Sunday, May 20, 2012

My Grandfather Clock As a Pet

I inherited the family grandfather clock many years ago when both of us were considerably younger.  Today, I think of it as an old, cranky dog, without the smell, of course.

Much like an aging pet, the clock has run up some almighty invoices at the clock repair places.  The first time it broke down, I made arrangements to take it to the Korean couple who owned the local jewelry and repair store, next to the supermarket.  To my shock, they said the clock was easily worth $5,000!

When I finally got it back about a month later, it worked for a week and then abruptly quit working.  The couple made a house call.  First they slipped out of their shoes at the door and then, wearing socks, tiptoed up the stairs to look worriedly at the clock and chitter-chatter to each other in Korean.  He slid the lid on top back, climbed on the little two-step ladder and looked cautiously down onto the clock's workings.  More muttering with accompanying chirps from the wife.

After poking around for awhile, he pronounced it fixed and they departed, no extra charge.  Since I'd paid them their price - $900 - I was relieved.

Time passed, as it does, and the clock seemed fine.  And then it wasn't fine at all.  The chimes weren't coinciding with the actual time.  I hadn't been all that satisfied with the previous clock workers, so I looked for a new firm.  I would have had to do this anyhow as the Korans had sold and moved away.

Enter Goujon's Clock Repair in Riviera Village.  I made an appointment and laboriously (again) we moved the clock down our stairs (they make a turn, of course.)  Even empty - the weights are unhooked and carried separately - the case alone weighed a ton.  Onto the blanket in the back of my pick-up truck and off to Goujon's, father and son.  After much delibration they nodded and said they could fix it.  And that it was only worth about $3,400. 

Six or eight weeks later, they called and said it was fixed.  Come in, pay them ($750) and take it away.  A year later the clock was fine, but Goujon Pere had died and his son couldn't pay the rrent on the shop, so he locked the door and walked away.  This was very hard cheese on the good folks who had left their various clocks for repair.  I'm not sure that ever did get straightened out.

The clock ticked steadily on for another five or six years, requiring only that the weights be moved up to wind it every two or three days.It ran slow, but that's easy to fix. 

Lately, it has gone back to its old forgetful ways -- the chime didn't match the time.  So I stopped the pendulum, waited a week and started it again.  It was right on time, chimes and all!  I think the clock, given its advanced age, may be getting senile.  I'll have to keep a close eye on it.  If I can remember...

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