Thursday’s Doors ~ August 6, 2015

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When I posted about the ‘hot pink’ front door of my house, while I was in

grades 3 – 7th, I knew already I would be following up with the front door

of my best friend in Chestnut Elementary School.

Isn’t the door of your best friend almost as meaningful as that of your parents

or siblings?

This post is thanks to the original source and traditional “head” of Thursday’s

Doors ~ Norm Frampton. Thanks for letting me ‘bend the rules’ and use words

to describe the doors. Along with the stories that come from memories.

You may find Norm’s photograph of his door chosen for presentation today at:

http://miscellaneousmusingsofamiddleagedmind.wordpress.com

Feel free to join the doors party and hope to see your link added on his post.

**************************************************************************************************

If you walked out my front door on Stafford Drive, you would head down

the sidewalk and turn to the North or left.

If you were ambitious, it would take  you only 45 minutes to an hour, on a

bicycle, to hit Lake Erie, I think.

I know it only took 5-7 minutes from the next house we lived in during my

middle school through college years.

If you were I, you would walk six doors down and go up to the front door

of your new dear friend, Sandy’s house.

Sometimes, if you had ‘called ahead,’ you could just knock once, open

the door and head right in.

When Sandy moved into our neighborhood, she lived in a uniquely, on

the exterior, decorated house. I suppose it looked rustic, but I think the

front was covered with wooden siding. It was in a dark mahogany-stained

shade,  creating a ‘shuttered’ or layered look. The wood panels went

up and down. We might think it looks like ‘barn siding,’ but it wasn’t.

I am trying to think of what you may call this type of covering?

I imagine it was tacked with nails over a sturdy base of flat wood.

It was only on the front of their house.The sides of Sandy’s house were

covered with white aluminum siding. This was in the 1960’s when I am

not sure how readily available vinyl siding was.

Our neighborhood consisted, as I mentioned last week, of about five main

designs you could choose from the “model homes” found on Christman

Drive.

When I met Sandy, she had the same fourth grade teacher and since I had

been there for a half year of third grade, I had approached her on one of

the first days of school.

My two brothers and I usually walked to the home of our friends’ house

in the morning and then, we headed together with their children to school.

I had noticed that Sandy was getting a ride from her mother or father every

day.They let her out in front of the school and we were already lined up to

go in.

One afternoon recess, I mentioned she could be part of our ‘walking gang.’

We would get her first and then proceed through the back yards and join the

others.

Sandy said she would check with her parents and was excited to become

part of a ‘group.’ This consisted of Jimmy, Billy and Susan, with my brtohers

Randy and Ricky.

When we were on our way to the grocery store the next night, I pointed out

where Sandy lived. We noticed her plain white door and Mom, you remember

the lively color she chose? She suggested, “A yellow or lime green door would

brighten that dark wooden paneling in the front of the house.”

It was not too long that my Mom took a cake over, although it was store bought,

since she was teaching and this was Fall. Mom made delicious meals for us,

don’t get me wrong, but they were mainly over holidays, summers or occasional

company visits. There were many more ‘working mom’ food groceries piled in

in our cart, I noticed, way back in kindergarten. T.V. dinners, pot pies, fish sticks

and macaroni and cheese out of a box were ‘staples.’

When Mom approached Sandy’s house with the store bought cake, she had

her school dress on, nylons and pointy toed shoes. I will tell you that she always

looked fashionable, either from clothes she sewed from Butterick or McCall’s

patterns, later Simplicity patterns. She chose simple, classic lines she bought

on discount a season behind, then saving for the following year.

I walked up the driveway, sidewalk and three steps to the porch with her. I was

ready to ‘do the introductions,’ with last names only for Sandy’s parents. When

the door opened, an older girl looked out at us. Sherryl was in 7th or 8th grade

by then, a whole different school obviously. I do think she sat in the back seat

with Sandy, so I had not noticed her before.

Maybe since Sandy slid out at the sidewalk, her sister sat on the other side

behind the parent driving.

