Sound of time ...

As I went about my weekly Sunday duty of winding the clock I fondly remembered the sounds of time from my childhood. Of lying in the old high iron framed bed after my grandmother had tucked me in for the night, the sound from across the hall rocked me to sleep. It was the tidy rhythmic ticking of my grandparents bedside table wind-up clock … tick tick tich tick

Unlike modern clocks it had a low steady ticking tone, it did not have glowing hands or a fancy case but instead was a turquoise painted metal case scratched and hurt, with a wide gold-coloured face rim and a  turn-key at the back which was large and stuck-out. It was not all sleek nor stylish, but instead  it was “reliable”, and at night as my granparents turned-in, Gramp could be heard winging that clock.

Downstairs during the day there were several sounding time pieces. High on the kitchen wall hung the yellow and ivory striped pendulum clock, and in the living room the largest of three graduated French regulator (pedulum) mantel clocks. In the same room also was the wonderful grandmother's clock that was so special. It, stood only about 4 feet high and looked just like a big grandfather’s clock but was smaller and daintier. It’s chime was sweet sounding but was special as in addition to sounding the hour and half hour it also rang-out 4-2-3-1 notes on the quarter. So at 15 minutes past it would end with a space after the 4-2-3-1 notes with a single chime, then on the half hour it would chime twice and at a quarter-to it would ring  three chimes, so ... all day long every day … we heard a virtual chorus of chimes notifying all within ear's distance the time.

Do you remember the one sound we all knew growing up? It was the sound of our watches ticking. Mostly, we would ignore it, but, every once in awhile, sometimes for no particular reason other then to just listen, we would hold our wrist up to your ear, go quiet, and listen. tick-tick-tick-tick ... listening to the sound of time passing.

Do you remember having to wind your watch? Ever forget and have it stop?

The middle-sized of the graduating mantel clocks, to this day still chimes-out to me the time, through electrical storms and in the middle of the night while I sleep it tells my ears the time. No power needed, just the turning of the two keys once every week.

Through all the early years my Uncle Joe would clean the clocks. It was a ritual for him. Each clock had it’s certain day and when that day came he would clear off the long, worn, old kitchen table and set the clock at the head. Then, while sitting in my grandfather's old captain’s chair, Uncle Joe would go to task dismantling the clock piece-by-piece.

I was permitted to “quietly” watch this ritual, and while his hands were busy, he would recount the story of the time early-on he learned just why he had to concentrate and be so careful to place each piece, each cog and each screw, in order. As the ritual continued, so did the story. Then, he would show me how he cleaned each part ever-so-carefully. When all had had their yearly cleaning and been inspection, Uncle Joe would methodically reverse-order work his way along, piece by piece, putting the clock back to whole.

Though Uncle Joe is now gone I carry with me the memories and times we shared in those magical years. The clock-cleaning tradition continues though other’s hands now clean it, and what was once Gramps's job every Sunday morning, the turning of the clock's keys, is now done by my hand..

And, I am comforted that through all my lived-out years I still hear the same ... sound of time.


Jeanne said...


What a wonderful memory. You are a gifted writer!
I thought of you when I looked at Leigh's post at Brabourne Farm. Beautiful lace. Have a look!
Jeanne :)

Pat @ My Tattered Elegance said...

I love your beautiful lace and stories. Especially the story about your friend and the lovely plant that she left in strangers keeping. What a wonderful story!
So glad you stopped by to see me.
Hugs, Pat

Rocio @ Casa Haus said...

Hi Lynda! What a beautiful story! Isn't it funny how we keep these kind of memories, how we remember tiny details?
Thanks for stopping by at Casa Haus, and thanks for appreciating an earth-friendly wreath! That means SO much to me. I bet your friend will like it. Please show me pictures when you do it!!!

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