Marlene's watch died recently. I've been wearing it for the past few years, putting my own aside. Hers was special – because it was expensive, and it was engraved with her initials and date of her purchase, but most notably because it was hers. I checked into its repair and was told $1,200 would cover it, so...
Here's the back story. Marlene had always wanted to invest in the stock market, but Dad wasn't game for it. Family chatter had it that Uncle Don had made some serious money in his day on the blue chips and Marlene wanted in on that.
Years later, on her own then and independent, she revisited that dream and asked her son-in-law, my husband, Peter for advice. He had been interested himself, enough to see what was going on but without investments of his own, and the dot.com bubble was underway. "Amazon," he advised, "put some money in that." So she did, $10,000 – more than she should have risked probably, but they'd be watching and he wouldn't let her lose it, at least not all of it. They watched it then as it climbed higher than anyone expected, for 6 whole months – HOO HA! Then watchful Peter advised her to sell, which she did – begrudgingly. It climbed a bit more after that before it fell back to earth.
Mum walked away with $150,000 and one of the biggest thrills of her life. We likely got some of her winnings, I'm forgetting, which at the time would certainly have gone to Juliet's college fund. And Mum bought a $5,000 Rolex – the wristwatch of her dreams.
After she died I had it stored away with her things for a time, but its value, both monetary and sentimental, gnawed at me, so I made it my own. Admittedly it's super pretty, although with my aging eyesight it's hard to read the gold hands on its gold face (and that's the last time I'll admit to that). One year I even ponied up the $400 (annual?) maintenance required to keep it running right.
But lately it had been losing time and I now had a quandary I'm sure Marlene never intended. The jeweler pointed out logically that if I fixed it I'd have a $5,000 Rolex for $1,200 after all – hmm. So I asked Juliet how she felt about it. If she wanted I'd keep it going, for her and conceivably for Violet too.
"It's not something I would wear Mum," she responded, putting the matter finally to rest.
So I'm storing it back away with her things, that we'll take stock of from time to time and remember this story.
In its (her) honor, Windfall will be the name of my next knitwear design – currently underway. At least there's that.