Clockwork

A family heirloom.

By Sharon Riemer

Photo by Sunny Son.

As a young girl, Jennifer Dodge, 34, wasn’t allowed to touch the dark walnut mantel clock that had been in her family for 80 years. But as Dodge got older, she cleaned around the clock, careful not to nudge the Corinthian pillars that flanked its sides or disturb its round face and brass finish.

“I remember the first time, winding it up and hearing the chimes,” says Dodge, an executive administrative assistant and next in line to inherit the heirloom. “It was a centerpiece in my life.”

Her great-grandparents brought the precious timepiece over from Germany at the turn of the century. The clock, complete with two intricate winding keys, is marked with a black, charcoal inscription on its back of the family’s last name and the year 1982. Dodge’s grandmother endowed the mantel clock to her daughter (Dodge’s mother), the current owner, Jan Kamrath. Before that, Kamrath’s uncle and aunt had kept it safe. “The clock is part of my dad’s family,” Kamrath adds, but you wouldn’t get much if you hocked it at a pawnshop. “It just has sentimental value.”