I’ve Got My Father’s Longines


My father, Bob (1927), and Harriet’s father, Joe (1926), were born a year apart. They both served in the Pacific in World War II. They both went to college on the GI bill that paid their way. They both married, led professional lives, and raised families—Bob in Buffalo and Joe in Brooklyn. They both lived into their eighties.

They also had almost identical Longines wristwatches from the same era in the 1950s. I remember my father’s watch with its gold, stretchy band. The face with no numbers. The tiny seconds hand. He wore that watch every day. At night he kept it on a tray on top of his dresser with other odds and ends, and sometimes I picked it up and held it in my hands and stretched the band.

Years later, I ended up with my dad’s watch, and Harriet had her dad’s. It was her idea to get her father’s Longines repaired. She took it to a jeweler, got it back in working order, and chose a new black leather strap for it. She wore the watch for a while and it looked fine on her wrist, but somehow Owen got hold of that watch and now he’s the one wearing his grandfather’s timepiece.

I decided to do the same with my dad’s Longines. I had it repaired, but I kept the original gold, stretchy band. Usually I don’t wear a watch, and if I do, it’s one of those smart jobs that tracks my steps, times my runs, and offers a plethora of other unnecessary data.

Bob Klein wore his Longines even when playing tennis (1970s).

Now I’ve started wearing my dad’s Longines at times. There’s no backlight—you can’t read it in the dark. There are no beeps or reminders. It’s more a piece of jewelry than a timekeeping tool. It’s a little fancier than my minimalist style, but I like it. I feel more connected to my father. Every time I put it on I can keep him with me for just a few more minutes, a few more seconds.

By David Klein

David Klein

Published novelist, creative writer, journalist, avid reader, discriminating screen watcher.


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