My Mother’s German Clock


My mother was a hard, cold woman. There is no need to sugar coat it, though I hate to say it. That was, quite simply. her personality. That doesn’t mean I didn’t love her. I did. I just didn’t like her very much most of the time. I spent my life, or perhaps her life, trying to please her. I don’t need all my ten fingers to count the times I heard her laugh in the 48 years she lived while I was alive. I don’t remember what her face looked like when she smiled. She smiled so seldom.

My mother was depressed. Perhaps clinically depressed but, back then, those diagnoses were seldom made so who really knows what was wrong. But, her problems are only tangential to this story. The story of my mother’s German clock.

My mother loved her brothers and sisters almost desperately. She never really separated from that family and embraced my dad and I. One brother, my Uncle Tincy, was particularly special. They were close in age and grew up together. I think separating from him when he left home to join the Air Force broke her heart.

My mother and my uncle always stayed in close touch. His family, including his three children – my cousins, were always close to me. When they would come “home” from being stationed at one Air Force Base and before moving to another, they would often stay with us during the move. My mother cherished every day she got to spend with her brother and with his family. It was during those times that she seemed happiest.

Uncle Tincy was stationed, at one point, in Germany. Before he left Germany, he sent just about all of his siblings a beautiful German clock. I was grown up by then and had left home, but I will never forget when I came for a visit and my mother had received her clock from her brother. For once in her life, she was glowing as she showed me her clock, hanging in a place of honor on the wall. To her, it was not only beautiful, but a symbol of her brother’s love.

Later in both of our lives, my dad passed away and my mother had to live with me because she was very ill. Of course, the German clock from my Uncle Tincy came with her and hung in a place of honor on a wall of my home. Every day, my mother dusted and polished it. She made sure it was wound properly, right up until a couple of days before she died. It made her happy as almost nothing did.

Today, sixteen years after my mother’s death, the German clock still hangs in a place of honor in my home. It has been taken to the clockmaker, cleaned, repaired, and runs  like new. Mom would be proud. I’ve taken over the task of cleaning and polishing it. It keeps perfect time. When I look at it, I think of my mother, with whom I had a strained relationship and who was so unhappy most of the time. I think of my wonderful Uncle Tincy who could perform some sort of magic to make her happy. I remember how she smiled when she looked at that clock. Now, I smile, with a tear in my eye, as I remember what a beautiful German clock did for my mother all those years ago. #amwriting #writing #blogging #depression #dailyprompt


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