Return to 4th Floor Contents 2012

Maggie Rainey-Smith

The legend of the lost watch

We always knew he’d been done. It was spoken of third hand. We never knew the exact details. His grandmother said he was found under a cabbage in the garden. His grandfather promised him something. Before he left for overseas, he stood next to his father at the bar. His father either didn’t hear him, or didn’t want to. It was while he was a POW that his grandfather died. The legend has it that he was left his grandfather’s watch in the will. But when he came home after four years, there was no watch. The government paid for him to become a builder. There wasn’t so much need now for blacksmiths. He’d lost a brother in the war, the brother his mother had kept.  Bastard in our house was the biggest insult of all. We tried it out in various ways, thinking it was a swear word and had our mouths washed out with soap. We all forgot about the watch and the will, until recently. The grandfather’s will was located in National Archives and could be requested for reading. This was the moment we’d been waiting for. I sat at a desk in a room full of strangers and read the will. There was no mention of my father and no watch to speak of. The money was divided equally between the grandfather’s legitimate children. I was glad my father was dead, and I didn’t have to tell him.

Permanent link to this article: