Did They Lock The Door?

My life in appalachia - wonder how many times they locked it
The old key hole above the door knob makes me wonder if they ever locked the door. Did they lock it when they went to the store just down the road or did they only lock it if they went on a trip far away?

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


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  • Reply
    Bill Fleming
    May 4, 2021 at 10:24 am

    Tipper I recall growing up in Pike County Ky and at night I would wake up and hear the dogs toenails clicking on the wooden floors. We not only didn’t lock the doors but on those summer nights when it was smother some, we left both doors open and the critters would wander thru when they felt like it…

  • Reply
    Julia Anderson
    January 29, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Like you, I grew up in a house where the doors were never locked. We didn’t lock our cars either – except at church in the late summer, and that was just to keep your friends and neighbors from putting squash in your car.

  • Reply
    January 18, 2015 at 8:10 am

    I grew up in a house where doors were locked, but I’ve been living with unlocked doors for 30-plus years. When I used to travel more, I always had to find and label keys for the critter-sitters. Once I even had to hang curtains, for a critter-sitter who felt uneasy being out in the woods without curtains. Folks are different.

  • Reply
    January 18, 2015 at 1:54 am

    When we lived in the city, the door was never locked. When we first moved to the country, that door was never locked either, and what’s more, we were pretty much always allowed to go anywhere we wanted as long as we stayed on our own property, some 13 acres back then.
    Then the government put I-90 about 1/4 mile down the road, and the door did start to get locked at night and we were cautioned about staying within the main part of the yard. When I asked why, I learned our parents were worried about vagrants hitchhiking with truckers along I-90 who might decide to live for a while in our woods and might be a threat to us.
    Learning that grew me up a bit that day. I’m not sure before then that I’d ever been afraid of “people” who might hurt me. It’s a shame kids have to be taught that, but all of humankind isn’t kind and hasn’t been since Cain slew Abel.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    James Pease
    January 17, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    When I moved to Bartlett, Tx in the early 80’s, The doors were never locked in my house or any of the neighbors. One guy told me the buyer of his house asked him “does everything work?” he told him “sure does” Then thought a minute and said “except the lock on the front door. when it broke I never bothered to fix it because I never used it anyway! Tipper, please let me know how your friend is, I ave been praying for her.
    with love from your brother jim

  • Reply
    January 17, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    When I was growing up we never
    locked our doors, don’t even know
    if we had a key anyway…Ken

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    January 17, 2015 at 11:24 am

    I believe the folks that own the building with the antique door, knob and latch-sleeve would have a hard time locking this door.
    It causes one to look “side-goggled” at the “catawampus” and “cater-cornered” door locking device! I love those old knobs and locks…but especially the old large keys! I have been saving mine! When I come upon some at yard/estate sales, flea markets, etc. I wanted to do a collage (picture) using antique keys and painting in the knobs and locks!
    As with just about anything, someone went and spoiled the fun by reproducing look alike antique keys. One can find them in art stores and craft shops.
    As well as “sneaky dealers” that leave them out in the rain to let them rust. Then try to sell them as antique! They are not that high anyway, I don’t understand the reasoning! Of course I have seen the fakes as high as 5 bucks!
    Shame on them!
    Anyhow, NOPE, when I was a kid we never locked our door!
    Not so nowadays!
    My Daddy always said as he tucked the pistol under the old 50’s car seat for a long foggy trip over and back thru the mountains. (It was just his mountain raised habit to have back up to protect his family.) I supposed a’kin to the shotgun hung over the door!…
    “It’s not the four-legged critters you have to worry about, it’s the two-legged varmit’s you have to watch out for!
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…Get Deerhunter to “shim up” that shed wall. So to even up that catawampus wall and door knob! LOL

  • Reply
    Vann Helms
    January 17, 2015 at 11:21 am

    I lived in downtown Miami for years, and was broken into three times. The door was always locked, and windows were destroyed so they could get in. Here in the mountains I don’t lock my door. Haven’t had a problem in six years. If a thief wants in, they will get in. If friends and family need access, they don’t need to worry about a key. This drives my Miami friends absolutely bonkers.

  • Reply
    January 17, 2015 at 11:14 am

    {SIGH…} I still forget or neglect to lock the door when we leave and occasionally leave the keys in the truck. I guess that I don’t want to admit that folks would steal from us. The truck’s a stick-shift (and it’s old and ugly) so the probability if it being stolen is greatly reduced.

