If you have not read part 1 of this story then you can find this here.
It’s a strange feeling when you walk into a house that used to be full of life and laughter and is now an empty shell filled with stuff. Some weeks had passed and my sisters and I had offered to help clear my Grandad’s house. My Dad and my three uncles had arrived and they were keen to get started. We weren’t really sure what to do or where to start so, feeling a little awkward, I decided to go through one of the boxes that had been placed on the table.
Whilst things were being sorted there was a lot a conversation and stories about Grandad. Lots of laughing and joking as my Dad and uncles reminisced about their past. It was then that I came across a photo that I had remembered my Grandad showing me. There he stood with four other men in the black and white image, he was approximately 20 years old. Just as I paused to look at the picture my Dad came over.
“Is it just paperwork and photos in that box?” he asked.
“It seems to be,” Still clutching the photo I glanced round to see him looking a little stressed. “Why are you looking for something?”
“Yes, a pocket watch. He left it to me in his will but I can’t find it anywhere. It has to be here somewhere.” My dad turned away to continue his search.
“A pocket watch? Grandad pawned it.” I spoke without thinking. It was strange that he should mention a pocket watch whilst I was looking at the photo.
“Don’t be silly, he wouldn’t have pawned it. He had no need to pawn anything.” His voice had an angry edge to it. I glanced back down at the photo before telling him Grandad’s story.
“Well the only pocket watch I remember Grandad talking about was the one that these men in the photo gave him.” I showed the photo to my Dad, hoping it would trigger the same memory it had for me. Surely Grandad had told him about it, but he looked at me blankly.
“I don’t even know who these people are or what they have to do with my pocket watch.” He looked at me obviously intrigued to know more. So I told him the story, the same way my Grandad had told it to me.
“Well, Grandad is about 20 in this photo. I don’t remember who he told me these people were by name or exactly what job they did but these are the people Grandad went to work for when he left school. He worked there for a few years and really enjoyed it and was really quite sad to leave. Obviously it wasn’t an option for him to stay, he was expected to go and fight in the war. When he left they gave him a pocket watch and it was engraved on the back. He did tell me what it said but I can’t remember now. It was his most prized possession at the time. They didn’t have much back then.”
“Well that’s the watch I’m looking for, it said in the will that it was engraved on the back. He can’t have pawned it we need to keep looking.” He was a little frustrated as he spoke.
“He definitely pawned the watch. There was a really good reason for it though. Grandad had to go away to fight, as did many others. However he was dating a woman at the time and he loved her immensely. She was the most wonderful woman he had met. She was funny and when she sang she had the voice of an angel. Apparently she had a very good chance of becoming a professional singer. Anyway, he decided that when he returned during leave he would propose to her but he had no money for a ring. There was no question about what he should do, after all, things had to be done properly back then. He took his prized pocket watch and sold it, using the money he received to buy an engagement ring. That woman was Grandma. I remember Grandma telling me that she had turned down the opportunity to have a professional singing career to marry Grandad because it wasn’t an option to do both then.” I looked at my Dad as I spoke but I felt he really wasn’t listening.
“Well it’s a lovely story I’m sure but it’s not f
inding the watch. It has to be here somewhere. I’ll look through these boxes now.” He took one of the boxes and started to rummage through.
I couldn’t believe that my Grandad hadn’t told his own sons this story. It’s a story I have shared with my own children because I feel it shows that material possessions really aren’t as important as family.
On that day I found an old photograph and remembered the memory attached to it. However, we never did find the pocket watch.
Prompt: write about finding something
Twist: if you wrote day four’s post as the first in a series, use this one as the second installment