Frank A. Mills


Austin, Texas

Not Just Any Door & Window
Their story in the First Person

Posted: May 12, 2020

A door is just a door, just as a window is just a window. But is a door just a door, or a window just a window? Sure doors and windows have their own beauty. But it is still just a door, still just a window. However, have you considered rather than a door being a mere door or window being mere window, that they have a story to tell? Not the story of how they came to be, but rather the story of who they are. An actual story told by her or him.

Yes, her, or him. To my mind's eye doors and windows are either feminine or masculine. So the story they tell to me is a story told in a masculine or feminine voice.

If they have no story to tell, well then, the door is just a door, and window is just a window.

What follows are the stories they tell me, told in their voice:

Let's start with the door above, located in an Austin alley.

"I came from a mansion. Now I am old and weathered, a bit beaten down. Still, I do my job and guard my family's lovely garden. But once I was young and bright. Like an overbearing butler, I barred and granted entry into a grand room. I don't mind my current role, although I do miss the grandeur of my youngers days, of children stifling giggles and the silly pomposity of adults. In those days I imagined myself a man of importance."

Or ... "I was once a tough hombre guarding a Texas frontier general store from marauders and thieves. Now all I do is keep the dogs out of the garden. How low can a man become?"

Haunted Window (Galveston)

"Look at me. Look at what I've become! A broken down haunted old thing. Once I put up quite a face, a strong masculine one. (sigh) No longer. It's not my fault that the elements became to much for me. Now I harbor ghosts. Do you see that lady-like apparition through my broken window? That, whatever it is, on the next pane over gives me chills. I'm huanted!"

Later I learned that this foreboding looking building in 1906 rose out of the ruble of the Former Lucas Terrace (Apartments) that was devastated by the Hurricane of 1900. When the building collapse it took several lives with it, story has it that they're buried in the rubble the new foundation is built upon. It is said that the spirits of these folk roam this building and that the building is cursed and doomed to fail. When I took the photo, the building was abandoned and ravaged by Hurricane Ike. Today it has been restored as a hotel, the Casa Familia. The question is, is the curse still active?

Hluchanek House (La Grange)

"Look at me, wearing blue-check. My partner over there, she's all dolled up with some sort of Czech looking motif. That's here for sure. Like my duds, I am juat a straight-forward plain sort of guy going about my business."

"Nevěnujte mu to –l Pay him no mind – [well, they are speaking Czech] he's just jealous starý muž. I on the other hand, am full of life. I love to entertain. Je to zvláštní tanec, který děláme (it's an odd dance we do), swinging back and forth."

These doors ... I love these doors. For me, from a distance they both felt feminine, but the blue-check curtain of the left door was I felt decidedly masculine. This house, built in 1890 in the Holman area of Fayette County is part of the "Texas Czech Village," Texas Czech Heritage and Culture Center in La Grange.

Schoolhouse (Ridge)

"We've got a split personality (laughs). No, I don't mean that we're split into two. No, althuogh we're separate we are the same. It's just that on weekdays we are school marms and on Wednesday night and Sundays, the parson.

'Good morning, Susan.' 'Harry! Stop pulling Susan's pigtails.' Here comes Little Mikey. 'Michael, why are you frowning?' 'Good morning, Christina. How is your dad this morning?' Laughter, giggling, fun, and serious learning. That's us, each child passing through our open, greeting arms. We send each child off in the evening with our blessing.

On Wednesday evenings we greet the pious arriving for Prayer Meeting. Such dour faces. We are just as dour. No joy. Sunday, that old time religion can get pretty harsh and beat us down. Look at us now. Our school marm side left, and for a long while we were the parson always challenging the pious to find God – for some reason once was not enough – and to put aside demon drink, chew, and gossip. Not even that now. We don't miss the old time religion. We do miss, Susan, Little Mikey, Christina with her chronically ill father, even pig-tail pulling Harry, along with all the others."

General Store Window (Lockhart)

"Look at me. I am bright. I am alive. These dang vines are going to get me sooner or later."

Back Door (Llano)

"Oh, poor you! They've just about killed me. I am doomed."

Barbershop (Aransas Pass))

"Look at me! I feel like some sort of weird candy cane. Like I need to jump out of my hinges and go lead a parade somewhere. My similarly dressed buddy over hears wants to be my baton. Hey, not to change the subject or anything, but I did mention that I had to stand water up to my doorknob. Such indignity."

Abandoned (Austin)

"Will someone please tell me why I am way up here by myself? I feel so abandoned ... and I'm lonely."

Straight Through (Round Rock)

"I hate that people can see through me so easily. I really am a nice guy, or I was."

A View (Round Rock)

"Well at least I have my own personal view. So many people don't these days."

Ranch Hotel Door (Morris Ranch)

"How I long for those days when I greeted cowboys and cowgirls, finely dressed ladies (Oh, how I tingled when those ladies grasped my pull), horse buyers, and race goers. Those were the days. They came from all over. I stood at attention, greeting each, opening with a friendly gesture. My partner behind me embracing each as they entered our hotel. What a team we made."

Click on the image for full screen. The originals of each image are high resolution for printing. If you are interested in purchasing a photo please contact me.

© Text and images, Frank A. Mills, 2020

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