Great Grandfather's Wristwatch

In Attire

My object is my great-grandfather’s wristwatch. My mom and I found it at the bottom of one of the many boxes that were given to her by her father. The watch is at least ninety years old. It has a worn brown leather strap and a silver case with a gold clock face. As the story was told to me, my great-grandfather immigrated to America from Poland. He came through Ellis Island with this watch on his wrist. He arrived in America as Nathan Goldberg. He was concerned that his last name sounded too Jewish, so he changed it based on the first English words he saw: “Welcome to Ellis Island.” He then decided that “Ellis” was the perfect last name. The watch represents his immigration, which is an important event in my family history. He was an inventor and I identify with him in that I enjoy seeing how things work. For example, I completely deconstructed one of my grandfather’s camcorders, which seemed archaic to me, for no other reason than to understand how each of its parts functioned. This watch reminds my family to stay humble and to remember the journey that brought us to where we are today.

Place(s): Poland, Ellis Island, New York
Year: 1900

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Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more