dailybell: BACKGROUND

Sunday, December 30, 2007


My bell is sitting in the backyard at the moment. It's all rusty. Tomorrow my husband, Norman Tuck and I will clean it up and figure out how to mount it in the back of my little Honda. I figure if it's in my car, I can ring it no matter where I am at sundown each day. Sad, but true.

The bell comes from my father-in-law's farm in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. His name was Ben Tuck and he had collected cast iron bells. Lots of them. His goal was to collect 48 bells- one for each state at the time. After he died, the bells sat on the farm for many years until most of the collection was sold at auction in the 1990's. We saved one of the bells, and it has sat around for almost a decade. Unrung.

For 5 weeks last year, I attached another bell to a small trailer on the back of my Honda and towed it 8100 miles around the country. I rang it and invited everyone I met to ring it. I learned how to ring the bell while driving by pressing and releasing the accelerator in time with the natural resonance of the swinging bell. At the end of the journey, I gave the bell to the Exploratorium in San Francisco where the Explainers ring it everyday to announce closing time.

During the Bell Project, I became very attached to the company of the 250 lb bell I was hauling around. I looked forward to ringing it each day and was comforted by the sight of the bell in my rear view mirror. When I delivered the bell to the Exploratorium, I felt untethered. Since that time, I have been searching for a way to incorporate the bell into my daily life. I have wanted to find a way to spark a connection that a tolling bell can awaken among the people who hear it.

No comments: