Jul. 9, 2018

The Seth Thomas Clock

“If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day
'Til eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you.

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you.

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do,
Once you find them.
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go
Through time with.” (Jim Croce)

“My grandfather's clock was too large for the shelf
So it stood ninety years on the floor
.”(Erich Doll/Henry Clay Work)

As you can see, this particular clock hasn’t spent any time on the floor and I can't make it stand up correctly here. It sat on our mantle for more years than I can remember and was my husband, John’s, blessing and bane. This clock was more temperamental than a cranky two year old and he loved it dearly. It would go faster than it needed to, or slower, or throw its chimes out of sync but it was one of our rituals, before we left for church every Sunday morning, John would wind the clock.

The clock is a Seth Thomas constructed of wood with a Bakelite veneer. It features Sonora Chimes, made in the early 1900’s, and for most of our life, forty-eight years, here in this house we regulated our sleep by hearing what time it was by the chimes marking the quarter, the half, the three-quarter and, of course, every hour. I also knew what time every teen-age Davis actually got home.

John’s Uncle Virgil, who lived in Union Oregon until his death many years ago, was the original owner of the clock and when he went to his heavenly reward, the clock went to John. I suspect Uncle Virgil bought the clock not long after it was born and it has been in our family always.

Last March I took it in to our local clock master-craftsman, Berj DerMovsesian, as it had not been running for quite a while and I needed to see if he could whip it back into shape as I wanted to pass it along to our oldest daughter, Leah. His eyes lit up like he’d just won the lottery and I was thrilled and somewhat relived that he would be able to work on it. He exhibited righteous horror when he removed the back cover, pointing out to me all the atrocities which had been committed upon the clock by past so-called experts. No doubt in my mind it was in the right hands now.

When it got to be mid-June, I went in and asked whatever happened to my clock. Berj said he had just gotten all the parts, was fine tuning it and it would be ready any time next week. So, the next Tuesday morning at 9:00, Leah, her husband, Chuck, and I met at Baldwin Jewelers so Berj could explain to all of us exactly how to care for the Davis Family Seth Thomas Clock. Let me just say that it was seriously complicated and I am beyond glad that Leah and Chuck will be in charge of this precious heirloom. Berj confided that he liked the clock so much that he kept it on his workstation so he could hear it chime while he worked as it has such a beautiful sound. This didn’t surprise me. Waking at night and hearing the clock chime was comforting, reassuring and gave a feeling of permanence and peace

Wanting to know just a little bit more about our clock, I googled it (I love you, Google!) and found Seth Thomas was born in Wolcott, Connecticut in 1785, went to work for clockmaker Eli Terry in 1807, bought out Mr. Terry’s factory together with Silas Hoadley in 1810 and in December 1813, bought out Heman Clark’s clock-making business in Plymouth Hollow. Seth Thomas Clock Company began producing clocks in 1813. According to Berj, this particular Seth Thomas clock is a gem and, even though incompetent hands have invaded it, it is once again in splendid shape. Hearing the Sonora Chimes ring was just plain awesome and brought a vivid picture to my mind of John reaching up, Sunday suit jacket stretching across his back, with two separate keys to carefully wind the clock. No one else was allowed to touch it and Leah was a little reluctant to touch it, even under Berj’s guidance.

Pictures like these that come to mind are a gift from God. I see my best friend and most beloved husband so clearly and think he would be pleased that his precious clock is restored and will remain in the family.

“O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath.” Ps. 39:4-5

Nine months today, John has been hiking heavenly hills, handing heavenly little Milk Bones to angelic pooches, just like he did here on our Mt. Wilson Trail.