Last May I took a hiatus from the blog to go on a trip to see a wonderful friend in Germany. She was a foreign exchange student who stayed with us my senior year of high school and has been back to visit many times over the years. We had not yet been to visit her but had promised when she got married, we would book the trip. A wedding invitation came and a flight was booked. I talked my Mom into “traveling the world” with me and my two girls as long as we were flying over the ocean anyway, so along with my sister, we headed to Germany, Paris, London, and Ireland on a 3 week whirlwind trip. We made memories to last a lifetime.
My friend kept asking what we would like to see and do in Germany and we said it was all up to her. It is her country and we couldn’t wait to see it through her eyes. “Show us what you like,” we all said. One condition: we have to take Mom somewhere to buy a cuckoo clock. I have to be honest here, I kept thinking this is an awfully stereotypical German thing to have to get as a souvenir. There is more to Germany than cuckoo clocks, pretzels, brats, and beer. Little did I know, I was in for another family story I had never heard.
We arrived in Berlin and enjoyed a few days there. We passed a couple places that sold cuckoo clocks but there never seemed to be enough time or my friend said there was somewhere better she knew of in a different town. Boy, is she good. None of us ever caught on that we were being diverted for some other reason!
When we arrived in Bochum to visit with her family, we enjoyed dinner and a makeshift baby shower. Yes, a baby shower. She had gotten married early and they were already expecting. We brought a suitcase full of presents! So exciting. Her parents also had a very special gift for my Mom. A cuckoo clock. And what did her dad say? “It is a very stereotypical German thing, but you wanted it and we hope you enjoy it.” My mother sat there near tears. I didn’t have to wonder much longer why she had wanted this clock so badly or why she was so emotional about it. The story came pouring out of her. She told them that when she was young, her Mamaw had a cuckoo clock that had to be wound up every night. Mamaw had to pull a stool over and stand on it to do so. Now my friend’s mom was near tears as well. It brought them joy to see how much this clock meant to my Mom because of this childhood memory of her grandmother and she shared one of hers as well.
At the family reunion this summer, we shared this special memory, which I had never heard anyone talk about before and everyone was suddenly saying, “Oh yes, I remember that clock.” Many only remember Granddaddy winding it but Mom insisted Mamaw did. We talked about where the clock came from. One of the sons, I believe my Uncle JD, brought it home from Germany after World War II. We talked about where it might be now.
After we came home from the reunion and Mom got in her organizing mood, we starting going through Granny’s family pictures. I have been through these pictures more times than I can count. It had to be there but I cannot remember seeing it before. There, in the stack, was a picture of Mamaw, on a stool, winding the cuckoo clock. I posted it on our family facebook page for all to enjoy.