I Bought Doors … and a Contest

DSC00433.JPGIsn’t this a cute little house? My grandfather and his brothers built it. My grandparents came to the United States from Germany in their 20’s. Back then, this house was on a street with lots of vacant lots and open spaces. In fact, there was a farm nearby. Now? It’s on a highly desirable street, surrounded by many other highly desirable streets, in a highly desirable town. My grandparents lived there for 60+ years. I have pictures of myself there as a baby, and pictures of my kids there as babies. See that front porch? We spent hours playing on the front porch, making up games and stories and plays. (Note – this was before 24 hour tv, video games, computers, etc.) Inside the house, there are arches between the rooms, there are solid wooden doors with glass handles, there are stained glass windows on either side of the fireplace, there is ugly tile in the bathroom. πŸ™‚ The house has had two owners since my grandfather moved out several years ago. He lived there alone after my grandmother passed away, and he has since passed away as well. The subsequent owners made changes to the house. Got rid of the radiators – good call. Got rid of the big porcelain kitchen sink – bad call. Opened up the staircase – good call. Pulled out all the beautiful bushes in the front and my grandma’s lilacs – bad call. The house has just been sold again, and we have learned that it will be torn down and a new, bigger house built in its place. sigh.

DSC00467.JPGI understand. I’m sad, but I understand. When you drive down that street now, there are many many lots where the old “small” house has been taken down and a bigger house put up. The problem is the lots themselves. They’re huge and deep – the way lots were back when all you had all around you was land. People come in and think the land (on the desirable street in the desirable town) is wasted with the small house sitting on it. I can’t blame the new owner – they don’t have an emotional attachment to that little house. I met with the gal who purchased the house last week. She’s as kind as they come. She must have apologized a half a dozen times for taking the house down. In fact, she has restored several houses and totally appreciates the historical perspective. They’re building the new house for themselves. They’re keeping the beautiful 50+ yr. old trees in the huge backyard. I like knowing that the land will be inhabited by a young family and I look forward to seeing what they build. She was having a renovator come in that afternoon to see what could be dismantled and salvaged, but first she let me come in to see if I wanted anything. I bought doors. I thought I was going to just buy the front door (a big, heavy, great door with a stained glass window that has been painted an ugly color in the interim. I’ll have to strip it.) As I walked through the empty house, I started looking at the bedroom doors. Solid wood, glass handles (how many times did my grandma and grandpa turn those handles in the 60 years they lived there?) Two of them have frosted windows in the top of the door. They’re really wonderful doors. I got to thinking that it would be neat to replace the doors to our bedrooms with those doors. So …. I bought 4 doors AND the front door. Did I measure to make sure they’d fit? Nope. I have so much faith in Wonder Husband’s carpentry skills. I am just sure he will love having “fit antique doors to our bedrooms” and “re-do front entry to make that old door our new front door” on his To Do List. Just sure of it. And the nice new owner? She gave me such a bargain on the doors. She said, “I’m not out to make money on anyone’s memories.” I loved her for that. I think my grandparents would get a kick out of knowing I was moving their doors to my house. I can’t wait to have them in place.

It got me to thinking about the things in our grandparents homes or childhood homes that we have special memories of. I remember a wonderful claw-foot bathtub in my other grandparents house. And of course I have special things that have been passed on to me from both sets of grandparents, which I treasure. I have a friend who made a “Treasures” scrapbook album of just these things – pictures of meaningful things and the memories written down that went with them. I’ve always thought I wanted to do an album like that. So here is the contest. Leave a comment on something special that you remember about your grandparents/childhood house (or someone who was special to you in your childhood), OR something that you treasure that has been passed on to you from grandparents. I will randomly pick someone to win the “Loopy Loot” prize of the month. I’ll announce the winner next Friday, so you have a week to leave comments. I will love reading these comments and hearing about your memories!

Sheri amIcompletelynutsforbuyingantiquedoorswithoutmeasuringfirst??


  1. I remember the fruit and walnut trees in our backyard in California. My mom canned the pears and they tasted like ambrosia to me. She also made candy canes from scratch at Christmas and hid them in the roasting pan. My Dad and I knew where she hid them and always snitched them ahead of time. I think she knew, but didn’t care too much. My mom is now 96 and has lived with us for many years and it is nice to rememeber the good times!

