Thursday’s Doors ~ July 30, 2015


“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

remember well.

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.


About reocochran

I am experiencing crazy and hapless adventures in dating that may interest people over fifty. I am now approaching 62 later this year and enjoy taking photographs, incorporating stories or poetry on my blog. I have many old posts which are informative and written like essays. I have several love stories collected from family and friends. Even strangers spill their stories, since I am a grown version of the girl next door. I have been trying to live a healthy lifestyle with better food selections and active hiking and walking. I have written four children's books and illustrated them. They are not published but a battered women's shelter used one about neglect and abuse for their children's program and a 4H group used my "Kissing a Bunny is like saying a Prayer" as a coloring book. Please comment or respond so I may get a chance to know you. Sincerely, Robin

66 responses »

  1. Interesting choice. It’s hard to imagine if the bright pink was gaudy or cute.
    Every time I tell someone Moo’s room is orange, they think it sounds hideous, but it’s not. It’s terribly cute, much the color of cantaloupe.
    I once had an eggplant dining room, which people thought sounded terrible, until they were in it πŸ™‚
    My childhood room also had a canopy bed, although I had yellow walls and a spring green chest of drawers. I never was a purple girl, but two of my dearest friends and one of my daughters is.
    Color says a lot about people, and I bet your mother was a loving, cheerful woman.

    • Some people loved the door and most felt the overall effect of the period went right along with her choice. Mom is still a loving and cheery person, for whom I am blessed to be considered one of her “best friends,” Joey. I like the cantaloupe orange which may be a darker peach color and I like the eggplant color which sometimes has a deep purple tone, but it may be a dark green? I have not looked at paint samples for quite some time now.
      My teenager room had emerald green, lime green and yellow plaid curtains and this was my last room under my parents house, from 7th grade until one month after college (when I married) I had an attic alcove room with beige walls and posters framed with finishing wooden strips. I wanted to go orange but they knew it was the home stretch” towards retirement in 1978 for Dad and they then had a make cottage all in serene blues with lighthouse border in kitchen. Mom stayed close to her high school and worked one more year to retire and substitute in Vermilion, Ohio. It is such a quaint town, my niece lives in their home and her husband, baby and stepdaughter live there, too. They pay rent (whivh pays the taxes) and we hope to someday have a better housing market to sell it. It is a double lot on Lake Erie. It was my kids and my favorite vacation spot ever πŸ™‚
      Thank you for yesterday’s comment about Sissy and her large butterfly tagboard presentation which lasted 10 years πŸ™‚ her report would have filled in a few of the blanks on my brief scientific research I mentioned for August. Smiles, Robin

      • A cottage on the lake, so nice. It’s good it’s being used by the family. I hope one day you’ll sell it to someone fabulous. We are the first people not family to buy our home, and the family who owned it still owns several lots and houses here, slowly selling these 100 year old gems.
        I know you mother is still with you, and now I regret writing was, but I meant when she painted it πŸ™‚
        Yes, eggplant was dark purple.
        So are you not a purple person now? What color is your fave?
        Sissy had the blue morpho on a stick, Moo is only 11 πŸ™‚

      • Joey, I rewrote or edited the name when I was on my August calendar I realized this mistake. I will get kids straight as time goes by πŸ™‚
        I think my niece and family have already improved the living room of the cottage painting it an (inside) avocado or olive green color which makes the bricks of the fireplace stand out. Also, they took these huge bookcases away from the walls and blocked off a large room into bedroom and office. My Dad had built these redwood bookcases back in the house with the pink front door. πŸ™‚

      • Just noticed your question about my favorite color, now. I did have a lavendar, barn siding look to a bathroom in the house I had as an adult up until 2006. I used a light color and then combed it with a darker purple, they made a cream ‘ribbon’ across the top like a border, but read to make it look interesting to not do it perfectly straight, put violets in the ribbon. I have photos of all my hand-painted rooms in that house we buit from the ground up, Joey. I loved the peach colored laundry with 6 foot high sunflowers in there, along with one of those racks that people use to hang coffee mugs on, I found sunflower decorations to hang on those brown knobs. My apt is white, I have my oldest daughter’s charcoal and gray chalk drawing of three nudes which won her the Governor’s Award, paying a lot of her tuition for a school here called, Columbus College of Art and Design, so my sofa is gray, but I have an accent pillow with a red bird on it, along with golden and orange pillows on it to brighten the corner up. My cabinet hiding the t.v. is black, while I have an oak dining room table on an Asian, rust, blue and beige carpet. Thanks for asking my favorite colors. What are yours?

