What memorable sounds surround you at home? | Ancient information and history education


When I was a child, there were two things about our farm that bothered me on a daily basis. One was the emergency scanner, which carried frequent screams from county radio dispatchers relaying calls from the police and fire department. It also emitted periodic shrill radio tones – a different one for each fire company – whenever a fire crew was dispatched. The other downside was the beautiful cherry wood mantel clock which, as we didn’t have a real fireplace in our house except in our unheated summer kitchen, sat on the living room bookcase.

The fireplace clock kept the perfect time and reminded you of it every 15 minutes day or night. Bing bang, bing bang. Bing bang, bing bang. Bing bang, bing bang. Bing bang, bing bang. At a quarter past one, the timed player struck the first set of bing bangs and at the half hour, he struck two sets of bing bangs, followed by three sets at a quarter of an hour. As the next hour rolled around, the mantel clock would strike four full sets and then strike the hour, which made quite a commotion, especially at midnight when you were trying to sleep amidst twelve long rings of the clock. .

It was a toss-up that I was more against. The scanner was sort of a necessity, as my father was a lifetime member of Cleona Fire Co. No. 1 and one of the licensed drivers of his fire truck. While he could say his services were needed when the local fire siren sounded, the scanner provided additional information – although it was the same information he would receive once he reached the firehouse. firefighters and would have accessed it on the radio.

I learned to sleep thanks to the loud chime of the clock, but never got used to the talent he had of always bing-bangering the most critical part of TV shows our family gathered to watch. in the living room. It was maddening to see the criminal’s surprise confession or the verdict of the judges of a talent show drowned out by the pretty little clock in the library.

The scanner had a series of red lights flashing up front as it searched for the next radio transmission to broadcast over the air. The volume was usually turned up to be heard anywhere throughout the first floor and, again, this hearing discomfort always seemed to come to life at the worst possible time, like when I was on the phone with my friends or trying out. to study for a test.

Now that my parents are both gone, I guess it’s fair to say that I did my best to sabotage that damaged scanner. I once “accidentally” broke the top of the scanner antenna. I was afraid I would be in big trouble for this. Fortunately or unfortunately, this had no effect on the reception of the scanner, so I only asked for an apology. My most effective strategy as I got older was to turn the volume all the way down when no one was watching. That way the red lights would continue to flash as always, but the scanner would be silent, giving me at least a few minutes of peace and quiet until someone noticed they hadn’t heard any calls from. fire lately.

As for the clock that struck, my mother sometimes forgot to wind it and blessed silence reigned, but it didn’t take long for her to realize that the sounds of the house were missing something. She would rewind the clock and life would go on, measured by the quarter of an hour.

My dad retired as a fire truck driver, but the scanner continued to chuckle until, one by one, the different crystals in the different channels became obsolete as the agency’s equipment emergency management department was shifting to new technologies. Firefighters began to wear pagers and receive their fire calls that way. Soon it wasn’t even necessary to sound the fire siren to let everyone know there was a fire.

The clock has remained on top of the living room bookcase, but has not been wound up for I don’t know when. It wasn’t a priority, since I never cared about his intrusions anyway. Funny, though, how nostalgia can change your mind about things.

Recently, a few long-awaited replacement windows were installed on our farm. One of these windows is right next to the clock. While putting things in order afterwards, I dusted and polished the furniture in the room, including the clock. When I dusted it underneath, I stumbled upon the clock’s instructions. They were from many years ago, when my parents received it as a Christmas present from my grandparents, who also gave the same gift to their three other children.

Among those papers I found a note that read: “Mrs. Bowman, here are the lyrics to your Westminster carillon. ‘Lord through this hour, be our guide, so by your power no foot shall slip.’ Merry Christmas, Pete H., jeweler. The words sang in the bing-bongs in my head.

Of course you know what I did next. I wound up this clock. Maybe the silence isn’t so golden after all.


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