It was one of those screen doors with a spring to ensure it closed behind a person and every time it did there was an unmistakable squeak followed by a slam. Sometimes the wind caught the door flinging it wildly open when the latch was left hanging, stretching the spring and separating the coils. It no longer had the tension of a new spring, but it still had that memorable slam. To this day it’s a sound that conjures up feelings of warmth and safety in my mind’s eye.
The noise of the squeak and slam were different for my mother who heard it every time one of us entered or exited the back door so she made use of the latch and kept it hooked.
We lived in a neighborhood where two story houses stood bathed in the shade of tree lined streets. A place where tiny front lawns were manicured between cool front porches and city sidewalks. It was a time when people didn’t lock their doors during the day so the front door was always open, but my friends all lived in the direction of the back of the house and I’d come to that back door, give it a pull, and let out a sigh.
The house was circa 1930 and time had taken its toll on the tightness of the structure and so instead of walking around to the front of the house I figured out the door had enough play in it to pull it open just enough to slip my finger through the slit and flip the latch.
Pulling it open too far placed tension on the door and the latch wouldn’t budge. It was a tedious bit of opening with just the right amount of space for me to flip the latch and come home.