Thursday, August 25, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday - The Dinner Bell

Everyone has heard the phrase "ring the dinner bell" but do you actually have one? The photo above is the dinner bell now being used by a third generation. It may have been used earlier, but I am not sure of it's past history. It is a brass bell 4 inches from top to bottom and 2 1/2 inches across. As you can see it is stamped "India". It may have been brought back as a souvenir by my aunt and uncle who traveled there.

My mother used it in the 1940s and 1950s to call everyone home from play for meals. With 9 kids in the family she would have had laryngitis if she had called for each one of us separately. Or called out, as she put it, the "Litany of the Saints". Besides Mom thought it rude to yell and disturb others.

As my children were growing up, their neighborhood was wide and far ranging. Somehow they always heard the bell when they could ingore other calls and sounds. The ring of the bell is melodious and distinctive. The fct that it usually meant food also helped. On rare occasions, the bell was used other than at mealtimes. It was always successful at calling kids home!

Today the dinner bell is used by my daughter's family to summon people to meals. It even penetrated closed bedroom doors on the second floor. When used on the front porch to call those out playing in the neighborhood, it is much less intrusive that yelling out names and messages. Even though everyone has a cell phone, ringing the bell is much easier than calling 4 or 5 phones and no one says "I didn't hear you!".