Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Benito C. Cook

My grandfather was Benito C. Cook. He was from Concepción del Uruguay, Entre Ríos, Argentina. He died before I was born. Many people talked to me about my grandfather. There’s a street with his name in Concepción del Uruguay and a monument in his honor. He was a doctor and he had a sign outside his office that said: “Los Pobres, Gratis”. It means that poor people could be seen for free. He had a vase in the waiting room where people were depositing the fee for the visit if they could afford it. But if they were poor and needed money for the medicine, they were allowed to take money from the same vase. My father was the youngest of his children. His daughter Eloisa contracted Meningitis when she was 8 years old and she died. My grandfather got very depressed and they moved to Buenos Aires in 1910. The people of Concepción de Uruguay gave him a big book with their signatures and messages of gratitude. That book is in my father’s house. They collected money among all the people in the town to give him a present, and they bought him a watch, Patek Philippe, where they engraved this inscription: ”El Pueblo al Dr. Benito Cook, Filantropía y Abnegación Abril 19, 1910, Concepción del Uruguay”
“The Village to Dr. Benito Cook, philanthropy and abnegation, April 19th, 1910”

After my grandfather died, the watch was in the house of my uncle Julio. When Julio died, his wife Coleta, instead of giving it to my father, donated it to the local school, where my grandfather used to teach. It was there for many years until it was stolen apparently. Recently I found this website that says that the watch of my grandfather was auctioned by Christies:

I contacted Christies but they cannot give me information about the buyers. Whoever has that watch has no idea who my grandfather was and why that inscription is in there.

I would like for the person who owns his watch now to know the extraordinary life of my grandfather, and that I have the missing case for the watch.