Ellen was a 400-pound life-long diabetic that I met while driving a cab. She used to call me on my cell phone when she needed a ride. She never learned to drive.
She had just retired when I met her, since her job as a data-entry clerk had just been eliminated. The company thought it easier to retire her than retrain her. Besides, she had accumulated a quarter of a million dollars.
Her father, she told me, had been a baker out of Chicago. She once mentioned Al Capone had come into the bakery one day and Ellen’s father had waited on him. “I still have the watch he was wearing when my father waited on him,” she told me.
One day Ellen called me from the hospital. She was in ICU. The doctors pumped about 150 pounds of water out of her.
She thought she’d been suffering from congestive heart failure, but her relatives told me it was because her kidneys had gone out. I knew that sometimes diabetics lost their legs, but at that time I didn’t know so many of them suffered from kidney failure.
The family never told Ellen about her kidneys. It wouldn’t have done any good. No doctor is going to do a kidney transplant on a 50-year-old 250-pound life-long diabetic that just had 150 pounds of water pumped out of her, even if she did have a quarter of a million dollars.
She lasted maybe ten days.
I had a key to her house, so I went over there and took some of the stuff. She was going to change her will and put me in it, but died before she could do anything, so I figured she probably wanted to clean her house out and take some things.
To my surprise I found her father’s watch – broken, corroded, with no band. I had it appraised at a watch shop. It wasn’t worth anything, even if it was from the 1930s.
I had him send it out to be fixed. It cost $150 and came back as good as new. I didn’t want to keep it, since it felt odd to be wearing Ellen’s father’s watch.
I sold it to a store than specialized in old watches. He gave me $75 for it and told me it would sell for $150. I told him the Al Capone story.
Whoever bought that watch is three people removed from Al Capone. He does not know that. He does not know the original owner of the watch saw Al Copone. Neither does he know that watch saw Al Capone.
I’m sure the jeweler has forgotten the story. I was the only one who knew the story of the watch, except now you know it, too.