The grandfather clock in my apartment used to stand in the dining room of my parents’ house. It had been a purchase that my mother would have planned – like all her furniture purchases – for months and months. I used to listen to her when she returned from her Saturday appointments with the hairdresser. Before she called my father to drive to the mall and pick her up, she would stroll the stores and get her ideas.
It was her dream time, I suspect. Newly released from the dryers in the salon, she must have felt she looked her best. She got to browse the furniture sections of the various department stores, her hair fragrant and glistening with the spray that someone else’s hand had aimed.
My mother had no hesitation asking salespeople about the items she saw in the model living rooms and dining rooms. She learned her woods – nothing beat mahogany in her book – and she opened breakfront doors and side table drawers with a knowing air. There may have been an earlier, more formal time when she took the price tags and turned them over with gloved hands.
What day did she get the yearning for the grandfather clock? It was something she would only have considered in the years free of the school tuitions that long claimed a part of my father’s paychecks. Although a grandfather clock was for show, it was something that ultimately no one would look at more often than my mother did.
Its transport from New Orleans to New England with the close of my parents’ house affected the inner workings of the clock. It will take a professional to come to the apartment before I again hear the chimes I used to listen to through the nights on visits with my aging parents. One day I will make the call and arrange the repair.
I may not be just ready to live again with family sounds marking my hours.