Someone has said, “Grandfather clocks come with two simple instructions”
First, don’t let it run down
Second, don’t wind it too tight
Aunt Ruthie’s grandfather clock sat in a corner of the sitting room, a fixture during most of my childhood. Actually, at first the corner clock was a dark mahogany one, handed down from an earlier Martin generation. Then Ruthie commissioned the making of a fancy walnut edition with a mirror to the right of the door made from the same wood stock. The walnut for the clock came from a tree on her property. It ticked and tocked, dinged and donged, faithfully.
A story in my memoir, Mennonite Daughter, features cousin Sammy and me sliding down the banister near the grandfather click, its face observing mayhem!
How do you avoid getting run down?
What do you do when you are wound up to tightly?
Do you have a cherished clock in your home?
My parents have a clock that looks almost exactly like your Aunt Ruthie’s grandfather clock. My father was going to sell it when they downsized, by I convinced him to keep it. They certainly aren’t cheap to move. 🙂 I’m still trying to figure out how to not get run down.
Thanks for getting the conversation rolling here, early bird that you are. I wonder if your parents will bequeath that clock to you. I would love to have moved Aunt Ruthie’s clock to our house but after an 800-mile transport, it may not have survived the move, though I would have enjoyed the chime – and the memories connected to it.
Take care of yourself, Jill! :>)
Growing up we didn’t have a clock as large as Aunt Ruthie’s but we had a small one on the mantle over the fireplace. The two-step directions you mention are exactly how that clock worked, too. Such straightforward advice contained in those directions.
Easy-peasy. Yes, the directions were simple, but my brother Mark always wound the clock every few days. The clock just sat there, (mute) if he wasn’t around to wind it.
Mantle clocks count too, Ally!
My favorite clock memory was my grandma’s cuckoo clock. We would get very excited when that little bird popped out to announce the time. My grandma would then wind it ahead to 12 so we could see him pop out over snd over.
My husband’s mother had a grandmother clock with a beautiful chime. He gave it to his son when we moved aboard our sailboat. He is likely much more faithful keeping it wound than we might be.
When I get wound too tight I take a walk 😉
I like your grandma’s playful attitude – getting the bird to pop out again and again to your delight.
Like you, I go outdoors to my garden or take a walk to clear out the stress. Thank you, Linda.
Good morning, Marian! Did you change your comments, or is WP being goofy? I don’t normally have to fill in my information.
Aunt Ruthie’s clock is beautiful. I thought it was funny that she commissioned a “fancy” clock.
No special clocks or clock memories–though I always thought grandfather clocks were cool. My husband does have his grandfather’s pocket watch (he doesn’t carry it). 🙂
I’m sorry about the comments, Merril. I guess WP is being goofy because I certainly didn’t change comments. I have “comments” set so that only first responders need to be moderated. I hope it doesn’t happen again. (Jill’s comment didn’t have to be approved.)
If your husband carried his grandfather’s watch, if probably would have worn a hole in his pocket by now. 😀
I think the problem was on my end. I’ve been working from my old and new computer, and now the old one doesn’t seem to like WP. 🙂
Thanks for the update. Now we know it probably wasn’t a gremlin on my end. 🙂
Is this the clock she had made from the tree that fell across the railroad tracks? That was the first story she ever told me when we met. Beautiful clock, beautifuler woman!
Kim, it’s great to see you here – welcome. I didn’t know about the fallen tree, but the story sounds plausible. Thank you! 😀
Love how your questions correlate so well with the clock theme, Marian. 😁 My grandmother used to have a clock that chimed every fifteen minutes with different bird calls.
I take vitamins to avoid feeling run down. I also crochet or read a book when I’m feeling wound up! 😀
I like the idea of a chiming clock, but I think every 15 minutes would be too much for me. Maybe children wouldn’t mind as much.
Like you, I take vitamins and minerals. Right now, I’m taking zinc for a sinus infection. It often works. Thanks for offering your views from your part of the world, L. Marie! 🙂
Beautiful clock! My grandparents had a Cuckoo clock and one of the highlights of our visits to their house was to see the dear little bird pop out and happily chirp on the hour!
When I need to wind down, a good long walk, either in the countryside or the seafront always does the trick, always a balm for the heart and mind. Zumba is also great, but I only go to one session a week.
Like you, other readers have good memories of cuckoo clocks.
