why didn’t I give the woman that coat? It’s just sitting there. I have four coats. How many coats do I need?
“We all have too much stuff when we’re younger and as you get older you kind of say, ‘OK, I haven’t used this for years, it really needs to go to someone.’”
Watts said in the last five years she’s given away 80 per cent of her possessions, most often giving clothing to her friends.
“There’s a joke, ‘Where’d you get that?' 'Goldie’s store,’” she laughed.
Watts said this particular coat was made from a tweed fabric she noticed one day while picking out material to recover a couple of chairs. She had it made by a tailor about seven years ago, but it still looks brand new.
Watts would like to mail the coat to the woman who admired it four years ago.
“I’d just say, ‘Thanks for admiring the coat – I hope you enjoy it,’” she said.
‘Something wonderful about Newfoundlanders’
Watts’ decision to try to find the mystery woman doesn’t surprise the daughter of the late Myra Simms.
“Goldie is a force,” Corinna Simms said.
Corinna said she doesn’t know her mother’s old friend very well, except that her mother would often talk about her friend Goldie who she met when she lived in Toronto as a young adult.
Watts said she felt Myra was like a sister.
“She was family to me. She was alone in Toronto. She was at our house every single day. Every day she came up, and she used to call my mom ‘Mom.’”
“There’s just something wonderful about Newfoundlanders. I don’t know, I think it’s the warmth and the simplicity of people. I don’t mean simplicity as they’re stupid or whatever because definitely not, but there’s this beautiful simplicity.
“I think that’s why Myra and I were really good friends. She was not pretentious. She was down-to-earth – that’s what it is. And when I talked to anyone that I met that day at her funeral, there’s this wonderful warmth that comes from people.”
Myra moved back to Newfoundland after a few years in Toronto, but she kept in touch with Watts for close to 50 years, until her death at age 68.
Corinna estimated there were about 50 to 60 women at the funeral, and most of them likely live in the areas of Bonne Bay, St. Anthony or Pasadena.
She said her family thinks it’s “quite nice” and “sweet” that Watts would like to send the coat to whoever liked it.
“It’s probably something my mother would have done, frankly. I wouldn’t be surprised, they had that quirkiness in common.
“Mom would probably not have gone to the extreme of calling (The Telegram), but she would have been on Facebook and saying, ‘Who was it that wanted this coat?’ She would want to give it away because it would make her feel good.
“I can certainly see Mom doing that. Maybe that’s why Goldie’s doing it.”
If you are the woman who admired Watts’ coat, email firstname.lastname@example.org.