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Hidden pocket doors at the Chapman farm Oct 2016  We reoccupied the farmhouse in October of 2016, after sixteen years of renting the house to two other families. We could not continue to rent the house to others when many major repairs and updates were required. We decided to live at the house a good share of the time while we work on it, enjoy the farm environment, and appreciate the memories made in the only house that my parents ever owned.
The first task was to remove the wall-to-wall carpeting from the main and the second floor. The main floor carpet was approaching thirty years of use; the second floor included carpets that were threadbare after fifty years and more. Nothing was salvageable from these carpets or their pads. Underneath were the original Southern yellow pine floors, hard, durable, and needing refinishing, which would wait until other tasks were completed.
The second task was one that had waited through years of my wondering curiosity—discovering what was hidden in the walls between the three living rooms on the main floor. One room serves as a dining room, one as a living room, and the last as a library, with a small half bath carved out of its corner. The walls between these rooms were thicker than normal in their construction. Vinyl folding doors had separated the rooms, and those doors had been added before we first occupied the house in 1963. They were obviously not original to the 1915 design. The last renters had removed those vinyl doors as they began to fall apart.
I verified my first suspicion, that the wall between the living room and library contained two heating channels for the second floor, justifying its larger size. I suspected that the other and thicker wall, between the dining and living rooms, had once contained pocket doors that matched the five-section ladder door design throughout the rest of the house. It was not likely that they were still there. Prying the plywood cover off of the door jam revealed the answer. There had been pocket doors there, and they still were there, pushed back into the pocket and covered. One rolled out easily, just as it had originally. The other rolled out a few inches and stopped, resisting to roll farther. They both were covered with dust, after their exile for sixty years or more., but underneath the dust was a beautiful finish, just waiting to be cleaned.
I surmised that the reason someone had hidden the doors was due to the failure of the one door to roll properly. There was no other evident problem with it. My son-in-law Au arrived soon after I had discovered the doors. He grabbed a flashlight, found an easy-to-reach adjustment mechanism, borrowed a screw driver and did a little adjustment, and that door worked perfectly, like the other. No mechanical problems defies Au for long.
How often do we give up on solving a problem before we’ve made a sufficient effort to find an answer? How often do we substitute something that is of poorer quality for something that just needs a little adjustment? How often do we live with something that is unsatisfying before we return to something that is beautiful and durable? How often do we hide doors instead of opening them? Oh, the lessons! The lessons keep rolling out.