Sherryl, I learned her name later, closed the door and we could hear her

yelling,

“Mom! Someone is at the door to see you and Sandy, I think. The girl looks

like she is younger than Sandy, though.”

Mom and I looked at each other. Mom slightly shrugged her meaning to me,

don’t worry about being small built.and

My Mom was so polite, saying then to me,

“If this turns out to be a bad time, we will leave the cake and ask what time

would be better to come by and visit, okay?”

I nodded my head.

I looked at the little shrubs that were under their picture window. This unusual

style of home meant the front picture window was probably about 8 or 9 feet

off the ground.

When you are a kid, you don’t really have a concept about time. Not really,

anyway. It seemed like a very long time we stood on the porch. I admired

the cake that Mom had asked the bakery to print the letters, “Welcome

Neighbors!” and had requested chrysanthemums to decorate in Fall colors.

It was white frosting with chocolate cake. We waited a minute more and

I was shocked:  My Mom knocked again! It was a gentle tapping sound

and not at all like my brothers or Dad might do, pounding on a door.

When Mrs. K answered, she looked tired. She apologized for her

appearance but mentioned she was up late the previous evening until

very late. She mentioned, “jet lag” and then shook her head,

“No, I guess you might call it ‘moving lag.'”

Mom apologized immediately when there was a short pause,

“Robin insisted I should meet you and since it is Friday, thought it may

be nice to have a cake over the weekend to celebrate moving into your

new home. She wondered if Sandy could accompany her, along with

her two brothers and a few children from behind your house, over one

street, to school on Monday?”

Mrs. K stood with her mouth open, then she yawned, it was a sort of

sad expression on her face. Not sure, even to this day, what kind of

impression we left on her. She nodded and said, “Okay, Sandy can walk

with your family to school but she must come straight home. Her sister

will be in ‘charge of her’ after school every day. She attends the juniior

high school.”

Then, as an after thought, she said,

“Thank you very much for the cake.”

I could sense distraction, looking back over the years, sadness in choice

of job or situation, but I will tell you now, this mother and father were very

funny, they were boisterous and emotional. It was a blast to go over to

Sandy’s house.

One month later. . .

I am getting to the front door of my best friend, using the timeline from the

past.

Mom and Dad walked down with my brothers and me to have dinner at the

K’s house. Mom had been stopping by to ask if Sandy could come with us

to see a movie, go to the park or I had been asking if she would like to ride

her bike to Szarka’s delicatessen. We had the most delicious meal! It included

appetizers of ‘weenies in red sauce’ (her Mom gave my Mom the recipe with

chili sauce and grape jelly in the ingredients.) Crackers and cheese, little

bites on toothpicks, which I still love to this day: water chestnuts wrapped in

bacon and maple syrup with a sprinkle of salt over the top placed on a cookie

sheet and broiled so they are crispy.

When the adults were finished with dinner, waiting for our tummies to have

room for dessert, we kids were playing on the swing set in their yard,

Mom’s voice was clear in her tone, carried over the dusk air and  her

expression was bright and lively.

(I think it may have to do with two strong Whiskey Sours. Mom told me the

K’s liked their drinks strong, while she preferred just the flavor of “Sweet and

Sour Lemix” with orange slice with cherry “boat” or garnish, with a little splash

of Whiskey added.)

She was telling them, just in case Sandy had not told them,

“I feel that our house needed to make a statement and be bold. I think

neighborhoods like ours, developed with similar houses all in a row, need

a bright color. Do you like my Hot Pink front door or is it just a bit too much?”

Sandy’s Mom smiled and exclaimed,

“Rosie, your door is brilliant.”

Mom replied,

“Have you considered painting your white door?”

Knowing, really believing in my Mom’s courteous nature and good manners,

I was a little shocked but not completely taken aback. I mean, my Mom was

no ‘wall flower’ nor did she keep silent if given a chance to say her ‘piece.’

Mrs. K. started laughing, then she got up and hugged Mom.

