Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Maple Plain, Mn.
Likes Earned: 16
Likes Given: 14
The year was 1978. I was stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey. My first permanent duty assignment after joining the Army right out of high school. Even then, I understood the value of tradition, history, and legacy.
I was single. I didn't even have a steady girlfriend at the time (at 19 - who did?). But, I knew one day I would be married and knew I'd have kids. So, with that in mind. I purchased a pocket watch.
I bought it with the expressed purpose of one day - far in the future - handing it down to either my son or grandson.
It's a 17 jewel Swiss made pocket watch. I carried it the entire time I was in the army. It broke many years ago - I abused it pretty good. It would be thrown in a box or a drawer. Sometimes, never even looking at it for years.
Last year, my daughter asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I'd already moved to Texas. My kids would be staying in Iowa. I gave her my watch. "Fix this for me. That's all I want".
So, on Christmas, she gave me back my watch. 29 years after buying it, it was working once again. I've carried it since I've been in Texas.
This morning, I was unpacking from my trip to New Orleans, I realized I hadn't seen my pocket watch since I left New Orleans. The uncertainty quickly switched to panic - panic to fear - and fear to complete devastation. I'd lost my watch! 30 years invested - and my watch - which had been with me through so many things that define me wasn't where I thought it should be.
I felt my legs go weak under me. I've never felt so at a loss - so helpless. I can't go back in time to buy another one. I can't go back to NOLA to find it. What was I going to do? How could I face myself every morning?
I kept the watch in my watch pocket of my jeans (that lil pocket on top of the right front jeans pocket?). Wait- I'm MISSING a pair of jeans. Surely it's in those jeans. I called the hotel - maybe they found my jeans.
I finally found my missing pair of jeans - still in my car. The sigh of relief was quickly replaced with utter doom when there was no watch in the pocket.
I collapsed on the couch. I didn't want to believe my watch was gone.
I couldn't give up. I tore my back pack apart - I'd looked once, but maybe I over looked it.
Digging deep in the left pocket, the cold round metal touched my hand. My watch. The 30 years - lost for such a brief time - was once again in my hand.
For those brief 15 minutes - my life was no longer worth living. I know that sounds harsh and probably a bit melodramatic, but that's how I felt. Had I lost it in an accident or in a theft - I could have recovered - but to lose it in NOLA after 4 days of 'partying' - I couldn't have ever forgiven my self.
30 years lost - for a brief moment: That brief moment made me realize how dreadfully important my history is and how time doesn't repeat itself and we only get one time to do what we do.
I'm a composite of 30 years of time. The pocket watch represents my life. It's something I can't lose again and have to protect it as I do my life.