An annual trip into history

Ellen Emery

There are numerous catalogs that arrive at our home.

Each one is looked at carefully for any treasure that I might find in the printed publication.

Last week I noticed a new item in one catalog, an item that truly saddened me.

The description was a “Faceless Watch”!

The watch had no hour or minute hand.

There were no numbers from 1 to 12 indicating the hour of the day.

The face of the watch was a flat surface with a digital reading of the hour and minutes similar to the reading on your cellphone or iPad.

Long before the now retired Clockman opened a shop selling clocks and began his business repairing clocks, our home was filled with ticking, striking antique clocks.

Each one in our home holds meaning of a treasured family member or perhaps of a purchase made of a desired clock.

As I write this column, I can hear each one ticking and striking the hour.

One clock holds a special memory for me.

The large cuckoo clock at the end of the hallway in our Bombay home once hung in my grandparents’ home in Skaneateles.

Whenever I visited my grandparents (now more than 70 years ago), I would wait for my grandfather at noontime.

He would wind the beautiful nearly 3-foot-high cuckoo clock by pulling the chains with my limited assistance as I knelt on a dining room chair beside him.

When he had completed his task, he would stable the chains by placing his hand between the chains.

When I hear the clock strike, I not only know the time.

But there also are wonderful memories of a beautiful time spent with my grandfather.

I can look at the carved face of this clock and know it is 7:32.

As I now hear the clocks in our home again, I am saddened knowing there is now a generation who will no longer be able to read the face of a clock.

Learning to tell time was always part of the elementary student’s curriculum.

How proud a child was when they were able to look at the face of a clock and announce the time of day.

It is easy to periodically check the time on the face of our phone, but I certainly hope that method of telling time will not replace watching the face of a watch or clock.

I hope there are memories of clocks passing from generation to generation in your home — working clocks sharing the time and remembrances of loved ones.

I also hope we all continue to learn to tell time as the hour hand ticks around the circular face of a clock pausing on the hour and half hour to let us know time has passed.

And I hope a faceless watch will be a discontinued item in the next catalog received.


Jackie Mitchell will celebrate her birthday on Aug. 23.

I first met Jackie in the then-Massena Observer office on Main Street.

I always enjoy time with Jackie and her family.

Have a great day, Jackie!


Our youngest son, Gregg, was born in the Massena Hospital, grew up in Bombay and is a 1990 graduate of Salmon River Central School.

He has always loved sharing his impressions and thoughts through painting and sketching.

There were a number of times when he sketched as he watched hockey games in the Massena Arena or at the St. Lawrence Centre Mall, capturing the people he met and the events he watched unfold before his eyes.

Gregg now lives in New York City where he teaches art at a private school.

He continues to sketch those he meets in the city — when he stops for coffee or during an evening out or on the subway.

Gregg has a studio with a beautiful view of the city where he creates amazing paintings.

It was those paintings that appeared recently in a nationally televised program.

A few days ago, I received photos of a television program called “The Last O.G.,” which aired on TBS.

When I looked at the photos Gregg had sent, I looked at actress Tiffany Haddish and noticed the painting hanging on the wall behind her — yes, it was a Gregg Emery painting!

This week, I visited with Gregg to talk about his paintings that can be seen in the Tracy Morgan/Tiffany Haddish program.

He told me he had a friend who had seen his paintings at a recent show in New York.

This friend, Gregg explained, works on several TV shows behind the scenes.

She was passing by a meeting and overheard that they were looking for “abstract” paintings to adorn the walls of the fashion design offices for Season 2 of the Tracy Morgan series, “The Last O.G.”

Gregg was contacted, and three of his paintings were selected to use in the show.

The paintings were “rented for the shoot,” Gregg said.

After the paintings were picked up from Gregg, he said he “was waiting and hinting to friends, but I wasn’t able to share that my art played a small part in this production until the show aired. It aired this spring, and several friends called or contacted me asking if those were my paintings in the background.”

He said he then downloaded the episodes to watch and “enjoyed the show while also looking over the character’s shoulders for glimpses of my circle paintings. It felt incredible, and I felt so lucky to have my works chosen and showcased on national TV.”

As we visited about his paintings being included in the nationally aired television program, Gregg also told me that “growing up in the north country, I never imagined that I would be an internationally showing artist in New York City, an artist with paintings adding to the environment of such a great show with such amazing actors!”

I know for a fact Gregg’s parents are extremely proud of both of their sons.

But this week they are especially proud of the artist from Bombay having his work exhibited in a national TV show.

I apologize for any partiality shown.

But I thought perhaps Gregg’s many friends throughout the north country would be interested in his latest adventure through his art.


“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”

— Ronald Reagan

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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