I was starting to relax, but was paying more attention to their conversation

instead of watching my brothers my brothers making fools out of themselves

to get Sandy and older sister, Sherryl’s attention. They were horsing around

and showing the girls their flips and wrestling in the cool night’s grass.

The girls (apparently not having a brother made them silly around boys)

were giggling.

I didn’t need to say anything at that moment.

Mr. K. and Dad looked (what may be considered bemused or amused)

happy. They didn’t have a care in the world, full stomachs, wives in a

good mood and kids playing.

Finally, Mr. K. told his wife,

“Tell her what color you plan to paint our front door.”

She put her hands on her hips and said,

“Now, Ken! That is not funny. You promised YOU would paint the front

door the color I have in the bucket in the garage. You may tell them what

color WE agreed on.”

Not really knowing them, I was not certain if they were like my parents or

not. You remember my Dad didn’t mind following Mom’s directions (or orders)

on doing projects like painting or building.

Ken then guffawed,it came out in a loud burst.

Then he pulled out of a front jacket pocket two cigars and asked Dad if he

might like to “Puff on one of these Cuban’s.”

Dad smoked cigarettes daily, much to my Mom’s chagrin. Occasionally,

Grandpa M. and he would smoke pipes tamped down with cherry burkham

tobacco. I may have the spelling or type but it smelled sweet and nice.

Cigars were rare between Dad and Gramps.

Dad gave a broad smile and said, “Sure, thanks very much for the offer.”

Then Dad turned to Mrs. K. and expressed his appreciation for the meal,

too.

Finally, my Mom interrupted his list of all the delicious dishes prepared

impatiently,

“Bob! Don’t you know I want to find out what color is in the bucket?”

She turned to Mrs. K. using her first name and asked,

“What color is your front door going to be painted?”

For the next three full years the front door at my Best Friend, Sandy’s

house was ORANGE!

**************************************************************************************

Description of Sandy’s two story house:

Once you knocked or rang the doorbell, you would either go up stairs to

see her formal living room on the right (the picture window over her sofa.

By the way, do you call what you sit on that is longer than a chair or love

seat a “couch” or a “sofa?”

You could go down stairs from the entry way and there were hooks along

the left side of the wall, where coats were sometimes hung. At the bottom,

you would head into her finished basement.They had orange shag carpeting

and Early American styled furniture in maple and oak.

Once on the main floor, you could walk towards the back of the house to the

kitchen and pass a half bathroom. You could leave out a sliding glass door.

The stairs from the front door to the first floor turned if you wanted to run

upstairs and go into Sandy’s bedroom.

Here is a summary of my feelings about Sandy’s house and her bedroom”

Once I was over at her house and shut the front door, I learned about~

~ Perms,

~ Bright nail polish,

~ Braided hair

~ Curlers, those pink foam rollers,

(Seriously, my Mom thought my hair was too baby fine to do anything much

with but she did use bobby pins and water- or spit- to make curls and never

used pink rollers. When I went to college, I got my first set of hot curlers.)

~ Girls with figures different from my Mom’s and Grandma, too.

(I did not have much of a figure until high school nor did I have a period or

wear a bra for anything but to see straps under a shirt. I had absolutely

no reason to wear a bra until 9th grade.)

~ Country music, ‘rockabilly’ and Elvis,

(When she came to my house, I had Beatles, Monkees, Herman’s Hermits,

Teddy Bear Picnic and silly children’s song collection.)

~ Soap operas, “As the World Turns” and t.v. series, “Dark Shadows,”

~ a Miniature Poodle dog named Petey,

~ We talked about everything and thought it was ‘weird’ that we had a

Mr. Dill for Math and a Mr. Stone for Gym Class.

~ Mr. and Mrs. K. liked to joke around and he was funny with tickling all of

us girls. I felt included in this friendly house. Mrs. K. learned how to cook

out in Wisconsin. She was raised in a large farming community and was the

warmest and sweetest woman. I felt like I had a ‘second Mom.’

and No Brothers Allowed Over, except under supervision of parents.

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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

79 responses »

  1. After school walking home was so different from here on the West Coast… I had to take a city bus to get home, not a school bus… Whatever happened to Sandy….

