About 20 years ago…
I took a trip to Kansas to meet my grandparents and see the area they grew up in during the Great Depression. One of the places my grandfather took me was an old one room schoolhouse he’d attended school in as a boy. It had been the setting for many stories and silly antics he shared with me about his time and years there.
The schoolhouse was a small, dilapidated building full of wasps and birds’ nests. It sat at the bottom of a hill in the countryside, surrounded by old farms. Inside, the original desks were still there, along with a large, old bookcase that had fallen over.
One of the things that I noticed was it still had the original door knob on the door leading into the building – it was a clear crystal with a spiral pattern in the glass. I knew when I saw it that it was special and I had to take it home. Luckily, my Grandfather had tools in his trunk, and so he removed it right then for me to keep.
For many years, the door knob lived in various places around my home as a special reminder of the stories behind it and historic building it came from.
Bringing History Back
In September 2010, my grandfather passed away from cancer. After his passing, I treasured the door knob even more. I would imagine him turning that knob every day as he entered the schoolhouse as a little boy, and I realized how much such a small part of that building carried so many memories of the history and events that occurred within its walls.
I decided to start giving my real estate and design clients antique door knobs as gifts for their new homes. When I share my story with them, sometimes the reaction is heartfelt, and sometimes it is met with confusion. Either way, I hope that at some point in time it becomes a reminder to them, as it was for me, that every part and every piece of a home, no matter how small, can hold meaning about the times and people that lived within its walls.
Our homes are not just structures. The home is a place that history – our history – will be made, for as long as we live there. At some point in the future, when we pass on the honor of allowing someone else to claim ownership of the door knobs on our doors, a new history will be made.
I guess this is my way of keeping my grandfather and his memory still alive. My hope is that this small gift will remind those who acknowledge its symbolism of what a precious and wonderful place our home can be for many years.
About the author
Karan Hankinson is a real estate agent at Roohan Realty, award-winning interior designer, and Owner of Karan Hankinson Interiors. Karan specializes in residential real estate, new home construction, staging, and first time home buyers. She has four sons, and enjoys traveling, snowmobiling, and hiking.