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Attic Treasures: Telling Time
10/1/2001
An ancestor's watch may help you turn back the clock to see what life was like when it was still ticking.
Sometimes it's the little things our ancestors left behind that tell us something personal about them. My grandmother raised five children and all that's left are a few things that were important to her — a cookbook with her handwritten notations, a set of ceramic bowls and her watch. Since she died when I was a baby, the artifacts and family stories have provided me with a sense of knowing her. I can imagine her using the bowls and her cookbook to create some of the recipes my family still makes today, but it's her watch that tells me a story of her life before marriage and children.

What can you learn about an ancestor from one piece of her life? More than you think. Family heirlooms can help fill in the details of your ancestors' lives — that's what makes them "attic treasures."

By today's standards, a watch is an ordinary accessory. Most people own more than one and wear them as a coordinating piece of an outfit. But to previous generations, a watch was a treasured possession.

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