A Watch

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

“Happy sixteenth birthday!” my father says while handing me a small white box. Inside was a gold watch which no longer worked, but still served a valuable purpose: it symbolized the past. This watch, now 65 years old, continues to represent the history of my paternal grandmother. Being born into a poor family in Uzbekistan, my grandmother spent her childhood clearing tables, washing dishes and mopping floors. One day, at the bazaar, she fell in love with a watch she saw but could not afford. Saving money every day, she had enough to buy the watch by the end of the year. When she finally purchased it, she was eighteen and ecstatic because it was the first piece of jewelry she ever bought.
My grandmother was wearing that watch when she met my grandfather in 1956 and when she walked out of John F. Kennedy Airport in 1995. The timepiece was a constant reminder that no matter what the future held for her, nothing could be as bad as the life of constant worry she had in Uzbekistan. 

On February 22, 2007 we discovered that my grandmother was no longer with us. As my father was cleaning out her apartment, he found her watch and remembered the strength and determination of his mother. This watch represents triumph against adversity. It is a family heirloom, and one day I will pass it down to my daughter while explaining the history behind it. 

Place(s): Uzbekistan
Year: 1995

– Mila Mirzakandova

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant