Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Did They Lock The Door?

old door lock
The old key hole makes me wonder if they ever locked the door. Did they lock it when they went to the store just down the road or only if they went on a trip far away?

Did you grow up in a house where the doors were never locked? I did.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    Nancy M.
    February 16, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Shh! Don’t tell anyone, but I don’t lock my doors now!

  • Reply
    February 14, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    In the summer, half the time the doors weren’t even shut. We probably latched the screen door, though.

  • Reply
    February 14, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Our doors were always locked. And now I have a phobia about leaving the doors unlocked. The Captain says I lock the house up like Fort Knox. LOL

  • Reply
    February 13, 2011 at 2:23 am

    My grandparents’ farm house in highland county, Ohio had those same door knobs. They never locked the doors. I don’t even think there was a key! They also left the keys in the cars and trucks in the driveway. Once they had trouble with someone stealing from the barn. Instead of trying to lock it up they just put one of the big farm dogs in there every night. In the suburbs we lock our doors. Right before Christmas I had someone walk in my unlocked front door at night while my husband was at work. My black lab mix chased them off, but it really scared me and now I double check every door and window!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 12, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Love the photo, Tipper. Don’t remember if our doors were locked when I was growing up.
    Sometimes lock the doors now and sometimes not. Depends on where you live.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    February 12, 2011 at 10:25 am

    The more I look at your photo of the door…I don’t think that door would be too easy to lock….
    Is it si-godlin’ or am I looking at it a little catty-cornered…
    Now I could be a little catawampused this morning…LOL
    Love it,
    Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    Canned Quilter
    February 12, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Like most my childhood home was never locked. Unfortunately in the rural area where I live now that is just an invitation for trouble. I am afraid that the days of safely leaving doors unlocked are indeed just a thing of the past. Isn’t that really sad!

  • Reply
    janet pressley
    February 12, 2011 at 3:39 am

    Lock the doors just to get some comfort of being safe. It may not work because anybody can break glass but we are not in the 50’s 60’s or 70’s anymore. Nana

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    February 12, 2011 at 1:15 am

    When I was a kid on the farm I am not sure our doors even had locks. I had four older brothers who came in at all hours of the night so the doors were always open for them. When I married in the sixties, I keep my doors locked at all times. My husband traveled for several days at the time. I was a scaredy cat and checked my doors at night.
    Now here I am in NC and sometimes I go to bed with the keys dangling on the outside of the door. It isn’t that I’m so brave now, it is that I’m so forgetful.

  • Reply
    February 12, 2011 at 12:17 am

    Don’t even know where the key is!

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    February 11, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Growing up in suburban Tampa, our doors were only locked at night. Now, up on the mountain, half a mile from the hard road, they never are.

  • Reply
    SandyCarlson (USA)
    February 11, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Gosh, no! I grew up with the endearingly neurotic who locked everything twice! My grandmother grew up near a crossroads where hobos and gypsies gathered during the Depression. Always, her mother was counting her children for fear of–the unknown.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Never locked when I was a kid. My Mother has started locking up recently as she sometimes has the Granddaughters for the weekend. My house is still not locked. Maybe I am askin’ for it! I had a funny thought when I read this post. We always left the car trunk key in the car trunk lock! Don’t see that today!

  • Reply
    February 11, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    When I was growing up we never did
    lock any doors. Neighbors were as
    good as locked doors. Now most folks, even if they’re your close
    neighbors, won’t even tell you if
    they saw strange vehicles coming
    from your driveway. And its still
    hard for me to remember to take my
    car keys with me when I go to the
    store for something. There are
    too many oxycotin-heads running
    loose today. That’s where most of
    the stealing is taking place…Ken

  • Reply
    Shirley Owens
    February 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Tipper, we left the door unlocked unless we were inside at night. That was so that the screen door would not flap in the wind and wake up everyone. Super pictures!

  • Reply
    laoi gaul-williams
    February 11, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    i never have.
    but my mums family was a huge extended one that occupied a few whole streets in Portsmouth (formerly known as portsea here in hampshire in the uk)
    i have heard so many tales of the children going from house to house for food or to ‘visit uncle fred’s rag shop’the street parties at the end of the war, the american service men the mp’s chasing one service dodging member of the family across the garden walls-i adore the stories and feel glad i come from such a strong family

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    February 11, 2011 at 11:07 am

    We didn’t lock our doors in Newberry, S. C. in the 40’s and 50’s. We didn’t take vacations often, but once when we did, we didn’t even lock the door then so my uncle who lived just up the road could get in, in case of fire, etc. We didn’t take the car keys out either, not even parking in town. Never had any trouble…

  • Reply
    Nancy Wigmore
    February 11, 2011 at 10:51 am

    I grew up in a house that we never locked the door. Even after I was grown, my mama kept the front door locked but the back door always stayed unlocked. Now that she is in a nursing home…the doors are kept locked. Thanks for you posts and the all the great comments. Have a wonderful weekend. Prayerfully, Nancy

