Dedi’s Alarm Clock

Dedi’s alarm clock when Baba was in Chicago


We have a lot of relatives scattered around the country. Long before I was born, the family was mostly concentrated in Baltimore, MD, Berwyn (near Chicago) IL, and Spillville Iowa. Dedi’s (my grandfather’s) work for the B&O railroad got family members free or cheap tickets, depending on the destination.

Babička usually went to Berwyn once a year for many decades. She would stay with Cousin Anne and Uncle Vince Kucera, shopping with Cousin Anne, sightseeing, going to the Hrbitov (cemetery), visiting with other relatives and would come home with bags of goodies and presents, embroidery projects and so on.


So one year there was a bit of a problem. My Dedi was a *very* heavy sleeper. He depended on Babička to wake him each night when he was on the midnight shift. He did fine when he was assigned to day or evening, but to get up at 11 to be at work at midnight was an issue. He would get to sleep in the early afternoon, no problem, but by 11pm he was still out like a light……

So Babička got him a *big* alarm clock. It was over a foot tall and of the type where a ball on a wire rattled back and forth whacking two bells. I still remember it from when I was small. It was HUGE and it was LOUD!

Babička trotted off to Berwyn. Dedi saw her off at the train station, came home, set his alarm clock, and went to bed. The alarm clock went off…. Dedi didn’t wake. It kept going until the neighbors came over and banged on the door and then finally threw rocks at his bedroom window and broke it before it woke! …and he was late for his shift, but his shift manager laughed because he thought it was funny.



The next day, after he fixed the window, Dedi got smart, he thought. He brought Baba’s cooking pots and roasters and pie pans and balanced the alarm clock on top of them before he went to sleep, thinking it would be loud enough. ….Dedi didn’t wake. The neighbors, even a block away, did, and boy were they mad!

He had to fix two windows the next day, after his foreman chewed him out for being late, but he made a deal with the neighborhood for someone to come wake him every night for the time that Baba was away!


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Page Created and published 11/25/21 (C)M. Bartlett
Last updated 11/25/21