22 Jun 2011, 11:18am
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Screen Doors

Screen Doors

The slam of a screen door is reassuring, irritating and wonderful. It’s nostalgic, a bit of Americana and home.
One late afternoon, our almost-four-year old was playing next door. It was time to come home, so I called his name, then realized he must be in their house. I gave a whoop and called his name again.
Throughout the years, family and neighbors have learned when this Mom gives a whoop or rings the old school marm’s bell, some one had better come on the double. And, so it happened. I heard the porch screen door slam and a little voice holler, “I’m here, Mimi.” I was reassured that he was home, safe and sound.
I suspect my mother felt irritation when she heard her screen door slam, because what we heard was, “Why do you always have to slam that door?” The screen doors on our homes were the “modern” aluminum ones that rattled like flimsy tin cans tied together. The bottom panel was usually dented and loose from kicking it open and closed when her arms were full of groceries or golf equipment. The upper screen wasn’t much tighter.

My grandmother’s screen doors were made with wooden frames with a wooden strip waist high and a vertical supporting it. The screen door on the porch was the first one you came to after climbing the steep stone stairs and rounding the corner to pull the Captain’s bell, announcing your arrival.
The porch was an add-on to the New England saltbox and, throughout the years, had sagged with the porch so that the door was not only wedged shut, it had multiple layers of dark green paint sealing it’s fate. Right next to it was a screen door that went directly into the dining room. Sometimes it stuck at the bottom, so if you were in a hurry and not being careful, the top would open, but not the bottom and you’d walk into the edge of the door. A painful experience! The screen was usually bowed from constantly missing the Tee-support when you ran out of the house to play.
My screen doors are wooden like my grandmother’s. They make the same nostalgic slam hers made and sometimes stick at the bottom. I did add a spring to the horizontal piece, though. It adds a nice vibrating twang when it slams. After we’d bowed the screen, I added a “push-me” board with stenciling on it, to keep the screen from being pushed out completely.
Often after grocery shopping, my husband will let my guide dog and me out of the van part-way up the hill and we’ll walk the rest of the way. If I hear my neighbors aluminum door slam, I know I have one more driveway to go. When my guide dog stops, I feel for my unique wooden mailbox, give him a kibble for doing a good job and we head up my driveway. Once in the house and the screen door slams behind us, I know we are home, safe and sound.

06/27/2002 Wayne County STAR Newspaper
Cornucopia
by Kate Chamberlin
Copyright ©2002 by Kate Chamberlin

17 Jun 2011, 5:34pm
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Comments Off on Garden Tour/Book Signing June 18

Garden Tour/Book Signing June 18

Garden Tour/Book Signing June18

Local children’s author, Kate Chamberlin, will be signing her books during the Walworth Garden Tour on Saturday, June 18 from 1:00 – 5:00 PM at the Reville residence.
The Reville home at 3877 Orchard Street, Walworth, is one of the numerous and beautiful gardens that will be open to visitors. Dave Reville is the former head of the Cornell Extension in Wayne County. It is the perfect setting for Chamberlin to display, sell and sign her illustrated, children’s books, especially “Green Trillium”,
“Green Trillium” will introduce children and their families to many of the wild flowers that flourish in Wayne County. Chamberlin’s other books include “The Night Search”(a blind child learns the value of using the long, white cane) and “Charles and David” (although Charles, who is chubby, and David, who is diabetic are cousins, they have a hard time getting along until they spend the summer with Grandma on her farm). Chamberlin is a contributing author to “Behind Our Eyes, An Anthology by writers with a disability and on the editorial staff of “magnets and Ladders”, an on-line magazine. Her blog is www.katechamberlin.com.
Edie Pasquini, a local artist and former proprietress of Potpourri of Gifts,, will also be at Reville’s for visitors to view her Fine Arts and place orders for custom, building silhouettes and paintings.
The tour is free; however, visitors should first stop in at the Historical Society’s building, Academy Street, to pick up a map and register for a door prize. The Walworth Garden Tour is sponsored by the Walworth Historical Society and promoted by the Walworth Hamlet Association: www.WalworthHamletAssociation.org.