In rural Indiana, as young girl, I lived in my paternal grandparent's
backyard, in a little trailer with my mother. She worked full time,
while I happily spent most of my days in the bustling household of
my dear grandparents, aunt and three uncles. My youngest uncle,
who is six years older, and I had the most fun on warm summer
afternoons down the road at Mr. Tinkle's shed.
Mr. Tinkle (yes, that was his real name) was a scrubby, Darby O'Gill
kind of guy, missing a few teeth and always sporting a worn wool cap.
He was the local fix-it man, tinkering on small appliances, but mostly
clocks. It would take a second or two for my eyes to adjust to the cool
dark shed from the bright summer sun. Inside was the curious,
intriguing scent of motor oil, mixed with old dank wood. Lots of junky
parts, covered with a layer of grease and grime, littered the dirt floor
of his shed. Tinkle, bent over the guts of a clock, always brightened
when we dropped in for a friendly chat. On one particular visit, he
gave me a small pink flamingo salt shaker.
To this day, I am drawn to vintage wind-up alarm clocks, and have
more than a few scattered around the manor. Those delightful, lazy
afternoons, in Tinkle's shed just might have something to do with it.
(Here's a picture of my grandparents' house and our trailer in the
back. That's one of my uncles pulling my trusty red Radio Flyer
wagon. Okay, I know. The cars are dating me. The top photo is my
great grandmother's kitchen clock. I'm told my grandmother would
use it to keep time, on school mornings in the early 1920s, in Flora,