Thursday’s Doors~ September 17, 2015


The cozy lake cottage along the lake was small with only two bedrooms. It was bluish gray with a garage on the left of the small front stoop.

The front door was made of white metal with no windows or adornment. It had white wooden trim around the door. The doorknob was stainless steel which appeared burnished and not shiny. The owners had a flag holder next to the outdoor lamp with silver details.

They had two planters with pansies growing in them. One on each side of the door. They would leave them for new owners who would plant bright crimson geraniums to look pretty next to the cobalt blue cottage.

There was one window with white painted trim around it, to the right of the door. The window had cafe curtains with a hanging shelf which could be seen from outside.

The new owners chose to use similar white cotton curtains. For some period of time, they were blue checked cafe curtains with white ruffles while the bottles of collected blue beach glass were always on the shelf.

The Lake Erie cottage had “potential.” The couple purchased it, expecting it to be their year-round “retirement” home. They talked about adding a car port and turning the garage into a large family room.

It took only a few months of hard labor to cover the cement floor of the garage with brown ceramic tile with a cream colored grout between each tile. The walls had been carefully built using tools of the trade. The new wall (showing no signs of a garage door removed) extended into a long front wall contiguous with the kitchen.

There was one step up from the family room into the kitchen. There was a “genius” move to install a set of sliding glass doors, so when cool spring, summer or fall nights arrived, it could slide open. Joining with the side door and back screen doors allowing a breeze to flow through and gently blow in the “fishy” scent of Lake Erie.

The owners purchased two hinged portholes at an auction. They were lovely with brass rims and there were two holes measured, created and cut out. One was placed in the kitchen over the sink. This was facing the neighbors’ house and when on a clear day, you could see out onto the lake.

The other porthole was installed on the same wall, halfway to the side door. The morning sun’s reflection was measured by the owner who enjoyed marking on the hallway wall, the times of sunrise and sunset. Each season had its own notations. Wife and family took these scribbles in stride. Later, thinking it part of his beautiful mind’s processing.

The family room had a new gorgeous dormer picture window with a large windowsill. This was where the woman of the house could put her favorite plants on and share the daylight’s sun.

There were several types of ivy, including an English, one with purple variegated leaves, Christmas cactus, African violets, two orchids and a dormant poinsettia waiting for the holidays. She had her sewing machine sitting next to the dormer window, so she could glance up to see an orchid bud.

Special contraption “gear” had been attached across the front of the house, allowing a sliding barn door, painted the same hue of Dover blue to close up the front. This created a door-less front of the house during winter months. People were welcome to walk to the right of the cottage, open a white picket fence and knock on the side door. Visitors were protected from the rain or snow under the roof of the carport.

The side also had a rail with a hanging barn door making an impenetrable wall on the side. This was only used during heavy storms. The couple then would use their back door to exit and enter their home in the winter. They would laugh at some of the lake junk which could be seen glued to the back of the house.

Sometimes there would be dead fish thrown up onto the plastic covered windows on the porch.

When storms came, both heavy doors were pulled across the spaces. This elaborate set up, keeping the couple protected on two sides. They would build a fire in the fireplace, make coffee or a hot toddy and use a long-armed basket to make popcorn over the blazing fire.

The left hand side of the house was protected by a high hedge between their home and the neighbor, who was a Priest. He would stay at the diocese with safe accommodations during inclement weather. He may be needed in some situations at his parish.

The straight driveway was changed into a semi-circle in the front. A flag pole was set into cement and the woman’s Lily of the Valley flowers were planted along with bulbs of tulips, hyacinths and daffodils. This circle would become a lake rock garden.

The driveway would become a place to dump buckets of lake rocks, ones that were determined not smooth enough for a clear jar.

Beach glass was dumped along the edge of the deck and the car port’s porch. Many jars of clear, brown and green beach glass were given away; while little cruets and tiny bottles were saved to be filled with blue glass. If ever a red ruby beach glass piece were found, they would go on the “front” of the jar where these rare “gems” could be seen.

Hostas and roses were planted in a strip of land which separated the couple’s property from neighbors on the right who were a young couple with a daughter.

When the young family sold their home, they set their tame bunny loose in the yard. The woman continued to feed the bunny carrots and taught the collie dog not to bark nor scare the bunny.

The couple traveled south to central Ohio to celebrate first Thanksgiving and Christmas with grandchildren and grown children. Some more plans were elaborated after children were excused from dinners. Everyone was excited to hear of the lake house’s changes and improvements. The couple thrived in their final beach house.

