I was planning on writing about my grandfather today, who passed away two years ago yesterday. Then came the news of Maurice Sendak’s passing. I feel as if another grandfather has left me — and left us all.
This past weekend, I attended the Hudson Children’s Book Festival, which was an incredible event, well-organized and well-attended. Afterwards, my husband and I scoured the town of Hudson for antiques (and later, for me, some gourmet ice cream). We ended up finding the clock, pictured above. We’d been looking for just the right clock to for our dining room, something that reflected the style of our bungalow but wasn’t too stuffy or elegant. We found it in this clock, which hangs on our wall now. It refuses to keep the correct time, and keeps bonging at all the wrong hours, so I guess we have to fiddle with it. But none of that bothers me. I just like seeing it there and hearing its tick-tocking, and its irreverent, unexpected pronouncements.
I suppose that’s how I felt (and feel) about Maurice Sendak. He was the elder statesman of our industry, yet he remained its cheeky rebel, and his books marked time for all of our childhoods. Now that he’s gone, something will always be missing. We’ll no longer be comforted by the curmudgeonly surprise of him. Though we still have his amazing legacy of stories, the man behind them is no longer here to tell us what time it is.
I’m feeling reflective today, and off-kilter, and a little bit “down in the dumps,” as a wise man once said. But as my new-old clock bongs insistently at 10:42am, I know it’s probably just the way Mr. Sendak would like it.