Postcards from Clockworld

By Tonja Matney Reynolds

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Dearest Bob,

            I’m having a lovely time at Clockworld. At noon yesterday, three hundred grandfather clocks chimed at once. I had to cover my ears, it was so loud. They have clock-themed books, analog and digital clocks, and an entire room dedicated to Mickey Mouse watches. They even have pocket watches like the one your grandfather used to carry. I considered buying you one, but decided against it.

            I know you forbade me to bring another clock home, but I did. I did it for me.




Dear Bob,

            I’ve stumbled upon the most magnificent place: the Yarn Barn. They have the softest baby blanket yarn that I’ve ever touched in my whole life. It was on sale, so don’t worry. They have a master knitting instructor teaching a class in just a few days. They gave me one free class for every box of yarn. I’m going to start my own baby blanket knitting business, Bob. I’m going to make blankets exactly like the one Janie used to carry around.

            I am so hopeful, Bob. Please be excited for me, just this once. 

            In response to your message, I want to say one thing. Your exact words were, “I forbid you to bring one more piece of crap into this house.” You literally forbade me. Stop trying to make me feel like I’m making things up, like I’m crazy or something. I’m not crazy. And I don’t need you to make rules for me. I’ve decided all on my own to thin my collections to make room for my baby blanket knitting business. I’ll start reorganizing as soon as I get home. Maybe you could help me put up some shelves. I saw some fabulous ones at IKEA.

            Tell Jack I love him. I think of him constantly.


Future owner of Baby Blankets By Margie!



            You will be pleased to know that I do not have a natural talent for knitting. I’m not giving up though. I found a knitting DVD at a flea market. I can practice the same lesson over and over again, a hundred times if I need to. I know I will learn it eventually.      

            Don’t ever call me a hoarder or use the f-word with me again. Collecting and hoarding are not the same thing—not even close. And I will not forget about my f-ing passions and drop everything to come home to you. Did you use that language in front of Jack? Maybe that’s why he won’t come out of his room. Did you consider that?

            And you’re wrong. Janie was just as sensitive as Jack, maybe more. How do you not know that?

            Jack likes pepperoni pizza. Janie liked pineapple. No wonder he lost it. He thinks it’s his fault, you know. Just leave him alone. Leave me alone. Let us all breathe.



Dear Bob,

            I just stumbled upon the cutest little city-town north of Cincinnati. There’s one hotel within walking distance of the antique shops. The hotel is a restaurant and a hotel. It’s historic!

            I saw something in the window of the antique store right across the street from my room. It’s that one special thing I’ve been searching for. I’m ready to come home now. Tell Jack I’ll be home in two days.

             I don’t know why you’re so worried about Jack staying in his room all the time. That’s how teenagers are. And he’s always been especially quiet. After everything that happened, you can’t expect him to suddenly want to go out to parties or have friends over. Just take him to his appointments and give him some room to breathe. We’re mourning, Bob. You’re the only one who isn’t.


P.S.  A large package will be arriving in two days. Please put it inside the house so it doesn’t get ruined. I’ll take care of it when I get home. Trust me, you’ll be glad I bought it.



            You did not lose the dog inside the house! He likes to hide behind the boxes. Sometimes he knocks over my magazine collection, but he’s little—he shouldn’t be able to knock over anything that could hurt him. He’s perfectly safe. You worry about the silliest things.

            If the package is bothering you and taking away all your air and precious space, take it up to Janie’s room. Please be careful with it. It’s a grandfather clock with pink and purple etching on the case like those swirls she used to write all over her notebooks. The mechanics are broken— it doesn’t chime or tick. It’s beautiful and peaceful and still. She would have loved it.    

            You were supposed to go with Jack to the two-hour appointment. It was meant to be a  family session.

            Don’t touch Jack’s things. Let him feel his pain how he needs to feel it. He won’t do anything desperate—I know it in my heart. He wouldn’t make me bury both of my children.  

            Tell Jack it wasn’t his fault. He needs to hear it from you. Car wrecks happen. They happen every day. Nothing’s really under our control, ever. It was just a drive to the grocery store. How can that be his fault? How can it be anyone’s fault?

– Tonja Matney Reynolds