When I was in my twenties, my parents ran a successful sub-Post Office. This was in the days before the existence of social media, before Smartphones and before everyone had email. Yes, we’re talking the days when people wrote to each other. A letter arriving in the post was so exciting back then.
Running alongside the Post Office was a shop. It sold stationery and packaging, as you’d expect from a Post Office, but it also sold gifts. On a Saturday afternoon, when the Post Office shut for the day, the counter space was transformed into additional sales space and it was particularly lovely at Christmas when it would be full of toys. My younger brother had a Saturday job there and I would sometimes help out in the shop or Post Office when I was home from university.
When orders arrived for stock for the shop side, there would sometimes be a free gift and, when I was twenty/twenty-one, it was this clock.
Bright yellow, purple and green probably isn’t a combination that looks good in most (any) homes but I loved the quirkiness of it and especially loved that it had a supply of stationery in the back, so the clock became mine.
It sat proudly on my desk while I worked in TSB’s Head Office during my year out from university and I added a few stickers to it over the years to really personalise it. After I graduated, the clock became my thing. It travelled with me to every new job, always sat on my desk, and was often a talking point.
Sadly, after about twenty-five years of loyal service, my gorgeous little clock has ticked for the last time. It started losing time but, several new batteries and a clean later, it won’t tick at all. It has stood on my desk for a month now, not working, and I’m struggling to let go of it. I never used the stationery as I couldn’t bear the thought of any of it running out. The pens have long since dried up and the glue has … well I don’t know the technical term but it is now a solid lump.
I wondered why I was struggling to put the clock in the bin but I’ve decided that it’s because it really is the end of an era if I do that because that little clock is so much more than a clock. It represents my parents running their own business which inspired me to open my own teddy bear shop many years later. Because of the shop, I met my husband and he is the one who encouraged me to learn how to write properly and ultimately become an author. It also represents the highs and lows of my career to date – the positive experiences of running my own business and of meeting some amazing friends through work and the negative experiences of being bullied in the workplace and overlooked for promotion on several occasions. These life experiences have all helped shape my plots and characters into stories and people that feel real, because they are inspired by reality. So, for me, it’s not just a clock; it’s a lifetime of experience and I think that’s why it’s hard to say goodbye.
Do you have anything that represents an aspect of your life that you can’t let go of? Or perhaps, like me, you have something that has moved to all your jobs with you. I’d love to hear from you if you do.
For now, my little clock will sit on my desk for a bit longer. After all, my computer tells me the time. Do I really need my clock to do that? And it is telling me the correct time twice a day too.