Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Names on a Door

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Names on a Door

Article excerpt

The woman who rang our doorbell said she had grown up in the house. Would it be alright if she showed her husband the backyard? It turned out that the visitor was known to me - in a way. Her name is immortalized on the side of the basement door, along with those of her two brothers, on a homemade chart with their heights and years. The last mark was dated 1986.

After they moved out, the next owner did some remodeling, but left that part of the door untouched. When we bought the house in 1993, I wondered about the children whose growth is charted on the door. I felt something in common with them besides the kitschy antique-car wallpaper and drippy faucets. The same walls that sheltered their family were now enclosing mine. I looked forward to adding my young son Ben's stats to the door. I'm convinced that houses retain some aura of the people who once lived there. …

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