I too like walks in the woods or on a sandy beach. I used to do Zumba as well, but when it got too much for me, I switched to Pilates and body flow. We can’t quit, but we can adjust.
Thanks for commenting, and for sharing on Twitter, Fatima! 🙂
My parents gave us a grandfather clock for a wedding gift. I have to confess to letting it run down from time to time. So far, that doesn’t appear to have any lasting negative results – here’s hoping it works the same for me. I confess to letting myself run down from time to time too.
What a lovely wedding gift! Maybe grandfather clocks, like humans, need a rest too.
Here’s to taking time for self-care; we deserve it, you know. Thanks, Arlene.
I am like the grandfather clock right now. Slowly fighting off a chest cold. Drinking water and getting as much sleep as possible. Staying home. Hoping to bounce back to my usual robust health soon!
I’m sorry to hear this. Colds make one feel miserable, especially for folks like you who usually enjoy robust health.
From January to March, we fight pine and oak pollen in Florida, worse since we live in a preserve. The results: sinus infections for me; a chest cold for Cliff.
You are doing all the right things: Here’s to bouncing back, Shirley! 😀
When I was in grade-school, us kids got together and bought a cuckoo clock for our folks’ anniversary. The rest of the years living in that house, the first person up in the morning was responsible for pulling the weights back up, winding it for another day. Over decades, that poor little clock finally started sending its bird out at whatever time it wanted, sometimes not completing the cuckoo sound, which always sent anyone nearby into giggles of sympathy! After our folks’ passings, that clock has been cleaned up and hangs in the oldest daughter’s house, silent witness now to so many family goings-on over the years.
What a fabulous “clock” story, Ginger. The way you tell it, the clock seems almost like a family member. What a character! I’m glad it was cleaned up and in working order now.
Marian — Oh, what a beautiful clock!
To avoid getting run down, I eat healthily, drink lots of water, and get plenty of sleep.
When I get wound up too tightly, I sit perfectly still and focus on my breathing.
We have two wall clocks in our little space: one in the kitchen and one in the living room. And while they’re not cherished, they practical—I can’t tell you how many times a day I look at them to keep myself on track time-wise.
I know you are penny smart and TIME-wise.
Like you, I try to focus on deep breathing when my shoulders rise and my face crunches up, often unconsciously. My Pilates instructor has helped me to be conscious of the power of breath awareness.
You’re kind to comment. Thank you, Laurie!
I love Grandfather Clocks and aunt Ruthie’s is a beauty. It makes me think of the song, My Grandfather’s Clock. Here it is by Johnny Cash. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCFXhn9mMB0
Thanks for sharing the link, Darlene, and for taking the time to look it up in the first place.
I had NO idea that Johnny Cash recorded a song we used to sing in school. Maybe I mentioned in my memoir, maybe not: Through the first 4 years in Aunt Ruthie’s classroom, we sang each morning from The Golden Book of Favorite Songs, a battered copy that is now in a cherished space on my piano. Sometimes I play the tunes, but not “My Grandfather’s Clock!” 😀
The Kroegers on my mother’s side of the family were clock makers in the Ukraine, and previous to their emigration also in West Prussia. (Blog post March 2018 —
ens-intransit.blogspot.ca) Sadly enough, no one in our family is in possession of a Kroeger clock. We see them in other people’s homes and there is an exhibit in the Steinbach Mennonite Museum of the various clocks that were made. My grandmother bought each of her grandchildren a Cuckoo clock as a wedding gift. Ours made a trip to Congo and many years later back again to Canada. The chain got pulled too hard by a child, and since then has not been revived. Maybe its time is up!
Clocks have been important in many cultures: Ukrainian and of course Switzerland and Germany.
I’m sorry about the “missing” Kroeger clock, and the mishap with the cuckoo clock. Yes, “maybe it’s time is up.” You might remember the words to When the Roll is Called Up Yonder: – “and time shall be no more!” Of course, clocks won’t be needed in our heavenly home. Thanks for your stories today, Elfrieda. 😀
As much as I don’t like (or more like, have a problem with) being on time, you’d never guess how much I love clocks. A paradox, or perhaps a paraclocks. :–0 I particularly love grandfather (and the slightly smaller grandmother) clocks. They’re stately and beautiful, well-made and made to withstand the vagaries of …. time.
