I love old keys. They hold such mysteries. What did they open? Did they hide a precious secret behind a tiny door in a cabinet or open the door to an old mysterious house?
My mother loves old keys also and she gave me her collection. I've added a few. They are fascinating and I find something new every time I look through them.
I don't remember that we ever locked our house when I was a kid. Nobody locked their house in the 50's in Rockford, Iowa. If there did happen to be a key to the door, it would have been just a skeleton key. Everybody probably had the same type and you could have picked one up at the local hardware store and opened every house in town.
We would leave the house with all the windows open to allow the breeze to blow through the house. Not a thing to keep anybody out except a piece of screen. Now we shut everything up and pull the shades.
The most important key in my life during my childhood was the roller skate key that hung around my neck on a dirty white shoelace throughout the summer.
It used to hang on a nail by the back door so I could grab it and go ... on the run. My friends were waiting and there was no time to waste.
I don't even remember there being a key for the old Chevy. You needed a key to lock it, but if you were just turning it on and off, there was no need for a key. If you did drive a car that needed a key, you never took it out of the ignition. Everybody left their keys in the car. That way you always knew where they were! You could walk down main street and almost every parked car had their keys hanging in the ignition.
Now we are a country of keys. We need them for everything. We lock up our house, our garage, the cars and boats. You even need a key to get your mail out of the mailbox. We carry around an assortment of keys that would make a school janitor proud. Times were much simpler in the 50's when a key was just an added bit of fluff .... not really necessary, but it looked efficient.
Our world will never return to those simpler times when a small, freckled Iowa girl could grab her skate key on the way out the door, letting it bang behind her, with never a care in the world. I'm so grateful to have lived in those times. Keys?? Who needed keys? Our door was always open ....
The doors were open all over town and people were sitting on their porch and grabbing a cool breeze. Now we are locked behind doors with the a/c blasting and the shades drawn. Maybe it would be nice to return to those times, but would I want to give up the comforts of modern times? Maybe if I once again had a skate key around my neck and scabs on my knees. At this stage in my life, my memories will serve me well as I sit in the comfort of air conditioning on a hot, muggy evening.