“A Door Like No Other”
“Mom was always One of a Kind”
Short essay to describe a situation where Mom presents a color for our
front door of our only home we built from the basement up.
Written by Robin Elizabeth Oldrieve Cochran
July 29, 2015
********************Check out Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors at:
Many exciting, along with strange things, went on between my parents over
their 46 years of marriage. Their life was one of mostly ‘wedded bliss,’ while
they each were independent and head strong. One absurd occurrence was in
the year of 1964, when we were building a split level in a community development
neighborhood called, “Bretton Ridge” in North Olmsted. Dad had transferred
from Plum Brook, Sandusky, Ohio where he had been on a team. He was facing
a new position at Lewis Research Center in Cleveland. We felt there was a little
tension in his appearance and he had a shorter fuse when it came to daily
Mom tended to be more laid back and was letting go of our regular schedule,
while we lived in a ‘rental’ home as the home was built.
The house was a split level, where every 5 or 6 houses in the neighborhood
had the same design. It was white with aluminum siding and a half brick front,
below the picture window in the front. The door had white primer paint on it,
when the last finishing touches came about.
Mom took us to a paint store in the shopping area known as Great Northern,
where we were able to choose the colors of our rooms. I went with a bright
violet and wished for three walls of lime green. Mom over-rode this with a light
spring green. I liked the idea of my white canopy bed’s head board being
against the bright purple, the other walls were not as ‘big a deal’ to me.
My brothers chose a Colonial blue, which went with a few of their Americana
decorations and they were pleased with this.
Mom held a bright pink “chip” of paint in her hand. In those days they didn’t
always have the different shades all on one ‘card’ or ‘strip.’ She had brought
a magazine in and shown them a “hot pink” decorated Florida living room.
I wondered about the pink and where it was going but did not hear about it
until dinner time.
My Dad’s first reaction, as he ‘hit’ the door at the rental place, was to take
off his loosened tie. You could tell he had loosened it on the drive home,
past all the airport traffic and the crowded Clevelanders heading west out
of the city on to Lorain Road until he reached the place we were staying.
My brothers and I had helped set the table and I was stirring butter into
corn that had been frozen, boiled, drained and now was in my Mom’s
pink melamine bowl. She was assigning my brothers napkins and silver
ware as my Dad entered the country kitchen in the older home we rented
Both brothers and I had been told adamantly NOT to bring up the paint
store until AFTER dinner, by Mom. She had even gone as far as to take
us to Dairy Queen to get our favorite flavored ice drinks called, Mr. Misty’s.
(We knew this to be a ‘bribe’ and we had promised to keep our mouths
shut. She had mentioned that her job at Westlake teaching high school
was very nice and she was comfortable there, while Dad was getting used
to a different more higher pressure job at NASA. Lewis Research Center
is now called, John Glenn Research Center or Glenn Research.)
My Dad let out a sigh and relaxed with some cold lemonade my Mom
made out of an instant package. It wasn’t Tang so it may have been the
“early” version of Countrytime Lemonade or it could have even been
Kool Aid lemonade flavor. Not sure. . .)
When each of us had a bun with sloppy joe mixture on our plates
and my Dad had two sandwiches, we had apple sauce and some
buttered corn. My brother, Ricky, was busy building a fort to prevent
corn “juice” from reaching his applesauce and had put his sloppy
joe on his napkin.
In these days, as younger children through our teen aged years, we all
held hands and said, “Grace.” It was nothing fancy but a simple act I
After dinner, we waited at the table to see if conversation would go towards
our trip to the paint store. Ricky broke the ‘code’ or ‘cardinal rule’ and was
impatient. In 1964, he was in Kindergarten and only 5 years old.
My Dad smiled, which we all were relieved since Ricky was excitedly telling
his Daddy that Randy and he were going to have a ‘pretty blue’ room and
“Robin was going to have a purple room!”
Dad didn’t seem phased by this information so Mom glided into her
beseeching mode, one which I recognized. Her bright, shiny (sometimes
glinting or flashing) emerald eyes softened intentionally, her mouth
seemed to purse a little, like it was Marilyn Monroe’s cheap imitation.
She used her most gentle and sweet toned voice,
“Bob-b-b” she drew out the sounds to make it seem like a question, all
by itself. She NEVER called him Bobby or rarely called him, Robert. It
was this beguiling way she used to ask only things she really wanted to
have or do, that worked like a charm with my Dad.
Full stomach, leaning back and smiling at her, he nodded.
He knew something was “up” but he didn’t think it could be anything like
a speeding ticket nor a big project for him to do.
Mom pulled out of her apron’s pocket (yes, my Mom wore an apron over
her teaching “school clothes,” folks.)
She held it out in her open hand, he took it and looked at it, then with a
clear voice said,
“So, Rosie. . .Where are we putting this bright pink in the house?”
She looked down for a moment, trying to compose her excitement and
then, could not hold back, with excited voice she said,
“That is the color of the front door of our new house!”
When people from out of town came to visit, My Dad or My Mom would
say, enter Bretton Ridge turn left on ______ Road then make a right
at Stafford Drive, go down about half way until you see a Concord Red
house and then a Colonial Blue house and across the street from this
is a split level with a hot pink door: That’s the home of the 5 R’s Oldrieve.
My Dad was instructed after the contractor painted all the rooms inside
and the bright pink door on the outside, to:
“Go outside on Saturday and paint every four bricks white and every
five bricks the leftover pink.”
This pink was not Pepto Bismol color.
No, it was like the hot pink you might see on a short mini skirt on a
magazine model. I would even go as far as to call it a Neon Pink.