Your Aunt Ruthie’s is gorgeous. My guy bought an antique clock from a sale in an old mansion and it’s been ringing its chimes for us for 35 plus years. It’s small compared to a grandfather clock – just about 2 feet tall – but sits in our living room book shelf and runs smoothly …. as long as we don’t wind it too tight. Me? When I get wound up too tight I meditate, breathe, practice yoga, and smile. Works every time. xo
Like you, I like the smaller, more grandmotherly-style clocks. Maybe because they are curvy and petite, like little women. Ruthie’s house had tall ceilings, so she opted for clocks with height, like the ones she saw her grandfather’s house, I suppose.
I like your paradox/paraclocks thinking about time. Ha! Time’s a beast for many writers & poets, maybe because they live in their imagination, immune to such constraints, or so I think.
Have you ever shown your cute clock on your blog, the one that sits on your living room book shelf? If not, maybe now’s the time to feature it. What a clock tale you could spin. Gee, did I get your imagination going?
Always a pleasure, Pam!
You DID get my imagination spinning. If I knew how, I’d include a photo of our clock here, but don’t know how to do that. One of these days, when the timing is right, I’ll do that…
But of course! There’s always Facebook or YOUR own blog post. WordPress allows only URLs in comments, too bad. :-/
My mother always wanted a grandfather clock like Aunt Ruthie’s. My dad surprised her with a smaller version he called a “grandmother “ clock. He was so proud of it and wound it every night before bed. Mom never told him how disappointed she was that it wasn’t the clock she wanted. My sister has it in Atlanta now. It made the trip from Jacksonville and still keeps good time when it gets wound.
It sounds like your mother held in her feelings to protect your father’s. I wonder how you knew your mother was disappointed: Maybe you “read” her face and detected her true feelings.
Moving a huge clock is a big undertaking. How wonderful that your sister in Atlanta has this family heirloom in good, working order. Thanks for sharing this, Pat. 😀
When everything else fails, breathe! 🙂 Of course, that’s easier said than done when we are wound too tight or too run down.
My paternal grandparents had a “coockoo clock” (not sure how those are called – or spelled – in English). Have you ever heard of them or seen one, Marian? I wish I had a photo of it.
Basically, it ticks and tacks and you have to pull heavy handles every morning (wind it up) to keep the thing going on time. And, on the hour, a little door at the top of the “clock house” opens. And a little bird pops put, saying “coockoo, coockoo, coockoo…) as many times as a church clock would ding. And, it would go “coockoo” once on the half hours. I have so many memories of that clock and visiting that old house of my “meter” and “peter”!
I actually kept that clock, but threw it out (as it was broken) a couple of summer ago, when my parents moved and I had to downsize some more.
Liesbet, yes, I have heard of cuckoo clocks and Linda, Fatima, and Elfrieda (Shroeder) told their stories about this little clock, usually brown with a lighter-colored bird.
In all of your travels, I wonder if you’ve ever seen the gigantic clock on the square in Prague, Czech Republic. I don’t think there was a bird, but it had a lot of other colorful moving parts. When we visited, the clock was being repaired.
Thanks for sharing your own “clock” memories here. I don’t think anyone will ever accuse you of hoarding, Liesbet!
Haha! Nope, I’m definitely not a hoarder. 🙂 And, yes, I’ve seen that clock in Prague, ages ago. Have a nice weekend, Marian!
Enjoy yours too with Mark, Maya, and Maybe a little time to yourself – hahaha!
My father adored the grandfather clock he inherited as the youngest child in the family (love that tradition, instead of something going to the oldest!). It was made in the late 1700s or early 1800s and my grandfather was it’s caretaker for the years they lived in our home. Grandpa loved winding it up and yes, never winding it too tight and I loved watching him. Powerful memories.
Our family heirloom clock was moved some 900 miles to northern Florida and survived just fine! And has now survived at least one hurricane. 🙂 Actually it has moved to Florida twice now: once in 1969 when our whole family moved, and most recently on her 90th birthday my mother decided it should be moved on to the new family owner of it, my sweet brother and his dear wife. I know they will do their best to keep it ticking!
Your family knows the value of cherished heirlooms. And I like that (sometimes at least) these beloved pieces go to the youngest instead of the oldest. There were some hard feelings in my family over certain items that went to the oldest (me), a pitfall of primogeniture perhaps.
Cheers to clocks that have survived long hauls and rough storms. Your stories are heartwarming, Melodie!
Here’s to Pam and other readers: A grandfather clock is a “Ticking Time Balm.”
