After Dad died, we had to clear his house and get it ready for sale. In doing so, I came across this little pouch.
As you can see, it was old, perished and dishevelled, and inside was it a broken Illinois pocket watch. The pouch and the watch very nearly ended up being disposed of, and at the last minute I decided to hold onto them. I made a few enquiries, and after parting with more money than the watch was worth, I had it fixed. It worked, after a fashion, ticking loudly and keeping time for several hours before needing winding up again.
When I learned that my proposal to speak at the 2013 Illinois State HR Conference had been accepted, I knew what I was taking with me as my timekeeper. An Illinois watch going home to Illinois, there was no other choice. The talk went well and I finished on time.
As I packed my bag for the journey home it dawned on me I hadn’t seen the watch for a while. In between carrying the watch around with me, I’d been keeping it in a particular place in my room and it was no longer there. I turned the room and my bag inside out and upside down twice. I unpacked and repacked everything. The watch was no longer in my room. I checked the bar area where we’d been the night before, I called the restaurant we visited and spoke with friends at the conference and the hotel reception, and asked people whose cars I’d travelled in to check for it. Nothing. The watch had disappeared. Despite having only had the watch in my possession for a short while, in that moment I felt sick at losing it. I wasn’t sure but I think it must have simply slipped out of my pocket at some stage. What a crappy way to end a fantastic trip you might think. For a while, I certainly did.
As I said my goodbyes and au revoirs to everyone I also set to reconciling my feelings about the watch. And it all boils down to this. Less than two years ago I didn’t know the watch existed. We lost Dad, I found a watch. I lost a watch, Illinois found a watch. Susan gave me a ride to the airport and I went home, happy that in a round about way, the watch had come home too.
My friend Vandy made an offer to paint pictures of precious artefacts for people, so I got in touch and she kindly painted a picture of the watch for me.