  2. Great post my friend. It’s always a blessings and very joyful to remember at times the conversation that went on within the family in one time or the other. Stay bless!

    • Thank you for such a kind comment and blessings sent to me. I will send the same back to you, my friend. Along with apologies for being out of touch and busy. I stopped at Verizon and am up and running with new cell phone and no more baseball games on Tues and Thurs to side track me. How have you bee? I will need to visit your blog πŸ™‚

  3. so funny – when i bought the cottage, my first house that i owned since my divorce, i changed the front door color many times, and with much personal meaning.

    • I like how you changed the front door of your sweet cottage multiple times, Beth. I really thought you could relate to this one! Just because we are like sisters in some of our life’s happenings. Color can really pop out and yet, doesn’t take too much to paint the front door all over again. Teachers, artists and creative souls out there can picture how this works out. Right? πŸ™‚

    • Jill, sorry you did not get your purple room. I like the sound of your lavender bedspread. Well, my one purple wall with 3 light spring green walls bedroom lasted only from third grade until 7th grade. Then I moved into an attic alcove room where I went from middle school, high school and stayed every other summer during college. I had emerald green, lime green and yellow bold plaid bedspread and curtains. I wanted an orange room but Dad insisted I keep this one beige or an off white. He would take finishing wooden strips to frame my posters so when they went to move to their retirement cottage, there was less painting to do. Thank you for saying this was a story you enjoyed. πŸ™‚

  4. This is a vey sweet story. Cute and honest expressions of children while having buttered corns. I believe your mom must have selected pink color for door as she was having a pink melamine bowl. Pink seemed to be her favorite. Your dad was so sweet to got the things done for his family happiness.

    • Rashmi, thanks for such a good observation about my Mom. She had dishes with the rose pattern on it along with her pink melamine serving bowls. Just liked them, I guess! Also, for listening in on the dinner conversation and noticing we liked our buttered corn. Hugs, Robin

    • Maybe you came to our 6294 Stafford Drive address in North Olmsted? Or another Rowan and Martin’s laugh in t.v. show follower? There were many women who liked the new bold neon colors and I see they are making a come back, Juan . . . πŸ™‚

      • So glad you know where I lived from 3rd grade until seventh grade. They were building a new North Olmsted junior high and my mom freaked out thinking 3 of her chick’s would be on half days so we moved into Bay Village and that’s where we stayed until they retired. Juan, I forget when you lived in Ohio?

  5. Down the street from us is a house that has a door with a tree carved into it. It’s a work of art, but I’m sure the people often curse it because they frequently have strangers in their front yard taking pictures of this unique door.

    • I am so glad you shared another outstanding person with unique taste and bold dramatic “flair!” Yes, the carved door would be with taking a photograph of, Anneli. πŸ™‚

  6. I love the imagery of stirring the butter into the corn. And who didn’t have a melamine serving bowl in 1964? I could hear your mother approaching your father the way she said, ‘Bob-b-b,’ like she was asking permission for something already decided.

    This is a choice bit of writing, Robin – a winner if there were an Essay of the Month Award – so fun to read! – Mike

    • Mike, you are a special friend who likes my work and family stories also. You are just so kind and I am glad you could hear my Mom’s tone of voice and knew her wish was not going to be denied. I tried out the lesser word “wheedling” and did not like it’s tone. Mom knew how to use her wiles, may have given the picture. Any time you can help me improve, Mike, please feel free to suggest. I would love to win but did enter a contest where I wrote a script for situation comedy. It did not merit ant note back so I keep trying to practice here on you, my victims. Ha ha!

  7. When I was in high school, I had a friend who’s mother had the entire house painted pink. Yes, every room was a different shade of pink. I don’t know how the father could stand it. Now, I love funky colors but I have to say, this was a bit overwhelming.

    We are actually going to slowly paint our apartment now that we’ve decided we will probably be staying there a while and I’m getting sick of looking at the white walls. I’m sure we will be coming up with some funky colors too!