    • Great question, Juan. Sandy moved to New Hampshire which was lucky because my mom’s family lived in Massachusetts. We visited her twice over the years I was growing up. She went to college there and met her husband and has 3 daughters. Now all are married and work in New Jersey and New York. Grandchildren too. We exchange emails, Christmas cards and she is part of my Linked In.

    • Thanks, Beth. I was afraid someone would complain 🙂 No photos. I have drawn eight historical home tours so I love antique doors. Next week, this will be my subject matter. xo

  2. What a lovely post! I love reading your thoughts regarding the importance of doors in relationships. I don’t know that I ever thought of it this way, but it makes perfect sense. I’m reminded of all the doors of the important people in my world! ❤ You never cease to amaze me!

    • I liked looking at Norm’s doors and every Thursday he lists links to new doors. His very first doors post is absolutely beautiful, Robyn. It is a pair if peacocks on a hotel double door in golden brass and so elaborate. When I found out Norm didn’t mind my NOT including a photograph, 3 weeks ago I “joined” the free to be part of group. Next week, I will try to use words to describe an antique door. 🙂

  3. I really enjoy your take on the Thursday Doors Robin. Clearly, you don’t need an image of a door to spark a memory. I also like people who aren’t afraid to bend the rules a bit.

  4. In Florida pastel colors are frequently used, pinks, blues, yellow, mint green, peachy salmon, etc. A northern neighbor several years ago decided he wanted his front door Crimson Red with a brass plate across the bottom. We were like Ah-What? You’re in Florida bud now. The color still remains and he is known as the Northerner! Just too funny Robin. Hugs, Cheryl.

    • The Northern – er would be probably somehow determined by dome decoration I would put out. My parents on their little retirement cottage had cobalt blue (bluish gray) and lighthouses in their decorations. No more Hot Pink for Mom. 😉

      • It is just funny because my parents are both from New Jersey and are northerners! We moved to Florida when I was very young but all five of us were born in the North! The Red door and Brass kick plate is sooooooooooooo North!

      • It sounds like a fancy door that doesn’t fit into the laid back atmosphere of Florida, Cheryl. 🙂 Thanks for letting me know more about your parents and your origins.

  5. Robin, this is such a wonderful device. Using doors as an anchor for all kinds of wonderful memories and images like these. More of your all-American dream childhood, as far as I am concerned. I am going to read this again. I wonder if my mom would relate to these memories, as she had a Norman Rockwell childhood too. You are the best, Robin. Your posts always lift my spirits! ❤

    • I asked to join Norm since my photos would not compare to most of the bloggers who are good. (But yours are great, Beth.) You may wish to check out Norm’s blog since there are plenty of blogs which feature doors on Thursdays.
      I raised my kids trying for a slice of American pie. Hopefully, their lives will improve in quality as time passes. My life was blessed but remember my parents would not give us more than one or two gifts for birthdays and Christmas. They taught us how to debate and earn our way in many ways, not “as easy as it sounds!”

  6. I love how your ‘door’ theme leads to so many other topics, and you tie them all together nicely. What struck me was the warmth and connection you felt at your friend’s house.

    When I was young, I thought our family was ‘normal.’ But when I visited friends at their homes, theirs were a lot more fun. I eventually got to where I didn’t want to go home, especially from my high school sweetheart’s house. Her family was so nice! They even invited me to stay for dinner a time or two.

    I will never forget one weekend when I visited, and she and I just sat and watched television. Finally, her father asked how come we weren’t going out somewhere to see friends or to a movie or something. I told him my father needed the car that evening, so I didn’t have a ride. So he tossed me the keys to his car and said, ‘You kids go have a good time.’ Which we did! I am still amazed at his generosity. – Mike

    • This sweetheart’s father was a “keeper!”
      Thanks, Mike for your compliment about how it all flowed well.
      I know my Dad was happy if I brought guys home and we had some huge parties when the 3 of us were in high school. We had one party every season where there was a pig (or other meat) roast outside and my friend Armin playing the piano inside. (He loved entertaining.) My parents were home and sitting in the family room. No one was necking or making out either. Sometimes it was marching band, theater, Rich’s running friends (Cross Country or Track), Science Club and art class friends. I had one boyfriend junior year, soccer and French horn player. Senior year, it was Science Club and CC/Track young man. Both remain friends with my brothers. 🙂

  7. You have a wonderful, precise memory and I really enjoy these stories, very detailed slices of life from your childhood, such a joy to read and imagine.

