When I was growing up, there were treasures in my mother's dresser...treasures I was allowed to look at but not to touch. Most of them were kept in a little six-drawer (three on each side) box made of sturdy red cardboard. That's where Mom kept her jewelry and a few keepsakes.
Obviously, a cardboard jewelry box wasn't likely to contain anything but costume jewelry, but there was one item in that box that occupied my thoughts more than any other. That was a gold pocket watch.
If I ever heard the story of the pocket watch, I've long since forgotten it; and there is no one left from that generation who could now shed light on it. Engraved on one of the covers inside the watch are the initials "M E." I can't think of anyone in my mom's family with those initials. Mom's father was a railroader, and these watches were often carried by railroaders; but those aren't his initials.
Anyway, when my mother died, the watch passed to me.
|This is the front of the watch. A push on the winding knob on the top flips this cover open to reveal the watch face.|
|This is the back of the watch. The design on the back is slightly different from that on the front.|
|The watch face. (Please excuse the dust.)|
|This is the inside of the back cover, showing the serial number and logo of the case's manufacturer. There is other information on there, too, that looks as if it was scratched on by hand. But it's hard to make out, and I have no idea what it means.|
|After opening the cover that has the initials on it, you find the case's serial number repeated, as well as the name of the case's manufacturer and his guarantee. This is on the flip side of the initials.|
|This is the watch's movement, appearing just opposite the case manufacturer's guarantee. The name of the manufacturer and the watch's serial number (different from the case's manufacturer and serial number) are imprinted on the movement.|
Now, can you see why this watch held such fascination for me as a little girl? It really hasn't lost any of its fascination as I've gotten older, either.
As I was preparing this post, I looked up the Hampden Watch Company in Canton, Ohio. It appears, according to the serial number of the watch, that it was manufactured in 1908. It's still in good working order, with no damages except for some scratches. I haven't observed it enough to know if it keeps accurate time, though.
My dad once bought me a chain for the watch, so that I could wear it as a pendant; but I just never felt comfortable doing that. So it remains in my jewelry box, where I pick it up and admire it from time to time and wonder what stories it could tell if it could talk. I'll probably never know.