Updated at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 17. Heather found her mittens.
It’s not uncommon to see signs for missing items posted around Boston. But this week, Heather Sofield Kolbe posted signsfor something a little different: missing wool mittens.
“When I realized that I didn't have them — they just mean a lot to me, and I was just really devastated,” Sofield Kolbe told host Jeremy Siegel during the "What's On Tap" segment on GBH's Morning Edition.
After the segment aired, the missing mittens story made the rounds on social media. Sofield Kolbe told Siegel that on Wednesday, she got a call that someone had found her mittens. The woman lived in the neighborhood and had seen Sofield Kolbe’s posters.
At first, she had found just one mitten in the middle of street as she got off the T. After their conversation, she went back out and found the other one.
“She said it was all smushed and dirty and looked basically the same color as the concrete,” Sofield Kolbe said. “I don’t know that they’re in great shape, but it doesn’t matter, it’s so incredible to me that they turned up.”
“It’s like a mitten miracle,” Siegel said.
The Nordic-pattern wool mittens are both practical and sentimental. They were knitted by her sister and have kept her comfort during a hard time in her life. Sofield Kolbe said she is going through a “heartbreaking, devastating” divorce that is taking a toll on her young daughters. In addition, their home recently had a plumbing disaster and they had to move into temporary housing.
“There was something about these mittens that, like when I put them on, not only where they warm, but it was just something about the love of my family and my sister who made them for me,” she said.
So when these beloved mittens went missing, she felt bereft.
It all started when Sofield Kolbe, a resident of Malden, took her two young daughters to a friend’s house in Allston to bake cookies. Between leaving the friend's house and driving home, she lost track of her mittens. She suspects they may have fallen off the roof of her car.
When she realized she didn’t have them, she drove back to Allston. She searched the area and asked around, but had no luck. Then she enlisted the help of her 9-year-old daughter, who was also “really invested” in finding the mittens, to make posters for the neighborhood.
“I stuck them up everywhere until I ran out of tape,” Sofield Kolbe said. She added a $50 reward for help.
What would they do next? She talked to her older daughter (9 y/o) and they decided to make posters.— Jeremy Siegel (@jersiegel) February 16, 2022
Heather made the one in my first tweet.
Here's one her daughter made (with a great picture of her sad mom!) (5/9) pic.twitter.com/6g8JwK8xJT
Siegel enlisted his own social media networks to help Sofield Kolbe find her mittens.
“Seeing the sign, the love really does shine through,” he said. “It resonates with people. I feel like everybody sort of has something like this that they would really care about in that way.”
Sofield Kolbe said the experience of finding her mittens was “unexpectedly lovely” and is grateful for all of the strangers who helped her.
“Now there’s this whole extra layer of meaning,” Sofield Kolbe said. “I’m a pretty quiet person. And having this opportunity connect with people — it’s so surprising to me. I still feel a little but stunned that so many people cared about my mittens. It was like seeing this really beautiful side of people.”
Sofield Kolbe plans to pick up the mittens on Thursday.