  8. You may realize that Orange is Syracuse’s color, Robin, so the zipper line really got me! Hooray for your bestie’s parents’ daring.

    You know what’s interesting to me about the whole front door series (thank you Norm 2.0)? As much as I like visiting Mr. Frampton’s place — and not just because he makes me think of Peter and all that great music of those years, Robin — I can’t really recall any special stories about the front doors of my childhood homes. Kind of sad, that is.

    • Well, how about your grandparents’ porch screen door slamming shut when you ran into get a cookie or chicken drumstick? Or your wreath on the door or a plaque by the inside of the back or front door. Mark? A church door you visited with cousins? Just “brain storming.”

      • Nope. None. The first I come up with are dorm room doors when I went to college, with the white boards hanging with those pens you could write notes and then wipe them off, Robin. And those were other people’s rooms. I have a mental front door block going on.

      • Mark, it is perfectly fine if you focus on all the other great places, stories and interesting people you have met. Why, I enjoy Ellie B and foods you have talked about. Oh, we have music and movies in common with many people. 🙂

    • This is such a sweet and “homey” sounding comment. It’s awhile since I have visited you but didn’t stop following you. Funny how this happens. Like when you run into someone you lost touch with at the grocery store. Thanks for sending sunshine my way 🙂

  9. What a beautiful story of your recollections Robin, you write so well and in such detail you bring the subjects to life and paint a very vivid picture of the times.
    You must be writing a book by now, your story’s and recollections should be in book form.
    My kindest regards and best wishes for a great weekend.

    • I appreciate your hopes for a book, but my main interest is to write essays in a magazine or newspaper or have my illustrated children’s books published. I have one that is Christian, Alphabet for Beginning Christians, one that is about loving Nature, “Kissing a Bunny is Like Saying a Prayer,” another about child abuse, “Cinnamon and Nutmeg,” and last one was a boys book, “Where is James (and His Dinosaurs)? I think I am rather talented with pen and ink with watercolors. My brother who has written a few papers on special education, hopes to have me illustrate his someday. He wrote techniques for teaching math and also, reading to learning disabled children. He has been to many countries presenting his ideas. On the other hand, my artist brother has been all over the country painting for companies, restaurants, private homes and a casino murals. So, he is really the Artist! 🙂

      • A very artistic family Robin, a diversity of talent. I have had many newspaper articles published and a few story’s. Would love to have all my poetry put into book form, but at this stage the finances don’t stretch that far, maybe one day. Kind regards.

      • Your poetry would make a lovely book, Ian. Your sincerely loving poems, sensuous and romantic ones as nd your positive outlook attract a wide readership here. I imagine people p utting your book by their bedside table to help their love life by reading aloud or pleasant dreams. 🙂

      • Thank you for such a lovely comment Robin, don’t think I have many followers who comment, seem to attract a few that just like but don’t comment, I hope that sometimes males might take my poems and present them to their loved one, like passing Love forward. Cheers.

      • I enjoy reading my friends accounts from overseas, Word press is like a huge library, every person is a different book, Cheers.

  10. An orange door certainly makes a statement! Nice of your mother to greet them with a cake. I’m too much of an introvert to ever introduce myself to new neighbors. Then again, I’m not sure many people do these days, and that’s kind of sad, I guess.

