Daddy Steve: Lately I seem to be consumed with trying to recapture my childhood. I think one retreats to the past when the present seems unmanageable. Of course, the past was far from perfect, but time has a way of smoothing out the rough edges of our memories.
When I was a kid, no summer vacation was complete without the family pilgrimage to Minnesota's north shore along Lake Superior (I expect this was true for a lot of Minnesota families). The north shore offers spectacular scenery; and to me always seemed a bit exotic -- the closest place one can get to the ocean in landlocked Minnesota. The annual excursions with my parents and grandparents always begun in Duluth, the 'Zenith City of the great unsalted seas', then up Highway 61 to Split Rock Lighthouse, just south of Silver Bay.
Just before reaching the lighthouse, there was a place my family referred to as a 'tourist trap'. Known as Split Rock Trading Post, it was basically a gift shop packed with a variety of kitschy souvenirs, along with just enough 'attractions' (a lookout tower! real deer to feed!) that it could be regarded as a legitimate destination. It was the type of place that attracted kids like moths to a flame, and we never made a trip without stopping there.
Inside, some of the most popular items for sale were clocks; an entire wall of inexpensive, brightly painted, German-made clocks. As soon as you opened the door, you were struck by the sound of dozens of clocks all tick-tocking to their own beats.
During those childhood summers, my parents bought me two: an orange one that hung in my room at home and a green one that hung in my room at my grandparents' house. God only knows what happened to those clocks; they're long gone.
Fortunately, eBay is the ultimate way-back machine where you can recover just about anything from your childhood. Thus, I was able to find this clock and request it as a Christmas present (and Santa Daddy John came through!).
It even came in its original box!
The kids all like the new clock. They often lament that most things in the world are far too large from them. Not my beloved clock!
Marco: It's my turn to wind the clock today.
Blake: And I'm up tomorrow.
Sasha, my childhood Gregor doll, actually remembers the original!
Sasha: Oh yes, it's just like the one at Grandma and Grandpa's house in the country.
The tick-tocking kept the bears away, so it always made me feel safe!
Frederick: Wow, cool!
As it comes from their native land, the Gotz kids are especially fond of the new clock. Although, they have varied opinions as to its usefulness...
Uli: It's so nice to haff a good German clock in the house.
Kurt: Ja, wunderbar!
Barbara: Well, it is very pretty, but who cares what time it is?
Beatrix: Exactly! Time is for grownups to worry about.