sorry, but some things are just not for sale.
I have been in the business of buying and selling antiques for almost thirty years now. I find it hard to believe I am now one of the “old timers”. Not as “old time” as the “old timers” I knew before I was an “old timer”, but I am
Almost everything has a price sooner or later. Most people will eventually sell something if the price is right, and I am no exception. However, I do own one piece I will never sell, regardless of price. It is not the most valuable piece I have every owned, but to me it is priceless. Let me digress.
My late father was born in 1927. When he came home from the hospital, my grandfather had purchased a very nice German mantel clock as a gift for my grandmother. In it’s day it was an expensive gift….and a cherished piece by my grandmother. Westminster chimes, striking on the quarter hour. A quality clock.
When I was very young, visiting my grandmother (my grandfather died in 1941, long before I was born), I would run into the living room to hear the clock strike the full chimes on the hour. Even as a kid, I loved to hear that clock chime.
In 1969 my grandmother’s second husband died, so she moved in with our family. Of course the clock came with her.
However, when the clock struck on the hour, it struck with a dull thud marking the hour, rather than the mesmerizing chime I remembered. My grandmother told me she had taken it to a jeweller, and he could not figure out what was wrong with it. So we lived with it making a dull thud every time it signalled the hour.
One day I decided to open the back of the clock and have a look. I was about 14, and of course didn’t know anything about clocks, but I did notice that the chime bar was resting on the wooden base of the clock. I adjusted the chime bar, moving it away from the wooden base, and when the hammers struck the bar….the chime was back! I solved the problem the jeweller couldn’t figure out, and I was pretty proud of myself! The clock was back to the way I remembered it, and my grandmother was pretty pleased as well.
On Nov 19 1971, my grandmother passed away suddenly at our home. After the doctor left, the funeral directors arrived. I was in the kitchen as they wheeled her body out on the gurney. As they were taking her out of the house, the clock started to chime and strike midnight. To me it seemed like a fitting farewell.
The clock stayed at my parents home until I graduated college, and then it was passed on to me. I have had the clock ever since.
I moved to Barrie in 1999, and not long after, the main spring in the clock broke. I had a very expensive repair made, but not long after that, the other two springs went. The clock still ran, but without the chimes.
For over 10 years it sat on the shelf, and only occasionally did I wind it just to make sure it did not seize up. Just wasn’t the same without the chimes.
Finally, in the summer of this year, I took the clock to a good customer of mine, and he made all the necessary repairs, cleaned the case and the brass trimming, and the clock looks and sounds great!
It has chimed twice in the time it has taken me to write this. I sometimes lie in bed at night and listen to the chimes before I fall asleep. I hear it first thing in the morning. It is there every 15 minutes. I don’t hear it chime every time, because you get used to a clock chiming. As my grandmother used to say, sometimes you don’t even notice it until it stops.
The clock has survived my grandfather, grandmother, father and hopefully one day me. I will pass it on to a nephew or niece, and hope it is with our family for generations more.
Some things you can put a price on. Some things you can’t. Some things just won’t ever be for sale. Not in my lifetime. They are called family heirlooms, and I hope every family has at least one.