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, when the latch was left hanging, the wind caught the door, flinging it wildly open, 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.
However, 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.
The house was circa 1890 and time had taken its toll on the tightness of the structure. We lived in a safe neighborhood at 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, find it latched and let out a sigh.
Instead of walking around to the front of the house I figured out the door had enough play in it to pull it open, get 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. Just the right amount of space for me to flip the latch and come home.
One never can tell from the sidewalk just what the view is to someone on the inside, looking out.
— George Ade said that