  • Reply
    January 17, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Our doors were locked at night and when we left the house. If someone was at home in the day time they weren’t locked. Looking back, it probably wasn’t necessary. Anyone could buy ‘skeleton’ keys at the ‘Dime store’ at two for ten cents. These would fit any door on the place except the smoke house. Most of the homes in the area had the same types of locks.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 17, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Our first house on Wiggins Creek had a lock on the kitchen door. It had a latch to lock it when we were inside. The key was lost so we couldn’t lock it when we left but we didn’t have anything worth stealing anyway.
    The only other door was nailed shut. It went out on to the porch that Daddy never got around to building. He did, however build a new house with proper locks on all the doors.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    January 17, 2015 at 10:11 am

    I still live in house where the door is never locked-

  • Reply
    Annette Casada Hensley
    January 17, 2015 at 10:09 am

    The Casada family also slept behind unlocked doors. It took me years, as an adult, to learn to lock my doors. I also remember that cars weren’t locked and the keys were even left in the ignition. There was one occasion when Dad tried to lock up the house due a prison break. When we got up the next morning, we found that our grandparents from Winston Salem had stopped by during the night and were in the downstairs guest bedroom. Guess Dad had failed to get ALL the doors locked!

  • Reply
    Ken Ryan
    January 17, 2015 at 9:27 am

    We never locked doors growing up. I don’t recall ever missing anything, but we didn’t have much.

  • Reply
    John Reese
    January 17, 2015 at 9:12 am

    I can’t ever remember our doors being locked when I was growing up. We lived in a small town where everyone knew each other. If you got yelled at by someone for doing something wrong you knew you were in for it when you got home. My how the times have changed. I think the old addage of spare the rod spoil the child never was used in our town, and we all turned out fine. Thoughts for another time. Thanks for the memories.

  • Reply
    January 17, 2015 at 9:11 am

    Our house didn’t have a lock on either door. They did have a latch on the inside that was made of a small piece of wood with a nail in the center. A child could have put enough force on it to pop it out of the frame. After we all went to bed, I could hear Daddy ask Mom if she “locked” the doors.

  • Reply
    January 17, 2015 at 9:01 am

    We lived in a city in NJ growing up. One never left the house with no one home without locking the door. I always admired living in an area where people just left the doors unlocked. If someone went into an unlocked house, as my aunt had, they used what they needed and usually didn’t steal someone else’s things as it was just a matter of trust. Sometimes, food may have been taken. Today, even if you have a locked door, a security system, and you are home, robbers just enter take what they want and you are lucky if you are left unharmed.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 17, 2015 at 8:38 am

    I love Lonnie’s comment about living with a Marine!
    I don’t remember if we locked the doors when I was growing up or not. I imagine my lack of memory one way or the other means it was not a big issue. Consequently it is not a big issue for me now. I lock doors if I think about it but it is not of concern to me if I don’t.

  • Reply
    Roy Pipes
    January 17, 2015 at 8:21 am

    As I was growing up we never locked our doors. Once we moved from Peachtree to Nantahala and left the doors unlocked for several months. No one touched a thing. Sadly, that’s not true today.

  • Reply
    January 17, 2015 at 8:07 am

    My Mother always locked the doors but when we would go visit Granny and Papaw (my Mothers Mom and Dad)they never locked there doors and there door knob was much like the one in the picture.. Drove my Mother crazy, Papaw said he didn’t know where the key was… My Mother finally talk them into letting Daddy install a devise in the floor that was much like a metal dowel so they could drop it in and you would be locked in no one could come in on them, but still when they left they couldn’t lock the door, finally over the years the doors got changed out and locks put on but Papaw still wouldn’t lock the doors..

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    January 17, 2015 at 7:52 am

    We didn’t lock doors in Choestoe, either. We lived in a gentler time when people trusted each other. My Daddy used to say that if a robbers came to the house they would find a way to get in, even if the doors were locked, and he’d rather have a door entered than a window broken out that would have to be replaced. To my knowledge, we never had a break-in at our house. I can vaguely remember things stolen from our patches of corn or beans or maybe a “turn of dried corn” stolen from the corncrib. Ever one to take things like that in stride, my Daddy would say, “They needed it worse than we did. Maybe they had a hungry family.”

  • Reply
    Kate gold
    January 17, 2015 at 7:12 am

    Hmmm… We’ve had break ins in my area before and I can sleep so much better knowing the doors are locked.
    Too many strangers 🙁

  • Reply
    January 17, 2015 at 6:01 am

    You grew up in a house with a Marine! Why would you need to lock the door?

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