    • Thank you for this compliment. Do you remember if your parents may gave done this? Just wondering, maybe Ohio small town/suburbs did this more? There is an episode of the middle (Patricia Heaton was a resident of my high school years in Bay Village, the next house we lived in. . . )
      Her character is a busy mom, her neighbors annoy her with friendly offers and it reminds me of the 60’s and 70’s. Patty H,’s brother was in my h.s. clas, Michael Heaton writes for the Cleveland Plain Dealer as a Pop Culture expert 🙂

  11. You have such a good memory for details, Robin. My best friend’s door was painted bottle green, as was ours and almost everyone else’s in our row. There must have been a special on that colour. 🙂

  12. What a sweet story, guy’s always get left out!

    Also like to thank you for enjoying a comment, which i had made..

      • Yeah, you’re probably right, however this guy get’s left, to be honest i would say by choice..

  13. When we lived in Liverpool, New York, my husband bought paint for our garage doors. They were orange – not the deep color I hoped for – and really stood out against the dark wood of our two story house. A few years later, we had it repainted. It was, perhaps, a mauve color. The house was now a tan – a lighter brown. I thought it looked terrific. Not sure what the neighbors thought.

    Robin , those days of bringing a cake or meal to a new neighbor was a wonderful welcoming gift. That gesture seems like decades away. That’s a pity.

    • I like the sound of orange paint on garage doors against the dark wood, Judy. Too bad not as deep an orange as you wished for. This reminds me of Sandy’s hmouse. Someone suggested her two story with the floor plan I described is considered modified split level. I also think mauve is a great combination with tan. I mix my own watercolors so I picture these very well. Thank you for telling us about your unique and great ideas of color for the exteriors of your homes. When people own their homes, it is nice to have their personal individuality expressed. I like the sound of Liverpool, NY.
      I was mentioning an episode of “The Middle” with Patricia Heaton, who was in age between my two brothers in school. There is an annoying (to the mother played by Patricia Heaton) neighbor lady who still makes cakes for neighbors. Patty’s memory or the director’s came into play in the plot. In “Suburbia” show I think there was the happily married woman across the street found the single Dad moving into the neighborhood needing cassseroles, too. She was a crafty, sewing project kind of character. I wonder since these two shows were based in current time, where this going on? Just wondering if there are somewhere women doing this, Judy. Wish I had research money to jnvestigste. Now I do know the 50’s and 60’s are represented in the show with Mad Men, The Goldberg and the Astronaut Wives all depict this old fashioned “custom”, Judy. Thanks for this comment and all its content.

      • Always a pleasure, Robin. BTW, our current house is a nice kind of French blue with white trim. The door is a cranberry red – I think. I’ll have to check it again in the morning. I think it looks smashing. 😉

  14. Sandy’s house sounds like a split level with a shingle facade. My cousin had a split level for awhile, and it was always awkward having to come into a small landing, complete with leaving shoes there. We were trying to say hello, without getting pushed down the stairs by the next people coming in. LOL

    • Thank you for this great comment, Brenda. I like the “shingle” usage for the description!! This is where either I can describe in words or I can’t.
      I described Sandy’s house, externally, to someone it looked like a box, which someone called it a “modified” split level while our house looked like a 2 sided shape of a triangle which most consider the”L” shape as a traditional split. But in any case, you were totally accurate on the inside of the house! You could easily have a crowded entryway, Brenda.
      I still write 2 x year to Sandy who moved to Derry, New Hampshire when we moved to Bay Village. We had two times where we were on way to Rockport, MA and had chance to visit Sandy’s family. She went to a small college and studied business. She met her husband Warren and they both worked in NY but were commuters, living in New Jersey. Their three daughters work at Macy’s as buyers and managers. Married with grandkids. Both of Sandy’s parents have passed around, first Dad then Mom. Sherryl had one son, Jeffrey and raised as a single mom. I have been happy for Sandy’s good marriage. 🙂

  15. She is confident, outgoing and succssful. I feel like we are happy we were childhood friends and she is connected to my LinkedIn account so she will tell me at the end of the year which post she cracked up on or enjoyed. I feel like I am creative and more spontaneous but we would balance each other had we lived closer. Thanks, Brenda. I feel close to people who are open and warm. Why you and I get along like milk and cookies 🙂

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