posted November 14, 2023
My only brother, Gary, recently passed away. He was only 58. In my eulogy I mentioned our mom’s cuckoo clock. My brother was an audio engineer for radio broadcasting, and as a young boy he took clocks and radios apart to see how they worked. We used to sit and watch the bird come out of Mom’s cuckoo clock.
I decided to dig that clock out of the box (from when our mom died) and get it repaired. The woman at the shop said it was German from the 1940s. She knew this because the animals were upside down for the blood to spill out of them after being slaughtered for a meal. She also told me that the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) complained about this detail. Ironically, I was wearing my Beauty Without Bunnies PETA hat at the time. I told her I was one of those PETA-supporting Vegans.
I asked if I could sell her the clock since I never looked that closely and the dead animal detail did not work for me. However, the clock shop recommended not to give up a family heirloom with memories. Instead, they promised to turn the animals right-side up so they’d be alive and well. The un-dead animals are now glued in an upright position.
Fast-forward to the Main Street Vegan Academy’s Master Class in April, 2023 when Ingrid Newkirk, founder and president of PETA was a guest speaker. I was able to recount the tale of what happened at the clock shop.
Ingrid believes that I made an impact with the people at the clock shop, and that they will be repeating the story of my request for a long time to come. I loved that I could say I was wearing my Cruelty Without Bunnies PETA hat when this all happened.
My newly righted clock is on display in our home. It brings back childhood memories and I am glad I can show it cruelty-free.
How far do we Vegans go? Every one of us is an individual. One cannot label us as all the same. Some Vegans do it for the animals, others for their health, or to protect the environment. Many identify with a combination of these or others: spirituality, esthetics, human rights. Regardless, some of us will accept certain things and some will draw a more definite line in the sand. There is no right or wrong way to be a Vegan. We must choose our own path each day.
Cherie Hans holds certifications from Dr. McDougall’s Starch Solution and Dr. Campbell’s Plant-Based Nutrition programs. She holds a Master of Science in Bilingual Education from St. John’s University, NY, and a Bachelor of Arts from the City University of NY: Queens College in English and Spanish, and currently teaches adults in English as a Second Language. After graduating from Main Street Vegan Academy, Cherie started the blog Fit and Fifties Vegan. She is from Queens, New York, but now resides in New Jersey with her husband and many rescued cats.