The new toy is an incredible piece of electronic genius. Our daughter's new watch keeps time and so much more, such as calorie burn, steps taken, iMessage, among other things, and on a swipe screen. It is a long way from the wind-up wrist watches we used for so long. This watch is almost anything but a time piece, as my grandparents called a watch or clock. It may be the only type of watch that our grandchildren know.
My mother had a watch which her father brought home to her one autumn after he sold the season's salt fish. It had been a good season and Granda settled his account but had more money than usual left over. He bought the time piece as a surprise for Mom who wore it proudly to school that year.
As a child, my husband, Rick had a new watch and he was so proud of it. He said, "Dad, this must be a good watch because the tick is so loud."
I remember whilst in high school, I wanted a watch with a black suede strap for Christmas. This was in the days when watch straps, bought separately, were not very common. Mom and Dad went all over St. John's to buy that watch for me. The watch outlasted that strap and I still use it today.
Mom and Dad had a new battery-operated watch for my brother, Francis, for his birthday when he was a teenager. This was the first electric watch in our house. Mom asked, "What happens when the power goes off?"
Then there's the clock at my Grandfather Pretty's house. The sound startled you at first, but it grew on you. It was my grandfather's mantel clock, that told the hour with the appropriate number of chimes and the half hour with one. Pop wound the clock every day, not considered a chore in those days because that was what everyone did. This mantel clock had a winding key.
That chime was comforting during the night when you woke. It broke the quiet, so that you did not feel alone. However, the most comforting part was its tick tock. Often inaudible when the residents of the house were busy, the same sound was drum-like when the room was quiet. This audible passage of time filled such moments with company. Sometimes though, depending on your frame of mind, the tick tock sounded like a roar. At such times, one left the room, too preoccupied with the ticking to endure it.
Rick's grandparents, the Mercers, had such a clock on the mantle as well. We have this clock now though it is never wound. We have it for its sentimental value.
Aunt Marie Smith talks about the one alarm clock the Smiths had in their home when she was young. Every night her father, Ern, took the clock upstairs to the bedroom, wound it, set the alarm. In the morning, he took it downstairs where he wound it again. Marie described this daily ritual to her young grandson.
His response was, "What do you mean by wound the clock?"