Time Springs Forward

It’s that time of year again where we humans try to manipulate time to benefit our own agendas. If you haven’t heard yet, at 2 a.m. Sunday (really Saturday overnight), March 9, you are instructed to turn your clocks forward one hour. That depends, of course, on if the part of the country you reside follows the time change guidelines. I expect to see lights come on in neighborhoods all over Illinois at 2 a.m. that night/morning as people rise at the government-designated time to physically change their clocks. What is that you say? Don’t hold my breath? Well, I have to admit, even though we own and operate Willy’s Tick-Tock Clock Shop, we won’t be up then either!

I don’t believe it matters if we move the hands of the clocks forward or backward, because time itself will always move forward no matter how hard we try to manipulate it. As humans, we are used to managing and manipulating nature to our liking. We clear forests, plow up grasslands, tunnel through mountains, and dam rivers to accommodate our wants and needs. We’ve built windmills to harvest the power of the wind, water mills to use the power of water, mined the earth, power our homes with oil, gas, and coal, supplement power with solar panels, geothermal heat,  and even split atoms for both the welfare and detriment to man. The one thing we really haven’t been able to manipulate is time.

We are fascinated by time. It is an enigmatic entity. Entity? What is it really? You can’t touch it, hear, smell, taste, or see it, but it moves on and we are all affected by it. From the moment we are conceived, the clock starts ticking for us. There are some people that seem to have their whole lives mapped out from the moment they come out of the womb. Then, there are those of us that have reached the ripe old age of 50 and still don’t know what they want to do when they grow up. Not to be trite, but, where does the time go?

I look around in my own life and wonder that same thing. When I was in grade school, we had an assignment that I remember very well. We were talking about history and time. We were supposed to take the year 2000 (wow!) and figure out how old we would be that year. I did the math and figured out I would be 37 years old. Thirty-seven years old? Oh. My. God. I couldn’t imagine being 37 years old. I didn’t even think my parents were that old! It seemed like school years lasted for years and summer was but a weekend. Remember the agony of waiting for, well, anything when you were a kid? “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” Time was not our friend, or so we thought.

After my 21st year, time seemed to speed up. Juggling school, work, and a social life became the new challenge. I didn’t feel like things were taking forever, now I had to try to keep up as things were moving faster. I didn’t meet my Husband until later in life, so consequently, I wasn’t chasing little ones around during this time. I had a career, roommates, friends, family, and time seemed to just slip by doing other things. I fought against time by not acknowledging it..

I met my Husband and time changed again. Time was so short when I was with him and workdays were forever until I could be with him again. Maybe that’s why we say love makes us feel young again. Coincidentally, we met in the year 2000. We moved to Chenoa. I worked as a secretary and Will was a nursing home administrator. Will’s Grandfather collected clocks and tinkered with them, he had downsized his collection and Will had a couple of his clocks. He wanted to keep them in good running order and have the movements restored. They meant a lot to him. He remembered watching his Grandfather make the case of one we have in our house. We searched a long time to find someone and when we did, they complained about working on them. Will decided to learn how to work on clocks, especially if he was going to collect them. So he did. He trained with a professional, read every book on the subject he could find, watched videos, and spent hours upon hours training. It seemed like forever!

He found out that a lot of other people also had timepieces they needed restored. Hence, the birth of Willy’s Tick-Tock Clock Shop. At first, he just did restorations, but then we needed to expand to sales as well. We remodeled the other half of the building into a showroom for new clocks. We worked long hours and with help from friends and family, finally finished the project. Next came the website. We had people wanting to see clocks, but there is a limited amount of space and too many clocks to be able to house them all. Will spent more long hours of researching and developing the website. Clock descriptions, pictures, videos, music clips, shopping cart features and a lot of faith went into www.willygoodclocks.com. In the meantime, I have been learning to restore clock movements as well.

I come from starting out as an art major and finally getting my degree in psychology. May I tell you that no matter how gently you speak, or how often you curse at it, a cuckoo clock will still need to have all the adjustments made properly before it will run correctly. Trust me. The restoration process is time consuming and not for the faint of heart. The movement is disassembled, we check all the parts for wear, polish the pivots (end of gears that come through the brass plates) to a mirror finish, replace all the bushings (holes where the pivots come through) that are not perfectly round, broach the new bushings to fit perfectly, run the movement through a cleaning system, reassemble the movement, oil, and test the clock. This is a continuing learning experience for me, but I have come a long way. There is great satisfaction in taking something might be 100 years old and giving it new life again, while preserving it’s beauty and value.

I look back and it seems like we started the business just yesterday, but it has been about 10 years. It’s like looking at children and how fast they grow. It just amazes me how time goes so fast watching our nieces and nephews grow up. Our oldest nephew is 22 now. It seems like I was just holding him my arms watching him follow my bright blue gloves. That’s how I got my family nickname, Aunt Bleu (french spelling please). It made my heart melt when I got to cuddle with our oldest niece the other day. She is 17, but still wants to curl up next to her Aunt. The 11-year old wants to take over the clock shop when we retire and during visits, wants to “handle” the customers. The seven year-old still wants to be a pirate princess, and we just celebrated our youngest nephew’s 1st birthday. Love makes us feel young and children make us feel old!

Passing time makes us sentimental. Remembering things that happened in the past fondly. We attach those feelings to objects, pictures, jewelry, and yes, clocks. Our business’ foundation is built on sentimental emotions. Will started the business because he felt a closeness to the clock his Grandfather built. You can tell when people bring in a clock the real value of that timepiece. Sometimes they bring it in swaddled like a baby; sometimes, they bring it in and tell us how they remember hearing it tick and chime growing up; and we have had widowers come in with a clock they want fixed because it was their spouse’s favorite piece and they think of them every time it chimes. We strive to honor those emotions, those memories, not just because we get paid to do it, but because we would want our memories honored in that same way.

I don’t think I have answered the question about what time is, either socially or scientifically. I don’t know that I, or anyone ever really will answer that, but what I do know is that we should be mindful of how we spend this fleeting time that we are gifted.

“Time is like a river. You cannot touch the water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of life.” by an anonymous USMC Veteran

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