European portico or Somerville stoop? Sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish between the two.
A lifelong pedestrian, I am forced to roam the streets by foot or bus to get to many a destination. Walking allows me to appreciate the hidden treasures of Somerville streets and homes that I might otherwise miss. An elaborate bird house, a hidden terrace, a dancing neighbor in the nude—all wonderful details worthy of prolonged gaze.
This of course includes architectural details such as ornate doors, stained glass windows, balusters, stone facades, swags, and other external decorative features that welcome visitors entering Somerville homes and gardens.
So, in the spirit of springtime walks and house-gazing, I’ve chosen the broader theme of doors and windows for this post. I’m also looking forward to having an excuse to check out people’s front yards during PorchFest 2013 this coming weekend!
One other, somewhat random, reason for this theme is an old saying of my grandfather’s that has been stuck in my head all week. “Shut the door, they’re coming through the window. Shut the window, they’re coming through the door,” he would say rather ominously before breaking into a chuckle. I always thought it was a bit strange, though not enough to actually ask him about it. I figured it was some wartime saying or anti-commie reference.
After much Googling, I discovered that the old saying was, in fact, a song by the name “Shut the Door.” The version he most likely listened to was recorded by Vaudeville alums, Billy Murray and Walter Scanlan, in 1929. Though I’m still unsure of its exact contextual meaning, it seems to be a humorous radio tune on either surveillance, immigration, or just plain silly nonsense. My grandfather would have first heard it as a teenager and it’s funny to think he was still repeating it some eighty years later.
So enjoy these windows and doors! I’ve left the locations off the captions in case you’re in the mood for a mystery.