  2. Hi Sheri, first time poster here. =)
    I have so many fond memories of my grandmother growing up. I used to love going to her house because she had all the Disney movies, and all the “classic” musicals. She was an amazing cook. She could take the simplest thing..like chili and cornbread, and make it the best darned thing you ever ate in your whole life.
    At Christmas, she would make fudge for everyone in the family..it was a top secret recipe that we all swooned over. And for some reason, I was the special person she decided to share it with.
    It is one of the fondest memories I have. Packing up my stuff to stay with her for a few days. Just ME. No siblings or cousins, just grandma and me..and spending that time in the kitchen making her tremendous fudge. Not only did she teach me the recipe, she took my suggestion to expand from traditional chocolate and make a few other flavors. Peanut Butter, Rocky Road, and Maple Nut became new family favorites.
    But it was not just about making fudge. We talked, and talked, and then talked some more…and I realize now that those talks we had have helped form the woman that I am today.
    She told me I was her favorite grandchild..and that I was special. But not to tell anybody because she didn’t want any feelings to be hurt.

    Want to hear a cute thing? Her fudge recipe is almost exactly like the one on the back of the marshmellow fluff jar..And at her funeral my cousins, siblings and I were talking, and someone said..”You know, I was never supposed to tell you, but I was grandma’s favorite.” To which someone else said,” No you werent I was!” We soon realized she had said it to all of us.because we were all her favorites..and she wanted all of us to feel special.

  3. ohh, how sad. πŸ™ my dad’s parents’ house was torn down and zoned for commercial property. it had an acre, at least, of land in front and behind it, and it was a cute little house. it was yellow. and the living room was small (big enough for my grandpa’s piano, a work table where he did paint-by-numbers, and his chair, so he could watch the packer games), so we always hung out in the kitchen. it was orange. and hideous. the best thing about my grandma’s house was the spare bedroom.. she had an exercise bike, and we spent sooo much time playing on it. she also had a crocheted owl purse that my sister and i would fight over (once she was old enough to fight back. haha). i wonder what happened to that purse. πŸ™

    my mom’s parents’ house is still around, as are those grandparents. πŸ˜€ i remember the smell.. and all the antiques and my grandma’s perfume bottles! swarovski crystal and i think she had a couple of bottles that belonged to some famous people, but i don’t remember that. and the desk in the office, where we used to play school, and house (my being the oldest, i always got to be the teacher!). i love that house. the YMCA is expanding, and they’ve been buying up a lot of the land and tearing down the houses to put parking lots in. according to my mom, all that’s really left of that is the corner house, and my grandparent’s house (right next to it), and the white/green house on the other side of my grandparent’s house. i hope it stays there. πŸ™‚

  4. That’s such a wonderful entry and that’s so noce that the lady let you go in and get the doors of your grandparents house.

    I have many memories and items I treasure from my paternal grandparents as they helped raise me. Especially my grandmother. My one of my favorite items that was passed on to me that I treasure is an afghan. My grandmother passed it down to me before she passed. Sure I used it before she passed on, but she eventualy gave it to me for good shortly before passing. Now my grandmother didn’t knit at all, but this afghan was knit. That made this afghan a little more special since my great grandmother was alive when I was born, but passed before I was 2 years old. Also I apparently look like her and act like her alot. This afghan had a few years on it before I was born and had a lot of love in it. My great-grandmother (her mom) had knit the afghan. I still have this afghan. You can tell it has seen better days, but I still treasure it. It’s what I reach for first when cold, lonley, sick or any other time I need comfort.

  5. a beautiful little house. the doors will surely bring great energy into your home.

    when i was a toddler my grandfather took me on walks to find neighborhood cats. maybe why i have three cats today! then when we returned, i took great care choosing from my nanas delicate teacups for afternoon tea. she was so proud that i liked tea strong, just like her!

  6. My parents have been divorced since I was 2 years old and I would visit my Dad every weekend. My paternal Grandmother meant the world to me and my favorite memories were that she would have me sit on her lap and she would sing “I love you a bushel and a Peck” and rock me in her chair. And if my Dad let me sleep over her house on his one weekend a month, I would get to turn on the television at 6am to watch Davie and Goliath (now I know that it was so she could stay in bed a little longer), but it made me feel like such a big girl!
    Thanks for making me think of it, I miss her terribly!

