My aunt and uncle, one of my dad's brothers, lived in Greenfield, Iowa, where they had a farm. Greenfield's biggest claim to fame was (is?) having served as the location for the 1971 movie Cold Turkey, directed by Norman Lear and starring Dick Van Dyke. It's hard to believe that someone from Moline, Illinois, could feel like a city mouse, but there I did. The smell of hogs and hay, the acrid well water we had to brush our teeth with, my Aunt June's Sunday wig . . . We all agreed she made the world's best pancakes.
My Uncle Wilmer passed away a few years ago, but I spoke to Aunt June, who's 84, just last week, when my mom went to visit her. She told me she wasn't doing so well, "though I try," and remarked on how strange the passage of time seemed: "Your cousin Roger turns 61 this year!"
I'm not sure how old I was when Aunt June and Uncle Wilmer came to visit years ago. Young enough to think of my bedroom as my "big girl's room." My parents had me bunk with my sister so our guests could use my big girl's double bed. The next morning, I remember being shocked to find a prized possession, my Buffy & Jody alarm clock, out in the hall next to the linen closet. The bedroom door was closed.
There's no question about it, the thing was loud. I thought of it recently when a manual clock I've had for years started driving me crazy in the middle of a restless night. I moved it into the next room, where it sits, its ticking still bugging me, even over music.