Grandma’s Cuckoo Clock

I was looking at the cuckoo clock that used to hang in Martin’s grandma’s kitchen in a small German town.

“I remember a clock like that,” I told Martin. “My grandparents had one.”

It hung on the wall near the fireplace. And every time our family gathered for parties, my cousins and I would gape up at the clock as the hour approached. Tick tock, tick tock. We waited. More little cousins gathered. Tick tock. Tick tock.

Then that sweet little bird opened his wooden door and came to sing to us with a loud cuckoo.

“I loved this clock when I was a kid!” Martin said. His job was to help his grandma gently wind it by pulling the cones each morning.

I’m not sure what happened to my grandma’s clock. Perhaps it’s singing on some family member’s wall and I just haven’t seen it yet. (My family’s a big enormous.)

Or perhaps my grandparents’ old clock had reached the sad fate of the wooden clock that belonged to Martin’s grandma. It was clogged with dust and hanging in an unloved corner of a relative’s house… until I bravely asked Martin, “What if?”

country home

We were given the most beautiful little treasure to remind us of both of our childhoods. This clock is a dime a dozen in Germany. But to us, it’s magic. Memories of people are like that.

I went to visit my grandma (she’s 95 years old), and while I did, Martin cleaned out the clock and hung it on the wall.

“Turn around,” he said when I got home. I did, and as if on cue, that little bird pushed through his little doorway and started to sing. Cuckoo. Cuckoo.

My eyes teared up. My grandma is not doing well.

german cuckoo clock

That night, I fell asleep to the sounds of that bird every thirty minutes. I don’t think there could have been a smoother transition back to America. (Though I sincerely doubt we’ll always have that bird singing through the night. Maybe he’ll just come out to sing for family parties or celebrations.)

Tell me about an object you remember at your grandparents’ house. Where do you suppose it is now?

This post is sponsored by Modern Bathroom, manufacturer of antique bath vanities and other bathroom décor.