The door in the dump

The door in the dump

I was startled to find, lying atop a pile of construction debris at the dump, a door that looked remarkably like the doors in the Manse. A sad end for a fine old thing.

“These don’t go in the recycling,” the helpful attendant at the dump told me, holding up two wire hangers from the dry cleaners that I had tossed into the blue bin along with the tin cans, aluminum foil and hard plastics.

“You have to take them to the bin for metal back there,” he said (not unkindly), gesturing with his head to the large section at the Municipality of Tweed dumpsite where you take your bagged garbage and also large items such as furniture and construction materials, which go into big dumpsters.

I sighed a little bit, because it was a wet, overcast, muddy day, I was sick with a bad cough, and I really just wanted to get this dump excursion over with. Now I had to make a stop at the metals bin along with my recycling and garbage-bag stops.

But in the end I was kind of glad he’d sent me there. Well, glad – and sad.

Because in the construction-materials dumpster that was close to the metals dumpster, I spotted the nice old wooden door that you can see in my photo. It caught my eye because it is very similar to the old wooden doors still in use here at the Manse, and that I imagine date from the time when the house was built in 1888.

Bathroom door at the Manse

The door of the bathroom at the Manse (formerly the minister’s study, we have it on good authority). As you can see, it’s a lot like the one I spotted in the dump.

I am pretty sure the one at the dump was bigger than our doors, so even if I could have retrieved it – I couldn’t; it was too far down and out of my reach, plus I would have had no way of transporting it in my little Toyota – it probably wouldn’t have been helpful in eventual Manse renovations. And also it had obviously been modified, the way the front door of the Manse had been sometime after the years when I lived here as a child:

Inside front door

The front door of the Manse as it is today – modified and very much in need of repainting and general touchup, but still solid.

Front door back in the day

This c. 1971 photo of me and my family at the Manse (from left, my sister, Melanie, being a cutup as usual; me standing; my Mum with a cat whose name I’ve long forgotten; and my brothers Ken and John with Finnigan the not-very-bright dog) allows you to see (in the background at right) that the front door of the Manse was in its original state then, with no window in it.

As with our front door, the top panels of the one at the dump had been cut out to make a window. And also, it was very battered and worn – just like our doors are.

But it was not so battered and worn that, after some stripping of old paint and touching up, it wouldn’t have looked quite splendid installed in a house of its period. And that’s why it made me sad to see it lying there in the dumpster. A good solid wooden door that had been made – probably locally – well over a century ago, featuring some nice detail, and that had served its intended purpose well for many, many years – now just tossed, to be forgotten and replaced with something that I’d be willing to bet won’t be nearly as nice or as sturdy, and won’t have been made by local craftspeople.

Well – let me just say that if you ever go dumpster diving at the Tweed dump, I don’t think you’ll be finding any of the Manse’s doors.

5 thoughts on “The door in the dump

  1. At least someone had the sense to remove the knobs. They can be re-purposed, not just for the original use but all sorts of other interesting crafty things!

    • Indeed – as you probably noticed from my photos, our vintage doors at the Manse do NOT have the original doorknobs. At least, the ones in my photos don’t. Another project: finding period-appropriate doorknobs.

      • I’m sure you’ll come across something suitable. I found some nice ones at the Montsweag flea market at Woolwich on US 1 a couple of years ago, so if you were in that vicinity this summer you might want to check. It’s a sort “passing by on the way to….” sort of place. IIRC Sundays and Wednesdays are “antique days”, (that could just mean those are the days they let old dears like my sister and me in!)

  2. BTW, I keep meaning to comment on “Finnegan.” He looks to be a member of a ubiquitous breed of dog that my husband refers to as an “Ontario Farm Dog.” In years past, you’d see them in most parts of rural Ontario, often nonchalantly hanging around the ends of farm lanes, waiting to chase unsuspecting cars. They were a mix of many breeds with German Shepherd, Collie/Sheepdog and maybe Hound as the usual suspects. A multipurpose, useful dog – besides chasing cars – working the stock, guarding the property and playing with the children.

    We actually “own” one of these treasures – Kes – short for Kestrel. His coat is longer and thicker than Finnegan’s and he is very bright, which unfortunately has led to a lot of mayhem and mischief over the past 13 years. The closest that he ever got to farm life was when we visited relatives who owned miniature donkeys. Amidst screeches from our children, Kes appeared over the crest of a hill chasing two donkeys. In hot pursuit, were two MORE donkeys, who quickly caught up and trampled him. He was not hurt although a wee bit chastened.

    HIS genetic mix includes a big dose of something demonic.

    • Kes sounds like a very entertaining dog to have, Jane! Finnigan was too, but mostly because he was dopey. He was indeed an “Ontario Farm Dog,” and his favourite thing was chasing cars and trucks and coming perilously close to getting right under their wheels most of the time. But he was our family’s companion for many years – and he was a good and loving dog.

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