Journaling | The Joy of Having a Door of One's Own

Aah - the joy of having a front door of one's own. It's funny how these memories return.

The first door I remember was as a young child. I can no longer remember my age - possibly three or four. One day, or at least so it seemed to me, we had a perfectly normal front door and then suddenly it changed. A large wooden board, painted a bright, lurid pink appeared, nailed to the bottom half of our door, at a slightly awkward angle.

I remember walking with my mother across the road, all the other frontdoors looked perfectly dull, as I thought a good front-door should, and then I saw our own. I could not understand it. Before it had been normal as the other doors on our road, but now it stood out - strangely and rudely.

This was a confusion to me. Why had my father nailed this strange board to our door? It made no sense to me. Everything else in our home seemed the same, but that strange addition to our front door alarmed me. It did not matter that it was pink, and pink was amongst my favourite colours. This was the wrong shade of pink - brightly, sickly bubblegum pink. And it looked wrong. Very wrong.

I could only imagine that my father had rummaged around in the backgarden and found an old tin of paint and, rather than letting it go to waste, he had decided to do abit of DIY on our door.

A year or so later we moved and of course we had a new front door. There were two panels of decorated glass, top and bottom, with a gold letterbox in the middle. I still do not know how my father managed to do this, but somehow, between raising six children, sending half his weekly wage back home to Jamaica to support his parents and siblings,  and giving ten percent of his wage to our local church as part of his tithe he faithfully paid, my father managed to save enough money for a deposit on a three-bedroom house in London.

We had our own set of keys to our own front door.

Behind that door, we lived a thousand lives. A home packed where I jostled for space with five older brothers. Where we kneeled round our parents' bed for nightly praye-rtime, where my mother listened to The Archers on Radio Four as she used scraps of paper to write never-ending shopping lists and little notes to God, and my father tuned in daily to the Six O'clock news or followed the West Indies cricket team avidly on the wireless, as he called it.

I remember day after day how that front door opened and closed. How my father would eat breakfast or lunch, then pull on his heavy shoes and railway cap and marched to the front door, before pausing to call, "I'm off!" Then I would hear our door open and slam shut, and a second or two later the gate would creak as my father set off for his work on the trains. Day in. Day out. Year after year after year.

It was a long time before I even thought of that our old front door again. but one day the image of the bright pink paint and ugly board popped into my head. "Why did Daddy paint the door that horrible shade of pink?" I finally asked my mother. She thought a moment, remembering.

"He didn't," she said. "The door had been damaged and the council came to change it. You see that was a council house, and the workmen came with an awful offcut of wood left over from another job. So that's why we were stuck with it."

So that's what I think of when I recall doors. The choice of having your own front door, that you are free to paint or change as your taste or budget permits. The joy and freedom of finally having a door of one's own.







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