    • Marissa you will have to fill us in on the how and whys for your color schemes. I bet it will be another Manic Monday or a psychedelic weekend. πŸ™‚
      Mom had a rose colored carpet, along with rose brocade fabric put over whatever color her parents had on their Victorian dining room chairs. We had a white flocked fake Christmas tree in the living room where handmade felt ornaments were in gold, pink or pea soup green colors. She made birds, bells and other ornaments, along with those glossy and glittery balls. The family room tree was more country with our own ornaments made of painted wood and our school stuff we made out of construction paper. We made popcorn strings and strung cranberries. How they stained our fingers! Well, cannot wait to hear about your white walls transformation, Marissa! πŸ™‚

      • Yes, well it will be a slow one. We are waiting for the weather to get cooler and then we are painting one room per occasion…so first on my birthday in Sept. daughter’s room will get painted, my son’s birthday in Oct will be his room, then Christmas the living room. This is to keep us from feeling overwhelmed all though we may change our mind and just want to paint the whole darn thing at once, once we get started.
        I’m getting a very country home sort of vibe from your childhood home. Decorating has been sort of out of the window ever since our nice red leather couches fell victim to CHILDREN!!! but hearing you describe these things is inspirational.

      • Marissa, have you ever heard when I moved to Delaware, Ohio I took care of 2-3 families’ children plus my own 3? We used a table for breakfast since who wants cereal in the sofa cushions?! We used floor cushions around the coffee table and in playroom used Little Tykes picnic table for little ones. I did this for 9 years of being the milk and cookies Mom, crafts, spirts, swimming, gymnastics and dance lessons all included in our schedule. My youngest boy babysitting client just got married snd I sat at front table with his parents as t reception. I potty trained him. My grown kids came and it was wonderful. The station wagon fit 8 kids.
        Point being, been there; done that with kids who did not mean to wear out things. I would have them help paint rooms. They are surprisingly good at this, Marissa. πŸ™‚

  8. When we toured Canada years ago the houses are painted in different colors, we were on the Coast driving where the towns thrive on Lobsters, I kept seeing these crate like contraptions on the sides of the homes. So one home was pink, the other side yellow, blue, black, etc. strangest thing I ever saw! Lovely area and people though. Great post Hugs Robin! Cheryl

    • I loved the visuals you shared of your trip to Canada where houses had different colors, Cheryl. I also love the idea of lobsters being on the menu often and even decorative lobster crates in matching colors to the homes. This makes me laugh out loud. What part of Canada? New England does this kind of pastel homes in rows along the eastern seaboard. πŸ™‚

      • I will need to someday go back to Canada and see the coastline. I saw Quebec, Toronto and the lovely bay and Niagara Falls, Cheryl eons ago. Thanks for telling me about Luneburg. Have a fantastic weekend. I get up in 6 hours so better go. . . πŸ™‚

  9. I love the way you describe things Robin. I can almost imagine the pink, but I feel more comfortable imagining the blue as it’s a color I see better than others. Nobody around here lets me pick out the paint.

    • I am chuckling since I am sure my married brother gets little say in colors. He even told me their recent purchase of a new sofa and coffee table, he chose a different color but agreed with Susan on the wood finish of the coffee table. Thank you, Dan, for reading my description and feeling included in the dinner and pleased you can almost picture color of the door. πŸ™‚

  10. Hello Robin! I have missed some posts I’m sure but am back again and so glad to be able to read this post. What a gal your mom was! Neon pink, it’s in again down here you know, she would be the height of fashion 50 years later. A few years after Rosie painted her door bright pink, I painted the front door of my first house bright orange. It was 1969, I was 20 years old and I was ahead of my time! I put the same colour into my kitchen along with white and a deep chocolate brown – I loved it back then. My tastes have since changed πŸ™‚ I wonder if your mom still loves bright pink….

    • Yes, Pauline! Mom still does love her pinks. She has some hot pink tops and also had rose colored carpet in the split level and our next house. When Dad and she retired to the lake cottage all antiques and rose brocade covered Victorian chairs went to auction house. Blues and lighthouses replaced the pinks except for her clothes. Now, at her senior living apt she has a few antiques with a couple of dolls wearing pink. πŸ™‚ Never worry about being busy, I have sporadic blogging “attendance records.” ha ha!