  7. From the time I was 4 until I was 6, and then again from age 14-17, I lived with my maternal grandparents. They taught me so much about what matters in life that I cannot begin to put those things into words. I can say that my grandfather, a master model maker for Boeing, used to take me out in the backyard as a little girl, and teach me about all the planes that would fly over the house on their way to Sea-Tac airport. My grandma would send me out into the same backyard with a big bowl to pick raspberries, and then let me eat them covered in sugar! Some of my best memories involve thay backyard….I even wrote a paper about it in college.

  8. ‘m so glad you are saving those doors,Sheri! If you can manage it, you could also salvage some of the bricks to make a garden path! After my grandparents died, and their children were clearing the old farmhouse, my father brought me exactly what I would have chosen had I been there. First was the giant wood cupboard my great grandfather built from old walnut trees cut down to make way for my grandmother’s kitchen garden and grape arbor. Each time I have moved since then, that cupboard has been measured and re-measured to be sure it would fit. I swear he built that piece to never leave the farmhouse,but it was destined to become the focal point of my knitting room! And inside it were a handsewn and embroidered quilt my grandmother made for my wedding day (which was still to come at that point), a log-cabin quilt she had made for my father’s bed when he was a young boy in the 1920s and two coverlets handwoven on a loom from yarn handspun and hand-dyed with indigo and madder by my great grandmother! Dad knew me well and made sure I would be surrounded by the handwork of my ancestors!

  9. When I was in High School, my grandmother told my grandfather she wanted another wedding ring. He told her, “Well go get one!” My grandmother took me to the jewelry store and spent hours deciding which rings she wanted. When she had picked 3 she gave me a choice. “Tell me which one you like.”

    The one I picked is the one she bought. When she passed on, she left that wedding ring set to me. To this day I wear that ring set as my wedding ring, as it is what she wanted. Every time I think about that day I tear up. It is one of the memories of my grandmother that I cherish.

  10. Sheri,
    You were so wise to purchase the doors. They are entryways to memories and the
    joys and sorrows of our lives and hearts. Your front door will always have the warmth of your grandmother’s love greeting you when you and your family come home. How wonderful!
    I don’t have any memories of my grandparents;they perished during WWII in Germany and Poland. My Dad is now 86 and was a slave for then,my godfather a POW. My Mom was German,my Dad Polish. Love beats all,doesn’t it?
    About 20 years ago,my husband and I were lucky enough to find a 6 foot solid
    oak door being thrown out when a house was demolished a few towns over from us.
    Gleefully-without measuring it-we loaded it onto our old car and raced away with
    our treasure. Today, it stands sentinel and guardian to our home.Two years ago I thought a change might be nice,so we went to Home Depot to check out those new steel doors with Victorian Oval windows in them. When we told the lumber salesman what was there now,he shook his head and told us he would never replace a door like that! He was all of 22 years old. The door is still there.
    We never really own anything in the end-we are only caretakers. A hundred year old porcelain creamer handed down is put into a china closet because it is fragile.. Doors and handles are used ever day.
    Use your doors in good health and joy. Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories.


  11. I had to laugh when you bought doors, My brother took the french doors that were in my grandmother’s house after she died, he put them in the new home that he was building. It was a blessing since the house burned down about a year after that. It was very old and built with what my grandparents could find from their original house that washed away in a flood when my mother was 2. I have the treadle sewing machine that was both my grandmothers and greatgrandmothers in my home, and would never part with it. I also have several quilts that were made by both. I have not started to quilt yet, but I will since it is in my genes. My greatgrandmother was a wonderful seamstress and could make anything from just looking at a picture. I also tend to look at pictures to make things also.

  12. Hi Sheri!

    Since my maternal grams lived in Michigan and I grew up in Virginia, I didn’t get to see her all that often. She was an extremely loving woman, and would do everything she could to spoil us rotten. Every time we visited, she would stock up on kit kat bars, and keep them in the freezer. Frozen kit kats will always remind me of her.

    After she passed away in 2005, my female cousins and i were talking about how good it felt to come from her lineage. I had just finished reading a book on genetics, and I realized that since grams had two daughters (my mom and aunt), and those daughters had one and three daughters respectively, we ladies had her exact same mitochondrial dna! M-DNA is passed directly from mother to child, and if it goes female-female-female everyone has the same. It’s strange, I know, but I love knowing that I have an exact replica of a piece of my grams in my genes.

