Wednesday, March 22, 2017

What I Waste My Time On: The Music Box

I have lots of projects and humdrum tasks waiting on me every day, like most people I suppose. I try to be responsible and get them done when I should. But then something comes along and there I will go, wasting hours on something probably not worth the time, except to me.



Like this little jewelry box. I bought it at an auction last month and it carried me right back to childhood when my sister Judy got one similar to this for Christmas. Knowing Judy, she still has it because she took good care of her things. I got a jewelry box too but it was not nearly as pretty, in my jealous eyes. Mine was probably blue leatherette, the kind with gold designs on the top. If mine had a music box and dancing ballerina I don't remember it.

But Judy's! It was black lacquer with fascinating Oriental designs, and a ballerina that twirled and danced when the box was opened, if the music box was wound up. It was beautiful beyond description in my eyes. My parents probably chose the recipient wisely because my stuff usually got torn up. I wore out or broke every doll and toy I had as a child, while Judy took careful care of hers. So had that amazing jewelry box been mine, there is no doubt in my mind I would have destroyed it. Judy may still have it, come to think of it, and it's probably in great condition unless I broke something on it.

The one I bought at the auction was in bad shape, really. It was very dirty on the outside, and the music box was frozen and could not be wound up. The mirrors were going bad too, but the inside velveteen was clean and nice, thank goodness.


I stuck it on my dresser and figured one day I'd clean it up and see if I could get it to work. We've had a little success working on other music boxes so I was hopeful. One day a few weeks ago I cleaned it up and sprayed some WD-40 into the music box, then let it sit. The little lady was patient; she just sat there and waited on me.

Sunday morning I tried to wind it. No dice. It was still stuck fast. I got out little screwdrivers and figured the worst I could do to it was no worse than it already was. I got some penetrating oil and after I had the music movement out of the jewelry box I sprayed it and let it sit for a few minutes.

And then I fiddled and fiddled and fiddled...for two hours, trying to get it to go. I took off and put back parts, gently prodded the keywind and other parts, and just as I was about to give up, voila! The parts began to turn.

I put it all back together, and of course, it didn't work. Took it out, put it back and finally by manually turning the key, the lady began to dance. The spring was evidently wound much too tight or something because I turned it by hand a long, long time before there was no more wind in it.

I left it alone for the rest of the day and in the evening tried again. It worked! the lady spun and danced, the music played, and I was as happy as I was when I was a child, watching my sister's music box ballerina.

So now I have my own dancing ballerina music box at last. I am kind of embarrassed at the amount of time and energy I put into it, but I smile every time I see it. And I travel back in time whenever I wind it up and watch the lady dance.



Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have a music box very much like that one from my childhood. Mine had a dancing Geisha inside. As a child I removed the little doll and let my pet parakeet sit inside to chirp at the mirrored reflection of himself. Luckily my dad kept the doll & fixed the box up to return it to me when I was an adult. I love mine too.
Batsy in Idaho

Bbj said...

There is something magical about a music box! I am sure we all can relate to this lovely story! It looks so sweet-and brings back memories of days past! I love this blog-thank you!!!

Granny Sue said...

Good of your Dad to rescue yours, Batsy. And you still have it! Amazing. The only childhood toy I still have is a little blue willow teapot, missing its lid. And my book of Grimm's fairy tales, badly worn and marked up. I was hard on things!

Granny Sue said...

Bbj, welcome! I am so glad you stopped by.

Bbj said...

Thank you
Love your stories!

Quinn said...

Oh, Sue, this tale speaks to me deeply! I also was a child who hankered for the magical belongings of others and was told, probably quite rightly but still painfully, that "she can have nice things because she takes care of them!"
Congratulations on freeing the little dancer from the evil spell that kept her little feet locked in place. Huzzah!!!

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