When “heirlooms” aren’t identified, and their stories never told, then they often become items that are tossed or sold – as they have no history, no ties to the family. So take the time to identify your family heirlooms history and memories so your treasures aren’t tossed in the trash. They are just as valuable as your family photographs and also need to be documented. Sometimes it’s not even the value of the item in question; it’s the story which holds the value.
Friday Night Family Heirlooms: telling their stories…
Granddaddy Bryan’s Pocket Watch
Granddaddy’s watch was manufactured by The Waltham Watch Co. in Waltham, Massachusetts; he always called it a railroad watch as it was open-faced. The company began in 1850 in Roxbury, but later moved to Waltham where they remained until late 1950’s when they closed their doors.
I saw this watch often as a young girl following around behind my grandfather Paul Pinkney Bryan. Whenever he wanted to know the time, out it came from his bib overalls. You could always see his watch chain hanging near one of the pockets – and you knew his favorite watch was tucked inside. Granddaddy was never without a watch, and through the years he had several, but I believe this was one of his last ones he had for a long time.
Granddaddy was always a watch man, he probably didn’t consider himself dressed unless he had his pocket watch in one of the pockets – either his pants or overalls. I remember it being more in his overalls and specifically the ones marked Pointer. That was the name brand that he was partial to and when he had his watch tucked inside a pocket – he was dressed!
Whenever granddaddy was headed somewhere, you’d see him tug out the watch and check the time. I could be sitting next to him waiting for Grandmama to call us for Sunday dinner, but before she’d call, he’d would pull out the watch. He was a man that ran on time, and probably his inner-self was telling him it was dinner time – but he had to double check with his watch to see if it really “was time.”
Funny how some people are watch wearers- I never was. I tried wearing a watch at work, but then I’d stop and still look at the clock on the wall – never the watch on my wrist. My father also always wore a watch every day, it was a part of his regular dress wear.
One of the last times I visited granddaddy, I remember sitting next to him on the couch and he pulled out this watch – I looked over at it and said to him, “I really like that watch.” A few months later I received a package from my father with a note – “granddaddy gave me this watch to send you, he said you liked it and he wanted you to have it.” It touched me so much that he gave me his last watch he’d worn for many years.It brings back many good memories every time I look at it.
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© 2016 Jeanne Bryan Insalaco