  13. When i was a little girl, i and the neighbor girl used to go into the woods near our trailer park and collect acorns and little “helicopter” seeds. we’d take them back and play with them in the sand box. I grew up with my family not haveing much money, so we used them as the people and castle decorations. One morning when i was four, i noticed a little plant in my sand box. i scooped it up and gave it to my grandfather the next day. (my grandfather used to knit me mittens when i was a little girl and i think that’s why i knit mittens most!) Well he died when i was six. when i was 13, my grandmother was moving and selling her house. We dug up my little tree and brought it to my parents house. it is now doing great. i plant a little garden around it every year.
    It is my tree now.

  14. I have a very very old Viking sewing machine that was passed onto me from my Grandmother. The first time I sat down to sew on it I was so impressed that I now also own a new Viking machine. But after a couple of hours of having the machine on, a strange thing happened…. It just took off sewing by itself! The foot pedal wasn’t stuck so the only way I could stop it was to rip the cord out of the wall! It was very late at night when I was the only one left up in the house and at the time I was sure it was the ghost of my grandmother sewing with me!!!!! I took it to be repaired but they don’t make the part to fix it anymore and it basically works fine until the motor gets hot and then it just sews by itself. But here is where it gets even weirder…my mom inherited my Grandmother’s old Kitchen Aid stand mixer. When I told my mom about what happened with the sewing machine, she told me that when she was using the stand mixer, the EXACT same thing happened! It just would go by itself if it was plugged in. She said she thought it was my Grandmother trying to cook with her!

  15. My Granny (great grandmother) had a round clear plastic box that has little pegs to hold spools of thread. I loved playing with all the different colors of thread as a child. I would take them out of the box and put them back in and rearrange them and sort them. She also had an old treadle sewing machine. She allowed me (when I was about 12) to sew patchwork pillows. I have a treadle machine of my own now and plan to teach my children and grandchildren to sew on it. Jamie

  16. What a touching story! My grandparents never had a real “house” home. They always lived in 2 flat apartments in Chicago (several while we were growing up). Since there was no one “home”, my grandmother left us many of the treasured possesions they had. I have her 1st Communion rosary & case from her Communion in 1911, the special knick knacks that were always on the bookcase shelves that she got when they married in 1930 & the only surviving piece of her good china (the gravy boat).

    But the most important things I have are the memories of the summers “vacations” my sister & I had each summer when my Mom would let us go stay with my grandparents. Things like the little arched niche in the hallway wall that held the telephone that I was not supposed to play with, but I did (partylines were great fun as a child) & the time I decided it would be great fun to stick my head through the ballistrades on the staircase between the 1st & 2nd floor flats in the brownstone they lived in. They had to finally call the Chiicago Fire Department to get me out. I think that brownstone may be gone, but it will always be there for me.

  17. My maternal grandparents recently moved to a senior apartment community near my parents in metro Atlanta, but up until last year they had lived in the house my grandfather built for them in Pensacola, FL. They moved there when my mother was in the 8th grade. Just a tiny little 2 bedroom house, but I have so many great memories of visiting there! Grandma loved to go to garage sales, and they had a walk-in closet they called “Fibber McGee’s closet”, where my sister and I would search for treasures whenever we visited. In grandma’s bedroom, grandpa had mounted a large shelf on the wall with a mirror, to serve as a vanity – my sister and I spent many hours in front of that mirror trying on all of grandma’s fabulous costume jewelry. She also had a cedar chest where she kept all of our artwork, school pictures, letters, etc., we used to love to sit down with her and go through all that stuff. They had a huge lot with those towering Florida pine trees on it…grandpa had his shed, and his “boathouse” (a carport for his boat, along with lots of other “stuff”).