Expectations of an early summer visit over Memorial Day was discussed as the couple’s goal for company each year.

The back of the home had a covered porch added, along with a deck. This side faced the lake. A large buckeye tree shaded the deck in the afternoon. They decided to not park their car or Transvan under the car port roof.

Instead, building two large picnic tables for any time children wanted to be outside inside the white picket fence. Table games and board games were often played here, sometimes bundled in coats, as long as no wind blowing.

On the screened-in porch the owner and wife used wooden strips to secure a thick layer of plastic on the outside, then nailing another layer of plastic on the inside of the screens. Then, once spring came, plastic taken down

Years later, one son would put glass windows in for his mother, after the man of the house passed away.

The second summer had the owner planning a double decker deck along the edge of the cliff. The top deck had a drop trapdoor that would allow people to sit up there or sleep safely. The top deck was large like a living room. The stairs from one floor to next were sturdy and had a railing. It gave this small little cottage much more space in the summer months for people to spread out in all directions.

The cliff was an ongoing “conservation” project for the couple. A row of saplings were planted along the edge of the cliff, about 4 or 5 feet down the side. Their vision of the lake would not be obstructed by these plantings. More seeds were thrown upon the hill to encourage wild ivy and blue cornflower “weeds” to take over and prevent erosion.

Many charming bright yellow gold finches and butterflies flitted around this hill. The couple managed to preserve land from erosion that “takes its toll” from the lake’s violent winds, rain and snow.

Upon children arriving, their eyes would spy a man hurrying towards them. Their father or grandfather, coming around the corner of the summer house would be holding Styrofoam “noodles,” a life jacket and nautical life preserver over his shoulder.

His collie barking and running to greet one and all, piling out of the caravan.

The first two cars coming 2 1/2 hours away, from Columbus, Ohio. An artist driving a large van with wild air-brushed designs, including logo distinguishing the vehicle.

Another one, a three-seater station wagon, packed “to the gills” following with single mother with three kids and lots of stuff.

The third vehicle coming from Cleveland with two adults and three cousins for the second car’s brood to play with.

The extra lot next door was purchased over the years to add room for tents, croquet games set up and badminton net all ready to play.

The woman of the house finishing her weeding, getting up to hug everyone and bustling in to bring out snacks for fortification. The host showing two coolers, one filled with pop and water bottles. The other filled with beer and wine coolers. The ice was packed to last two days; until someone went out for an errand to get something and more ice was requested.

#1 beach rule: “There can never be enough food nor drinks.”

The couple showed their newest finished project. This was where they would mix up concrete and put in wheelbarrows to dump, then set large rocks into the mixture. The couple had had large flat boulders brought in and delivered on a ship. Along with neighbors on both sides paying for this, creating a breakfront to slow the waves.

There was sand now for children’s toes to wiggle in. The little ones could hold a railing on both sides and scramble down steps made for secure passage down the cliff.

#2 beach rule: “Always have an adult with you before going down the cliff.”

#3 beach rule: “Always grab a bucket when going down to the beach.”

The wooden chute to allow canoes, row boats or flat skiffs to be taken down the cliff using a pulley system was another positive addition to their home.

When family arrived after the winter and spring had passed, they viewed new transformations each trip they made.

A new page in the cottage’s history was written when the woman had to move, no longer able to drive nor take care of the place. Her daughter in law’s daughter got married last year. The woman attended the outdoor wedding there on the lake and enjoyed the festivities.

The young couple who are the lake house’s tenants had a baby boy earlier this year, named Jackson. We call him “Jack.”

The couple had lived there almost two years paying rent, when another change came in the form of an accident.

A recent disruption, woman breaking her hip meant she would need more care. This will be provided by a much more costly program in her multiple leveled facility.

Once special little cottage was placed for sale, recent offers were made and economy improved. The new terraced beach three houses down with a boat launch ramp were “draws” for curious and also serious buyers.

The door will be changing locks in a short time.

The family’s keys for over 30 years will no longer turn in the new door locks.

This door, though not fancy nor unusual, will shut tightly on the end of a family’s “era.”

#4 beach rule: “No regrets. ๐Ÿ™‚ ”

#5 beach rule: “Only happy memories rule.”

Thanks to Norm Frampton’s Thursday’s Doors posts which started my writing about doors, both familiar and memorable. Please check out Norm’s door and other blogs who participate!


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

47 responses »

  1. Beautiful Robin. My maternal grandparents rented a cottage on Lake Erie every summer when I was growing up. At first it was for two weeks, then three, four and finally for the entire season. This reminded me very much of the time we would spend with them.

