Saturday, December 11, 2010


It always sat on a shelf in the corner and marked the passage of time.

When Grandma put me to bed on her couch in the living room 
with the crocheted pillows and a patchwork quilt...

…I would lie awake in the dim light and listen to its steady ticking.

Grandma and Grandpa were often my babysitters

 …so I was there when the clock was opened for its weekly winding

 …with the big brass key.

Even then the hourly chiming was erratic.
Grandma said it rang twenty times when Uncle Ralph came home after his tour of duty in the South Pacific.

When Grandma and Grandpa died the clock went to Uncle Ralph.  When he was gone it ended up at my younger brother’s house.  He had no recollection of its history so he passed it on to me.   By then the hands were broken and the gears wouldn’t move.

After my mom was gone I took it to a clock smith for repair.
He replaced the hands and got it to keep time, but he never could get it to strike the correct number on the hour. 

Now when the minute hand nears the twelve, the gears grind and it clangs out some random number and returns to its muffled tick-tock.

At some earlier time the original pendulum was replaced by another that’s a little oversized. 

The clock has to sit slightly off the level to keep the pendulum from hitting the glass door.

The top of our old piano is warped just enough to accommodate the problem.

My cousin told me Grandpa bought the clock to celebrate the birth of his first son
 in December of 1907.  That makes it over one hundred years old.  
So I’ll forgive it for not being precise about the hour.


Sarah said...

Aah, that is a sweet tale of your grandfather's clock. It sounds like a clock with lots of character. It is good that you got it fixed, so it can continue to work in its own sweet way!

TALON said...

Beautiful, Leenie. It's the imperfections that make it even more so...and memories make it magic.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I do love its contrariness over striking the hour - that is what makes it unique.

Kilauea Poetry said...

Well what a touching post..I'd say it's quite commemorative as well! What truly lovely pictures Leenie- memeories..drifting off to sleep with this grand reminder! My dad and mom have one but it isn't an antique though we had a coo coo clock growing up (lol)

Nathan said...

Thanks! I enjoyed that immensely.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story! We have lots of clocks, including an antique Dutch one which we bought in Indonesia. It has a lovely sound when it chimes.

Jill said...

So glad you've got that clock and that it keep ticking, wish I had my grandad's - I think it was dumped.

Elizabeth said...

What a wonderful clock story.
So glad that YOU finally are able to treasure it.

I have my grandmother's (gold?) French traveling cock which stops and goes quite randomly. A pretty chime but a complete mind of its own......

I just enjoy it and would never dream of getting it 'mended'


Sarah said...

Thanks Leenie-the header was from the snowy days-I came home and someone had chucked a loaf of bread in the road and there were loads of seagulls swooping around eating it up. I didn't notice the crow on the roof until I had put it up. I have the same problem with cake!

Linda Sue said...

That is an awesome clock and it's sentimental loving history is a treasure to be sure- I love 15 o'clock and the hour of two and a mothers coo-coo clock does the same thing and sometimes the coo-coo get's stuck half way through it's count with it's beak open and it's one wing drives everyone else nuts so i have had to keep it in a box...

susan m hinckley said...

Lucky, lucky Leenie! What a treasure, and how wonderful that it ended up with you, a tangible ticking companion to your childhood memories. Thanks for the story!

DayPhoto said...

Great story and wonderful history! I have an old clock I should post about. You did a wonderful tribute here...old clock and beautiful grandparents!


Anzu said...

I become more to feel a longing for grandfather with age. It's so heartwarming story (*'-'*) that your charming clock is cherished with your dear grandmother and grandfather's memories. And I can imagine your dulcet feeling, when you lie in the dim light and listening to its ticking.
It's steady ticking is similar to our heart beats, so I wonder if we are apt to cherish the family's precious clock. σ(゚・゚*)