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The Gentle Thud of Old Screen Doors

Right up there with the aroma of bread baking, I would rate the sound of a wooden screen door closing. It gives a comfortable, homey feeling. It can easily be distinguished from the harsh bang of a metal storm screen door by the second gentle thud when it settles into place.

Wooden screen doors had much in common. They usually had a large X across the bottom section to keep the screen from being kicked out. They had a long thin spring hooked from the screen door to the house frame to let it close on its own after being opened. The spring could also be unhooked for propping the door back during the winter months.

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Screen doors had individuality. While most had metal oblong handles, occasionally one would offer a round wooden knob. Some had a piece of cotton pinned in the center to scare flies away. There were different methods of patching holes. Weaving thread, string, or fishing line were some of the most popular. Tape could be used in a pinch.

I had my husband install a wooden screen door in the doorway between the attached garage and the family room in a house we lived in once. It had the desired nostalgic effect. It brought back memories of my sister and me running out of the house and pushing the screen door so hard that the spring was unable to return the door from the outside wall. This was always followed by my mother's call, "Close the door. You're letting flies in!"

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