The Front Door

A front door is all about expectations. It’s the place where a house greets its visitors and lets them know what might be inside. I’m timid when I approach a front door. I’m never sure whether my knock or my doorbell ring will delight or disturb. I like clear instructions and am happy when I see a sign telling me what to do. Signs that advise, “Do not ring bell – sleeping baby,” or “Knock loudly,” are always helpful. My mother was even more timid than I, usually saying as we drove up to a house “Oh, I don’t think they’re home!”

When Aaron built the farmhouse on Whirlwind Hill he must have wanted people to know that the inhabitants were doing well. The front door was classical and elegant – the surrounding molding simple and substantial – the stone step ancient and enduring. It’s no wonder so many family portraits were taken in this south-facing spot. My parents posed here before they were married.

Janet and Charlie Crump, 1942

Janet and Charlie Crump, 1942

And three years later they posed me in a pair of overalls standing against the threshold.

Carol at the front door, 1946

Carol at the front door, 1946

But despite its welcoming beauty, I rarely used the front door. The kitchen door was always unlocked, and it was there I usually entered. When I walked into the kitchen I expected a hugging welcome from my grandmother and maybe a donut or a cookie. There was life and activity in the kitchen, and I wanted to be a part of it.

I do believe in the importance of a well-kept and impressive front door, and in having expectations to guide the day. I’m bothered by a mediocre entryway, and I’m unsatisfied by a day where I wonder aimlessly. A door is a focus and a way in, and this lovely door marking the entryway to the farmhouse beckoned generations of my family inside to gather together in warmth and comfort.

"Front Door," Carol Crump Bryner, gouache and pencil, 2013

“Front Door,” Carol Crump Bryner, gouache and pencil, 2013

On Wednesday:  Three Notches

3 thoughts on “The Front Door

  1. Netzy

    Hi Carol, it is a lovely front door! I wish I had such a welcoming entry way. Your family history is interesting to many because of your creative presentation. Thank you.

  2. Donna

    Thanx again for the memories 🙂 We always entered the kitchen door 😉 but ate in the dinning room. Our visits were always spring, summer & fall. I never remember going to the farm in the winter. I can vividly remember your mum she was so beautiful. your cuz Donna

  3. Linda Hall Christensen

    We always used the kitchen door too. I don’t think I ever looked for a front door or noticed it until I was an “older kid”. But we always received a warm and loving welcome through that kitchen door.


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