We have many family treasures from Bob’s parents’ farm but nothing quite so elegant as Aunt Ruthie’s grandfather clock. I do have a clock that belonged to my mother. It was given to her by the State of TN on her winning an award for her volunteerism. It sits on my desk, and it was the only clock not reset for daylight savings time. Caught me off guard when I realized it was not “timely!” Thanks for a poignant and lovely post, Marian.
Your mother’s clock is not only a treasure of inheritance, but also a testimony to her service as a volunteer. I had to smile reading, “Caught me off guard when I realized it was not “timely!” (I don’t reset my laundry-room clock either.)
I’m guessing Bob inherited his clever ability with wood and metal from his dad, who seems like the handy sort. Thanks for reading commenting here, Sherrey! 😀
Andrew’s uncle, Okie Evans, made grandfather and regulator clocks out of wood he collected from local trees in West Virginia. We have a regulator, or school house clock, hanging in our family room that Uncle Okie made out of black walnut. Great treasures!
I must have seen that clock in your family room. You not only have a keepsake from Uncle Okaie, but a piece of history from your West Virginia family roots as well.
We have a school house clock in our breakfast area. It doesn’t work since the move, but it looks pretty surrounded by ceramic plates – ha! Thanks for chiming in here, Bonnie!
Ah yes – my mum has an almost identical clock in her house.
I think your mum lives in England, not Sweden – right? Thanks for always commenting, so appreciated, Fiona.
Yes – she lives in England. She and my dad inherited a clock from one of their set of parents…
I must be in the minority because I hate clocks🥴 I have them , like we all have to , but of the none ticking variety . Ticking clocks literally wind me up ( ha ha) . I haven’t slept well in years and any continuous noise is the culprit. I have been known to , wrap em up , push em under somebody else’s bed , chuck em in the garden or basically move out because of them .
We all live to time but over the year time has ruled me and if I feel run down I get out in the fresh air with nature away from clocks, watches or mobile phones and just breathe .
I had a watch when I was about ten , I hardly ever wore it and I’ve never owned one since .
Ticking ! Aggggghhh!! 😂😂
Leave it to you, Cherry, for a unique point of view. Your comment helped me remember a clock my mother had on top of her dining room buffet. It would chime every 15 minutes (30 minutes?) The chime was pleasant, but overdone – way too often. When we came to visit, at night, we would set the noisy clock out on the kitchen counter and close the door between the DR and kitchen. Funny thing was: We bought the clock for our parents’ 40th wedding anniversary. Eventually, it stopped working – bringing an end to the nuisance.
A favorite line: ” I have been known to , wrap em up , push em under somebody else’s bed , chuck em in the garden or basically move out because of them .” Hahaha!
Stay safe and healthy though I think you may live in a less-populated part of Wales and don’t have to put up with close contact with people. 🙂
Thank you for enjoying my point of view , it comes from the heart . You too stay safe my darling .
So sweet to look at my replies, but of course you would, being Cheery Cherry! oxo
Oh my! I have the run-down, wound-up coronavirus blues. I’m a fortunate one with enough (not too much) food, a son nearby who will shop for me as needed, a garden and seeds to plant, two sweet pups, and social media contact with friends plus a few Zoom classes. I walk in the woods every day and even if I’m feeling too run down to do anything except lie on the couch, young Disco the Pupster and “Exercise Trainer” convinces me otherwise. She’s a wild child without exercise so that means the old dog Willow and the old woman who buys the dog food get exercise, too. So, I’m OK. And it’s weird and shocking, but this is life now. I pray for the world as I walk. Like everyone I hope we can find our way out of this crisis and will have learned something. Thanks for sending me off on these thoughts.
You are at such a different place than you were, say, two years ago. You seem younger now somehow, perhaps because the Pupster Wild Child and old dog Willow help direct your paths. A son close by, plenty of food, and furry friends. Yes, with the return of spring and the retreat of the Covid-19 we should be okay. Stay well, my friend!
Our family’s Grandfather’s clock was dated 1924, the year of my father’s birth. B. H. Hoffman of Locust Grove (near Bainbridge, PA) gave it to his daughter, Jean Stauffer Hoffman Withers, on the occasion of her first child’s birth (my father). The clock now resides with my sister in Wrightsville, PA. I used to envy her, but we live in a little condo with 8 ft ceilings. That would never do.
Bill, great to see you here, thanks to “Growing Up in E-Town” Facebook page. Thanks too for giving me the history of your family’s Grandfather clock. Do visit again!