The Secret Door

January 10, 2011
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Some people might not have opened the door behind the dusty, old oil portrait of great great grandpa Ted, but being a curious 12 year old girl, I couldn't resist.

Living on farm my whole life has shaped me into what some people would call a "tomboy", but I can't help but feel the need for some adventure in my life. I can't possibly live in a farmhouse my whole life without exploring both the inside and outside of it. Every Saturday morning, before everyone else is awake, my Grandma and I put on our "explorer boots" and take long walks around the land. Sometimes we find footprints of the animals that come out in the dead of night when Grandpa is inside silently sleeping. We find the crackled fallen leaves of the maple tree out by the shed, but nothing compares to what I found inside the house.

It all started on a snowy morning in December. I remember waking up and thinking that somehow I had been transported into a souvenir snow globe. The giant snowflakes got caught on my window screen and I could tell that it would be a snow day. While Grandpa was outside attempting to shovel up the heavy blanket of snow, Grandma would be too busy preparing for us to be snowed in; this meant that I'd have to entertain myself all day. As I walked into the study trying to find a suitable book to read, I noticed a huge painting of a middle aged man, I'd heard was my great great grandfather. Sure, it had always been hanging in the study, but I never really paid much attention to it. The detail was amazing considering it was painted before the age of digital photography. I approached it with curiosity; I wanted to get a close up look at how the fabric of his shirt laid on his shoulders or how the scar right below his hairline was a perfect half moon shape. I accidentally moved it ever so slightly from its original position due to my over eagerness to see it. I noticed a string of twine hanging behind the painting. Looking around to make sure no one was around, I took the surprisingly heavy portrait off of the wall. Getting it back to its original position would be a challenge, but I wasn't concerned about that right away. Instead, I pulled the twine gently and heard what sounded like wallpaper tearing apart from drywall. Not so surprisingly, that's exactly what it was. When I looked to where the sound came from, I saw a small, 12" x 12" door right in the center of the dust outline of great great Grandpa Ted's portrait.

This was the most exciting thing that I had ever seen in real life. I'd seen plenty of movies where a character finds a trap door filled with treasures, but of course, I'd never believed it could happen to me. Of course, I excitedly reached for the doorknob, turned it quietly and opened the door. What lay inside was a tattered booklet filled with sketches and journal entries. I was fascinated by the diary, it belonged to my distant relative, Mary, when she was 14. She was only a few years older than me, but I feel like we would have gotten along well had we lived at the same time.

Finding something this interesting in my house made me question how a diary from 1864 could be kept in our house for so long without anyone noticing it? It made me wonder what else I could find hidden in the walls of our old family farmhouse.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

mama said...
Jan. 21, 2011 at 12:57 pm
Amazing!! You have a way with words, I wanted to go on reading!!
ABear said...
Jan. 18, 2011 at 8:48 pm
Beautifully written with great depth and perception!
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