Four Generations: Walter Davis (Photograph), Brenda Watson, Gregbo Watson, and Bret Watson.
I was fortunate enough to be asked by the fifth grade teachers at my child’s school to speak to their classes about World War II. Why was I asked? My grandfather happened to be a German Prisoner of War. He was an amazing man that added so much to my life. Aside from being a loving grandfather, he was a phenomenal storyteller. Whenever I’m feeling low on creativity, I fondly remember how he could always imagine a story on demand, despite being tired from work, etc. Each story and every character was made up on the spot just to entertain me. His imagination was staggering.
The year before my son came into this world, my dear grandfather left it. My son would never have the chance to meet him, but would bear his name throughout his life. I’ve often tried to retell those whimsical stories in an effort to give my son a sense of the wonder my grandfather instilled in me. Even as a working creative, I feel I fell short. No one could tell those stories like the master himself. I was hoping that these stories would instill some type of bond between my son and my grandfather since they never met.
The bond happened naturally and in a far more magical way then I ever dreamed of. You see as part of my presentation, my grandmother loaned me my grandfathers POW flag. It was presented to him during a ceremony at Shaw Air Force base a few years before he died. It was ceremoniously folded by U.S. soldiers and handed to my grandmother “on behalf of a proud and grateful nation
“. The only time it was unfolded again during my grandfather’s lifetime, was about a week before he passed. He unfolded it, admired it, and then ceremoniously refolded it by himself.
Bret and Gregbo Watson unfolding the flag.
During my presentation for my son’s class, I called my son up and asked him to be the one to unfold it. I have never seen him take anything so seriously. Out of the blue it hit me, the bond I wanted so desperately between these two very important people in my life was actually happening right before my eyes. The master was telling a story again; Across time, death, and generations. I have often times been saddened by the fact that these two would never meet. How wrong I was. My son and my grandfather were able to shake hands through the generations!