  2. This is so sad.. at least, for me it is.. I had to go through these emotions myself, just a while ago.. thankfully it all got sorted out.. hopefully, it shall remain that way.. and yet, when I read this, I was reminded of it.. Thank you for this ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Norm, my draft that got published didn’t have your blog’s link but I quickly found it and put it on before too late. My first break at work at 8:45 am. Hopefully by time you were reading this. . .
      I like #5, too. The old adage, “They can’t take the memories away from us. . .” Although I wanted to preserve the details for my adult children’s sake. Thanks for the compliment, Norm. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Norm, I am having a Count Down to Thursday’s Doors from today. I am making it an unofficial one with photographs from the Delaware State Park where the door will be revealed as an old, ugly door next Thursday. Each post will say a number like today is “5.” Smiles, Robin

    • Jill, I like your pretty new gravatar. Your face shows up well and looks younger! You are timeless in your beauty. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thank you for the heart and sigh, “Oh.” Never regretting and so fortunate for all the memories. As the only girl with 2 brothers they appreciate so many observations u remember. Thank you for the added Rule #4!!

  3. So beautifully written, Robin! having gone through emotional turmoil the past two years. It is a new phase in life, not easy, but we have to focus on the good memories and the true love we shared with our dearest ones.

    • Oh, Sandhya. I a mm sorry to hear of your emotional turmoil and past 2 years. I wish you had not had to go through this phase of life. You are too young, my dear one. . . The positive thoughts you sent my way really help. Thank you, Sandhya.

    • This comment let me know about your parents lake house. This was so nice of you to share this with me, Lyn. Thank you for loving my story, too. I am the oldest and only daughter so my brothers like my writing this down for posterity. โ™ก

      • Oh, did you write a post about their leaving the “House in the Woods,” Lyn? I can just imagine your sadness and also, it would make a memorable story. Thanks for sharing this and I fully empathize with you, as you do with me.โ™ก

  4. Oh, a familiar and beautiful story. I love how it unfolded with the changes of the house. It was bittersweet for sure but I’m so glad you ended on a positive note. Life moves on and houses are only things. It’s the memories that last forever.

    • Houses are only things which have been part of several phases of our lives moving forward to sometimes simpler lives. The cottage was a great vacation destination when I was a single mom! Thank you for supporting Rule #5, Marissa. xo Are you still shaking up things over in Birthday Rock and Roll “heaven?” ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Yes, I suppose houses are like that…they represent different or many phases of your life. As for the birthday rock n’ roll, I think the last of it came out today in my blog post if you get a chance to read, ha, ha!

  5. No, nothing lasts forever, loss is inevitable. But this beautiful tribute to a time and a place and a family will stir hearts for a long while Robin! What wonderful memories – what amazing parents – how fortunate you are to have all this as a guiding motif in your life. I know you are aware xoxo

    • Pauline, you were mentioning you were feeling your mood lifted with the change in weather to warmer climate. I was so happy you are having fun with new plants, the makeshift trellis and Siddy in the daffodils made me get a big grin on my face. . .
      When people ask me how I stand working in the hot warehouse or the loss of marriages and homes, I say firmly, “I was blessed with a strong foundation. This “core experience” warms me, keeps me happy in my little one bedroom palace.”
      Pauline, I like this choice of words: “as a guiding motif in my life.” I will need to give you credit but I will be using it again soon! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks.โ™ก

    • It was truly a blessing. I am happy they were able to retire in their 50’s, Colleen. This was definitely the vacation destination for all of us! ๐Ÿ™‚ The photos of my niece, Libby’s wedding to Chris make me so happy! My children are all dressed up, grandies too. Everyone posed in different arrangements with my Mom. Children ran up to her and hugged her. The tent, flowers and meal were wonderful last year. Then my son asked the kids to go change in the house into bathing suits. One brother joined Jamie walking down to the beach with all the kids. We could see them and listen to shrieks of laughter. Perfect moments set into the “hard drive” of my mind. I just knew your moments with your family were like this. We are truly blessed. โ™ก

    • The rule should say,”House Rule #1: There can never be enough food nor drinks,” Agreed, Sheila. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚
      Red would probably add something about “Smart dogs deserve more treats than ones who are ball obsessed or bark too much.”
      My brother and sister in law who have a wild combination of Newfoundland, Golden Retriever, dachshund-beagle mix and now due to Mom’s recent fall, adding a shih-tzu to the mix need some Doggie Rules where the quiet or smart ones get rewarded! ๐Ÿ™‚

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