Mythical Monday: The Ghosts of Time Revisited by Mae Clair

timeIn April, I wrote a Mythical Monday post called the Ghosts of Time, in which I included a long-standing legend in my family. If you didn’t read that post it involved a grandfather’s clock which belonged to my father.

While my dad was living, he always said that when he died as a way to communicate, he would stop the clock if it was running and start it if it was stopped. And yes, it did stop the first time the family was gathered together several months after his death. See my Ghosts of Time post for the whole story.

Because of my father’s promise, clocks have a profound place in my family.

There is another occurrence that took place sometime after his death. My mother and I went to the theater to see The Omen. Why, I have no clue. I certainly couldn’t/wouldn’t sit through it today *shudder*

Anyway, after my father died, my mother gave me the watch he was wearing when he passed away. As a way to keep him close to me, I wore it a lot in those days. My mom and I were headed into the theater when she asked me what time it was. I think we were running late and were worried we would miss the opening of the movie. I honestly don’t remember the exact time, but we usually went to a “twilight” feature, so I’ll say it was
5:30 PM.

When we came out of the theater and were headed for the car, chatting about the movie, my mom again asked for the time. I remember glancing down, dismayed to realize the watch had stopped. At precisely the moment we originally entered the theater—5:30 PM.

That’s not really a huge deal. Parts fail, batteries expire, watches stop. I remember saying, “Oh. Dad’s watch stopped.”

Now for the odd part…the the part that is a huge deal. As I was watching, the second hand started moving again and the watch began working. To this day, I’m not certain what that signifies other than my father had moved on to a heavenly existence and perhaps didn’t like the taint of the movie. It’s one of those vivid memories that stand out when I look back over my life.

Recently, something similar occurred.

Vintage Wood ClockI’ve told you how I love grandfathers’ clocks because of my dad. I also have a love of cuckoo clocks because of my mother. She grew up with one and pretty much instilled that love in me.

Many years ago my husband and I purchased a cuckoo clock. It’s now over twenty years old and hasn’t worked in several years. I had it repaired once during that span, but when it stopped working for the second time, I didn’t bother. The repairs were too extensive. Despite that, I kept the clock on the wall in the kitchen, because I like the look of it.

I recently hosted a party for my family. I used to host one every May for my mother’s birthday. Last weekend was the first time I’ve had the entire family together at my house since my mother passed away. The last time was to celebrate my mom’s birthday in May 2012.

As the last three party guests were leaving for the night, I glanced toward the kitchen and realized the cuckoo clock was ticking. The same cuckoo clock that hasn’t worked in years. I can’t begin to describe the feeling I had when I saw the pendulum swinging back and forth and heard the steady tick-tock, tick-tock.

The next day I checked with everyone who had been at the party and no one started the clock. I had been in and out of the kitchen multiple times during the party and the clock wasn’t working. And yet, when everything wound to a close, it was ticking along as though it had always worked.

We stopped it and it hasn’t started again. I don’t believe it ever will. Once was enough, a message from my mother to say she had been there with everyone in spirit.

At least I like to think so.

29 thoughts on “Mythical Monday: The Ghosts of Time Revisited by Mae Clair

  1. I believe our deceased family members are close to us in more ways than we can imagine and at special times in our lives, let us know that. We’ve had similar experiences of our own, so I know how dear and precious this experience was to you! As always,..great post Mae!


    • Hi, Debbie. It’s amazing how those experiences come from out of the blue, isn’t it? It really was a monumental moment when I saw that clock ticking. I can still remember the feeling that came over me!


    • You, know, now that I think about it, I’m not sure we did. I thought my husband stopped it, but maybe it stopped on it’s own. I just remember the five of us in the kitchen and me going on about the clock. We went outside to say goodbye to the party guests and when we came back in, it wasn’t running. I assumed he stopped it because I was pretty wound up about it!


  2. This is so special, Mae. Will you feature clocks in any of your books since they are such a special symbol for you, or is it too special to put in fiction (truth is stranger than…)? Hugs.


    • Thanks, Jessi! I would definitely include a clock(s) in a book. I have an old WIP in which a grandfather’s clock was a key story element. I used to include clocks frequently in my WIPS. I need to do that again!


    • Lovely to see you, Kitt! Yep, clocks definitely have symbolic meaning in my family ever since my dad started the whole thing with his grandfather’s clock. It’s weird because I find them very soothing too. I love visiting clock stores with all that soft ticking going on in the background! 🙂


      • Isn’t it funny how you can be soothed by it, where others experience a far different reaction? I think it’s great. Any way a person can gain comfort is a good thing.


  3. WIthout a doubt, Mae, your parents are communicating to you through the medium of time. Tom and I were both avid clock collectors when we met. Of course we’d both travelled extensively. At the time we blended our households, we decided we were’t going to keep anything we didn’t both want to live with. Consequently we have over 50 ticking clocks we enjoy and each brings special memories. Listen to your clocks, it’s amazing the stories they will share with you.


    • Beautiful, Sheri! I would love to have a clock collection. It’s great to meet someone who appreciates clocks the way you and Tom do.

      I agree that clocks can tell amazing stories. How lucky you are to have so many memories!


  4. What an awesome, yet spine-tingling moment. Mae, I love old clocks too. I used to watch my grandfather tinker with them all the time. He’d pick old ones up at second-hand shops which didn’t work. Then he’d pull them apart and work at putting them back together again. He always got them going, although for some reason, there were always left-over parts. 🙂


    • What a great story, Joanne, especially given your grandfather got them working and still had leftover parts. He must have really connected with those old clocks. It sounds like he really enjoyed tinkering with them. Thanks so much for sharing!


    • Hello Bev, and welcome to my blog. Thanks for dropping by to share. I’ve often heard about electrical devices being a channel but had no idea about clocks or battery devices. It makes sense!


  5. Mae, that gave me shivers — but the good kind! And you’re such a great storyteller. I was scrolling through, holding my breath while reading this, knowing there was going to be a great payoff. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this.


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