    • I like the color orange and this was so cool that your first house you lived in you were rather young and definitely “hip” and in style! Pauline, your other colors of deep chocolate brown and white are definitely in “vogue” all over again. I am smiling since you are my age yet you were also a person “sympatico” or similar in taste as my Mom. It all seems to go with being artistic and current trend followers. I had an orange mini skirt since my dark hair mainly seemed to look good with peaches, oranges and red. Pink went in my mind with Mom and a good blonde friend, Susan. Nice chatting about these things and wish there were so.e more time, since you could tell me about other choices in your decor and wardrobe you made “back in the day.” πŸ™‚

  11. I loved this peek into your family life back in the days I well remember. The foods, the family rituals, everything. Hah. My mom put the bright turquoise door on our beautiful rose pink brick ranch. She had the greatest attachment to having a door that color, so I “get” this about your mom. My mom would never have selected hot pink, though.
    But she is getting a new car now at 80. RED!

    • Luanne, I am happy you “get” my Mom. So glad you enjoyed the dinner time moments, seeming like a familiar ritual I could imagine many people shared. I appreciate your sharing about your mother’s taste in a turquoise door on a rose pink brick home. I think it is so cool to have a red car at age 80! I am envious of your mother. I hope to drive until at least 80 or more years old. My Mom made it to 83; it has been almost 4 years, I believe, since she drove. She will be 87 in November. . . Thanks for this pleasant addition to the comments. I wish I could pull up a chair and hear more of our memories shared but time is clicking away.

    • I am happy James you had similar house in a similar pattern neighborhood. Many people found interesting ways to make their house “stand out” by paint or decorations. I saw a movie awhile back with Matthew Perry from Friends t.v. show who married Selma Hayak, They were from different cultures and she painted their house in bright hispanic colors which made it stand out. Eventually M. Perry’s character realizes the wonderful wife she is and it was called, “Fool’s Rush In.” πŸ™‚

    • This WAS different but there are some areas in New England and other places in the country (and world) where houses are quite bright. I was surprised at how few mentioned it or made comments, Mark.
      Now, the years of dating and courtship, the pink stayed inside the house in a new town. πŸ™‚

  12. aww what a sweet memory and I bet no body missed your door when they were visiting πŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your childhood with us Robin ❀ Have a wonderful weekend!

  13. Oh dear. I wish you had a photo. I liked the way your mum set the pink paint request up. She knew howto get what she wanted. I enjoyed going down memory lane with you!

    • I never took photos of houses or things. I am lucky to have one or two photos on the inside of this house. One is a birthday party with Sandy and Susan who are mentioned in my August 6, doors post πŸ™‚

  14. Robin, how great this sounds. I had a purple room too and in the middle was an orange and red and purple “chandelier” made of huge circular plexiglas discs that resembled lollipops. My furniture was white with lavender trim — very girlie.

    My dad would never have gone with a pink door. Ours was a ranch house in olive green with golden mustard doors and shutters. He thought that was radical enough!

    Your childhood sounds idyllic. How fortunate you and your brothers were to grow up where and when you did.


    • Thank you for sharing what your childhood house looked like. If we ever get together (I hope we will someday) I will bring a photo of our last family house we moved to while I was in 7th grade. Because it was olive green! Seriously. We lived at 28217 Lincoln Road in Bay Village, OH. When my parents moved to their retirement cottage on Lake Erie it was a cobalt (bluish gray) ranch. My informal wedding photos show the olive green house in Bay. πŸ™‚
      I adore the chandelier in your room. Strangely, I saw this chandelier at an antique shop, with five brass arms on it with pine green “tin” shades. Each one was painted with yellow flowers on them. I insisted when I saw it for $20 this must go into my attic alcove bedroom. I went with lime green, dark green and yellow plaid on cream base curtains and bedspread. I went “less modern” in this older home to suit it’s atmosphere or feeling. We seem to compliment our personalities when we were going through different periods of our lives, Beth. Thank you for the sweet way you expressed how you viewed my family life. πŸ™‚

    • I am so glad you know about Mr. Misty’s, Lyn. Did you ever have what they called “back on the day” a suicide Mr. Misty? I tried one, all the flavors mixed together looked purplish black. It tasted like Juicy Fruit gum mixed with fruit juice. πŸ™‚

      • It was something special, especially for kids. It was like an “event.”
        Not really even as good as other cold desserts, in some ways if you analyze it as an adult with do many other choices. We just liked it since we rarely even had popsicles. (These days I like real ice cream as a treat!)

      • It was something special, especially for kids. It was like an “event.”
        Not really even as good as other cold desserts, in some ways if you analyze it as an adult with so many other choices. We just liked it since we rarely even had popsicles. (These days I like real ice cream as a treat!)

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