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Smith: Mom Nature will whack the clock

  • Chris Smith

Rosemarie Bergin was interested to read that the earthquake nine days ago revived the old grandfather clock that a Petaluma woman presumed was broken and forever frozen in time.

Bergin was in Sacramento when the temblor struck and didn’t feel a thing, she said. When she returned to her home in Santa Rosa, there was this tick-tick-ticking.

It was the hand-wound clock that her brother brought her years ago from Korea.

“It hasn’t ticked in over a decade, but there it was, ticking and chiming,” Bergin said.

For a professional perspective on this phenomenon of an earthquake reactivating old clocks, I checked with Lloyd and Rose Watson of Santa Rosa’s Time Standing Still clock-repair shop.

They’re busy right now, tending to clocks toppled or tipped by the quake. Regarding a temblor restarting rather than breaking a clock, Lloyd said it’s possible that a jolt will knock free a clock drum or wheel that’s been stuck on a pin.

But experience tells him also that sometimes a presumably broken grandfather clock simply hasn’t had its pendulum swung hard and far enough to get the thing going.

“Everyone’s afraid of their clock,” Lloyd said. He observed that wound, chiming clocks typically are durable machines, but folks tend to kid-glove and fret about breaking them.

An earthquake doesn’t have that problem.

HELLO, LOUISVILLE: Teacher and FFA advisor Beth Swehla of Boonville’s Anderson Valley High is catching her breath, counting money and making travel plans for five.


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