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When The Bell Tolls One


Sadly, my older sister passed away December 2010 from a 2 year battle with ovarian cancer. In her will she left me her condo in San Diego. About a year later (last December) my fiance and I were staying at the condo to pack her things up and to decide what got donated and what we would keep. A beautiful floor-standing grandfather clock my mom had given me upon her death back in 1987 that used London's old Big Ben chiming sounds at the 15-minute intervals was positioned in the front entryway. (Years back I had dropped off the clock at my sister's condo for her to keep the clock since I wasn't settled down yet and was still moving around, and I didn't want to scratch or break it in the many moves I was making). Per usual, the clock was not running (my sister had told me many times she never ran it because the chimes kept her awake) and we hadn't noticed -- nor cared --what time it had last stopped at.

One day when we were packing for a Salvation Army donation pickup my fiance and I were rushing around because we had scheduled a pickup for 2 PM and were frantically trying to get everything together before they showed up with the truck. Because we had traveled from a different time zone which was one hour ahead of San Diego time, and had not bothered to set our watches, we were using our home time, an hour ahead. At the same time, there weren't any other working clocks in the condo (one was a wind-up, but it had run down and stopped that morning.) This forced us to mistakenly assume it was going on 2 PM when it was actually going on 1 PM local time -- unbeknownst to us giving us another hour to get the boxes packed before the movers arrived and making our need to rush frantically around completely unnecessary.

Suddenly, when we were both about to lose it because of our frantic rushing to pack, the grandfather clock in the entryway, which had not been running, launched into its Big Ben melody, chiming the 1 PM hour -- the exact time it actually was! Shocked, I walked over to it and, sure enough, it was indeed running -- the pendulum was swinging and it was, in fact, chiming the 1 o'clock hour. Of course, we both realized we still had an hour before the movers arrived, and while shocked the clock had inexplicably gone off, breathed a sigh of relief that we had more time.

Now I ask you, the reader: Was this my sister reminding me of the correct San Diego time, and alerting us to the fact that we still had another hour to pack before the movers got there and to stop rushing around like idiots, or was it some sort of coincidence? Knowing what a stickler my sister had been in life over details, the time of the day being one, I tend to think it was the former.

However, I do posess a practical mind, and I understand that there exist occurrances of many small ongoing tremors in the San Diego area due to its location on active faultlines, and that one of these tremors could have possibly started the clock's pendulum to start swinging, but, how in the world does a practical mind explain the fact that the clock started up right at the exact, correct local time, and at a time when our knowing the real time was so consequential?

When I really give it some thought I have to say, "Thanks, sis."

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, satellite7, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

satellite7 (1 stories) (3 posts)
12 years ago (2012-08-21)
No, I don't think you're insensitive. I think it's funny too -- you'd have to know my sister to understand why she would do something like that.
RabbitHeartedGirl (2 stories) (19 posts)
12 years ago (2012-08-05)
I just read that message back. Hope it doesn't sound too insensitive. Sowii xxx
RabbitHeartedGirl (2 stories) (19 posts)
12 years ago (2012-08-05)
Haha. How random is that. You hear stories about passed family members coming back to give an important sign or message. Your sister came back to tell you it was 1'oclock! I love it!x
satellite7 (1 stories) (3 posts)
12 years ago (2012-08-04)
it would have continued working, but it had to be packed up for the move back to Arizona so we stopped it and wrapped the pendulum in a blanket for transport. At home we don't tyypically run it, just when friends are visiting. As a matter of fact, I'm looking at it now, half-wondering if it'll start up again...
satellite7 (1 stories) (3 posts)
12 years ago (2012-08-04)
yes, and if you had known her personality with its punctuality, it all clicks into place.
Cliney1212 (4 stories) (121 posts)
12 years ago (2012-08-04)
Did the clock continue to work after the 1pm chime? Does it keep the correct time now? I think if it no longer works then it was definitely your sister no doubt... If it has continued to work then ok it could be a coincidence... ❤
BadJuuJuu (guest)
12 years ago (2012-08-04)
It seems to me like your sister was trying to let you know there was no need to panic over the time. Although I'm usually willing to accept a coincidence as an explanation, too many coincidences happened here. It was very kind of her to step in and tell you to calm down.

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