    Wow….thanks for your post – it’s nice to relive these great memories! You will be so glad that you have those doors in your house. πŸ™‚

  18. The summer that I graduated from high school was spent with my grandfather in a small village in western Sicily. The house was built in the late 1800s. My bed while there was the bed my great grandparents slept in. It was a massive carved wood 4-poster with canopy, but the best part was the mattress. It was a giant pillow filled with freshly carded wool that was suspended on ropes. When I made the bed in the morning, the mattress was fluffed just like a down pillow. I sat with my cousins one afternoon while they carded the freshlyl washed wool from another mattress. My understanding was that every summer they would all get together and do one mattress at a time until all had been freshly washed and carded. I have to admit, that was the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in. It was cool on a hot afternoon and warm on a chilly night, and oh so comfy at all times. That was 45 years ago, but it is etched forever in my memories.

  19. My grandmother lived in an old victorian home, with an accompanying orchard on the property. One of our jobs as kids, was to pick up all the apples which fell on to the ground. The sour apple trees hosted not only hammocks but also a place for us to climb and hide, sit and read.

  20. Sheri,

    What beautiful memories! I know you will cherish those doors.

    My family is all gone…I am an only child, no more grandparents or mother. I did not grow up with my father so he is a great friend, but not necessarily a parent. I was just going through the desk in my guest room. This desk was my grandmother’s. I remember my grandfather sitting there daily “doing his receipts” on an old adding machine. The adding machine was the type you punch the numbers in, then pull down the handle. I still have the adding machine sitting on the desk. Above it is the receipt showing how he bought the machine “on time” in 1957 for $125, a small fortune in those days! The desk also has my grandmother’s nameplate from her years as a telephone operator, my grandfather’s name stamp and my mother’s “left handed genius” sign. I love to go and sit at the desk and think of these special people who are no longer around. I try to give my boys a since of their history and tell them about their heritage.

  21. In the little town we lived in most everyone was poor, so we had to make up games, and boy did we! One of our favorite things was to go to the “camping grounds” which was just vacant lot behind our house with a small stand of trees and some underbrush. What more do all the neighborhood kids need to keep them occupied? There were trees to climb, underbrush to hide in, and get this… we drug an old mattress to our camping grounds, renamed it a trampoline, put it under the tallest tree, and proceeded to jump out of the tree onto the mattress. Its a miracle we survived childhood.

  22. We spent a year slowly emptying the homestead after Grandpa passed away. We found all knits of fun things – hazing pictures from crossing the equator during WWII, 50 years of birthday, anniversary, and post cards, pictures of the last people my grandparents dated before they got married to each other (His – intact. Hers – old boyfriend’s face cut out *hee hee*). The whole family went thru the house and “dibbed” the things we wanted to keep – and now every time I come home I see my grandpa’s bookcase and my grandma’s dressing table, and I love having a little part of them with me. *sniff*. Thanks for letting me share.

  23. What a great house,with great memories, and what a pity it is going to go. Lots of older houses here have heritage orders on them.
    My granma’s place was nothing special. It was built of concrete slabs as cheap housing for the underprivileged. It had cheap furniture and way too many cats (I like cats but Granma’s were not neutered, oh dear…). Granma’s bed was about three feet off the ground. That was fine for Pop cos he was tall but Granma tipped 5′ so I guess she jumped into bed literally. The house was built on a small block with heavy clay = cracks big enough to put your hand into in summer and heavy heavy mud in winter. But going to Granma’s always meant presents and sponge cake with pink icing from the cake shop. It meant sloppy bristly kisses from Pop and climbing up the old apricot tree. It meant family having fun together. There was nothing in my Granma’s place that was special except for the people.

  24. I too have many wonderful memories and now live on the ranch my grandparents owned since 1920 in Northern California. I can relate to you so well. But my most recent wonderful memory is of finding the house we lived in when I was 6 years old (I’m 62 now) out in the country in Montana. My husband didn’t think I would be able to find it, I fooled him. The young family that was living on the property let us go in the old farmhouse. This brought back so many wonderful memories ..where I got locked in the cabinet in the bathroom while playing hid and go seek, the kitchen counter where my mom had us lay to wash our long hair, the barn and the upstairs bedroom that I shared with my sister because I was afraid to sleep in my room after my older boy cousin told me there were ghosts. While we were going through the house, the new owner asked what my maiden name was and as I spelled it to him since it was a difficult German name of Romelsbacher he finished spelling it …I though that it was strange he knew how to spell it and then he came out of another room holding a wooden sign that my Dad had carved our last name into. It had been in the house for 55 years. Of course I broke into tears. Needless to say I now have it.

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