  • Reply
    Ron Corley
    February 11, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Though I live in East TN now, I was born in KS and raised in CO. Never ever do I remember Mom & Dad locking the doors to the house unless we were going to be away for a period of time. We were poor as church mice while I was a child, and of course did not have central air conditioning back in the 50’s and 60’s. So, at night, Mom would open up all the windows, and leave the front and back doors open to allow the cool Colorado breeze cool the house down while we slept. It’s funny, our only security was the screen doors and the window screens to keep the bugs out. Didn’t seem like there was as many bad guys out there like there is in today’s world. A person didn’t have to keep their cars locked either. Days gone by for sure, not forgotten, and days surely missed. One thing that never changes though, and that’s God’s love … He still sustains us.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2011 at 9:44 am

    We never locked our doors when I was young – but now I’m almost paranoid about them being locked all the time. With so many reports of intruders just walking in even during daylight, I try to make sure the doors are always locked now. How sad that we’ve come to this point.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Love that photo of the door Tipper. We never locked our doors during the day only at night. But now you don’t dare leave your door or car doors unlocked even during the day. We live in a small town but after they built the prison here there are all kinds of strangers moving about.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Good question..I never thought about it but I guess we didn’t because both my parents worked outside the home and us kids never had a key to get in after school. We just came home and walked in.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Ah, the good old days! We never locked our doors, whether we were going to bed or out of town for the day. Of course, we didn’t have the same financial or societal pressures then, and most moms could stay home with their children all day, we were REAL neighbors back then, and all kept an eye on each other’s property. Makes me sad for the younger people who never knew such a time!

  • Reply
    February 11, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Tipper- A few days ago I was telling you that I worked for a soft drink company. One of our customers was a little old lady – a very sweet one I might add. She always locked the door to her store but here’s what got me. On the door facing, just about eye level there was a small finishing nail driven in into it. ( How do you like the way I avoided the preposition thing this time?) Well, once she locked the door she would hang the key on the nail in plain sight on the door facing! I always laughed about that but, I doubt if the most harden criminal could have ever stolen from her.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2011 at 8:57 am

    we never locked the doors growing up except when we were going out of town.. I do not think i could lock the door here at the shack if I wanted too.. i know i certainly do not have a key to it and dont know if the manthing has one either..

  • Reply
    February 11, 2011 at 8:40 am

    we always had locked doors at night when we were home and always when we left for more han a little while, not locked if we walked next door, but when gone from home they were locked.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    February 11, 2011 at 8:26 am

    We never locked our doors when I was a child. Only if we were going on a summer trip over the mountain and be gone for several days..
    After I got married the only times the door was locked was vacation time. After the children were born things changed. A Mothers instinct kicked in (new baby) and I started locking the doors when husband was on night shift.
    After my Mom had two home invasions I not only lock the doors, the smoker is loaded…but I don’t worry here in the country like I did while staying with my Mother in the city….but alas, we still lock doors here…
    Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    Eva M. Wike, Ph. D.
    February 11, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Hey Tipper: I have the ‘old’ door that my family used way back when the inside ‘lock’ was a simple leather strap which they just hooked over a nail – to keep the winds from blowing the door open in the night! The only thing we feared in the Matheson Cove was a house fire! Our fireplace/chimney was NOT APPROVED by some federal agency!
    Loved your thoughts on such a simple notion! Keep it up!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    February 11, 2011 at 7:46 am

    As Jim noted, the doors were never locked when we grew up. That included the car as well. The first time I ever saw Daddy lock the car was when he took a bunch of Little League baseball players to Asheville to watch the Tourists play.
    Sometime in their 80’s our folks started locking the door when they left the house for a while.
    When Daddy was in his early-mid 90’s, he managed to lock himself out of the house one day. Being mountain mule stubborn, he went around to the side of the house and crawled through a little porthole that led down into the basement (since sealed off). It was about 5 feet from the hole down to the basement floor, and he took a head-first spill and laid on the dirt floor down there for awhile recovering.
    He was left with some fine bruises to body, not to mention a badly wounded pride.
    We all scolded him about that, but speaking for myself, it made me mighty proud to be his boy.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2011 at 7:43 am

    I grew up in a house where we never locked the door. We had never locked our door either until recently. My grandmother was a victim of a crime at her home. Never thought I would lock my doors, but we definitely do now.

  • Reply
    Nancy @ A Rural Journal
    February 11, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Maybe I’m crazy, but I still do. Locked doors keep honest people out. Dishonest people will find a way in, locked doors or not.
    Great photo, Tipper. Love those old escutcheon locks.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    February 11, 2011 at 7:38 am

    My Dad was the kind that always locked the door. Funny enough we live in a gated community in FL and our cabin in NC is isolated, we hardly ever lock the door now.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Can’t ever remember our doors being locked except at night,when Daddy would have to work and it’d just be Mama and us kids at home by ourselves.

  • Reply
    Ruth Himan
    February 11, 2011 at 7:18 am

    One story my parents use to like to tell was when they sold the house. It was not until the realtor asked them to turn over the keys to the house, that they realized they had no idea where the house keys could be found. So dad spent all night changing all the locks in the house so he could hand over a set of house keys. We had a seven doors that led to outside the house!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    February 11, 2011 at 7:13 am

    Tipper–The doors were never locked in the house when I was a boy and, for that matter, the same held true well into my adulthood. The fact that it is necessary to lock them is a sad commentary on the comparion between then and now.
    Jim Casada

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