It all started with a watch box.
Actually, I guess it started with a watch collection, but it was reignited by the watch box.
I had no idea there was such a thing until my friend Sueann mentioned hers one night at cards. I was intrigued, so she showed me hers and, by the end of the evening, I’d sent my husband a link to the one I wanted for Christmas.
I stopped wearing a watch when I retired six-and-a-half years ago. When I worked, a watch was a wardrobe staple, but when I left my full-time career behind, I left a number of things — watches among them — behind as well. Part of being retired meant not having punch a clock, after all. Besides, if I really needed to know the time, I could do what my daughter does — check my phone.
Last year, I did a show for the first time in decades. One of my castmates, a friend ten years my junior, needed a watch as part of her costume. Like so many of us phone-bearing folks, she didn’t own one.
But I did. In fact, I had several — some of mine and some of my mother’s.
The show last year, the first I did after my mom passed away, was the first one I ever did that my mom wouldn’t attend. She had loved seeing me on stage, and I had loved knowing she was there. I couldn’t think of a better use for one of her watches than as a costume piece on stage.
After the show closed, I put the watches away — sort of. More accurately, I moved them from one spot to another as I tried to decide what to do with them. Store them? Wear them? Donate them?
And then I heard about the watch box. And got one for Christmas. The top section is like a little display case with space for five watches. Below, there are two drawers, where I can store other watches or, in my case, other jewelry.
For the last month, I’ve been replacing watch batteries one at a time. Today, I picked up the last accessory in this round of refurbishing — a black watch band. As I type this, I’m wearing one of my mom’s watches with a fresh, new, black band. When I told the jewelry store owner I’d made a New Year’s resolution to start wearing watches again, he joked that I should buy a new one.
Clearly, he’s missing the point.
This time around, I’m seeing my watches as more of a fashion statement and less of a necessity. The habit of wearing them is so new that, some days, I still reach for my phone to check the time before remembering I have it right there on my wrist.
Most of the time, our things drive our need for organizers, whether they’re watch boxes, file bins or three-ring binders. But sometimes, feeling the need to organize something brings to light its significance. I didn’t want to just put those watches away, something I probably should have figured out as I moved them from one spot to another for quite literally months. I wanted them to be functional, fashionable and, especially in the case of my mom’s watches, well-cared for, but it wasn’t until the watch box that I figured all of that out.
Is this a phase? I don’t think so. One day a few weeks ago, I canceled my class due to snow and, when I got dressed for a leisurely day at home, I made it a point to put on a watch. I had no pressing engagements, no need to accessorize and no dearth of electronics on hand to tell me the time.
I just wanted to wear a watch.
Copyright 2019 Lisa Hess