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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2002323-Cleaning-Away-Society-of-Yesteryear
by J'nell
Rated: 13+ · Essay · Environment · #2002323
An act such as cleaning can open your mind to the past. We've come a long way baby!
This weekend provided some time for digging in the piles of relics we have set aside for our upcoming antique show. There is something magical about this time we spend rediscovering collectables we have gathered all year, and put away for safe keeping until Bouckville is upon us. Tom has a few beauties that he discovered on his own, without me even knowing.
This weekend brought me face to face with one of Tom’s finds; a vintage 1970’s Timex display case. The cylindrical display case stands 7 feet tall and has compartments for over 70 watches easily on it’s compartmentalized plastic shelving. There is a little door in the back with a key, to keep out curious hands. The compartment is made totally of 1970’s low grade plastic. The towering treasure trove is trimmed in sliver chrome. There is a round silver center that shimmers as it turns. The best part of this display case is the lighting. As the shelves turn, they are illuminated! At the top TIMEX is spelled out several times in red plastic trimmed with silver edging. The plastic is opaque, so the words light up too. As I studied it for the first time, I was taken back in time. What a grand display this would have been in it’s time!
The years had been good to this beautiful display case. In fact the aging of this display case had been caused right in the era of it’s operation. This beautiful 1970’s collectable was, in fact, coated with more tar and nicotine than a poker club on a Friday night. Memories came rushing back as I began my quest to free this beautiful chrome-lined castle from the tobacco curse bestowed upon it.
The seven foot cylindrical display case was now covered with an orange brown haze which made it hard to actually see inside. The chrome on the little door with the key had deep drip marks of tar and soot. Even the round plastic shelves inside the case were covered with orange brown tar. The light inside emitted only a yellow glow, as it too, was prisoner of the smoke. The red lettered TIMEX with the silver trim actually appeared to have no trim. I realized at this time how popular smoking was in the 1970’s.
I was taken back in time to the days of my childhood. I had seen a case similar to this one in Jones’ Tobacco store where my grandma worked. As I cleaned, I reflected upon how this case became so soiled. Did this case come out of a similar tobacco shop? Did everyone that came in this tobacco shop smoke a cigarette while they window shopped for watches? Did the cashier that worked in the store chain smoke? There were circular areas on the shelf that were clean. Was this where the watches were? Does that mean that the watches that were sold were covered with a layer of tarry soot too? Oh, just to be able to go back in time and see this display in it’s prime. All my questions would be answered.

Half way into a roll of tar stained paper towels, came more memories of the 1970’s. My mind drifted away, remembering how almost every grownup who was anybody, had a cigarette dangling from their mouths. People actually walked in and out of businesses, puffing away. Is this how my new found object of interest became such a hot mess? My thoughts drifted to the fire we had as a child. As I cleaned, I remembered how thick the smoke was on all our belongings. I remembered how we cleaned and cleaned with Windex, restoring many things to a useful state. My quest to clean the TIMEX tower now grew. I would make her as beautiful as she was the day she entered her store!
I am about half way through my cleaning quest. Yes, the TIMEX letters DO have silver chrome outlines. The plastic exterior is once again clear as are the shelves on the inside. The outside silver chrome and the interior silver cylinder are indeed once again silver. I still have to tackle the light and the many nooks and crannies on the shelving. I will bring her back to good as new! The TIMEX castle will stay this way as she enters the era of 2014, a time when no one smokes in public.
© Copyright 2014 J'nell (javenia at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2002323-Cleaning-Away-Society-of-Yesteryear