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
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:
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
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
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
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
“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
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
One month later. . .
I am getting to the front door of my best friend, using the timeline from the
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.”
“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)
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,
Finally, my Mom interrupted his list of all the delicious dishes prepared
“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~
~ 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.