Before cable TV, video games and texting,
kids … played outside all summer long.
Running inside to grab a gulp of water
and running back outside happened 10 times a day.
Multiply that by a bunch of kids and,
well, there was a screen door slam echoing through the hills and valleys
… from dawn till dusk, from May to September.
Don’t slam that screen door
was the catch phrase of summer when I was growing up.
~Michael Ivey, filmmaker in Westerville, Ohio, NPR, July 6, 2011

In our “make do” fashion, we obtained two screen doors for the twin doors on the back porch from Handi-man’s brother who had bought out the stock of a storm-damaged hardware.  Handi-man insisted on paying him the ridiculous price of $10 per door.

Screen Door
Amazingly, the doors were just the right width and, with a little trimming off the length, they fit perfectly.  The screen doors, like the old house, are not quite “right”, being a bit skewed here and there, and were a bit “flimsy”.  Handi-man made them more sturdy with “L” brackets in the corners and “T” brackets on the crossbars.

We explored embellishments to add to the doors and happened upon the idea of a “push bar” to keep people from pushing on the screen when exiting.  Back before the days of the electric  door, porcelain advertising door pulls (and pushes) were a good way to get your product noticed by hungry or thirsty consumers. Some of the rarest and most valuable door pushes are from little known or now-defunct brands. But larger brands like Coca-Cola, 7-up, Copenhagen, Sunbeam bread, Canada Dry and Vicks also made push and pull signs, which are today sought by collectors. Here are some examples of vintage push / pull bars:

vintage door push bar - Google Search
Authentic push bars are extremely expensive – far too expensive to hang on a $10 flimsy screen door.  In our craftiness, we decided to make and personalize our own push bar.  After ruling out several items from Handi-man’s Sandford & Son collection, we purchased two reproduction metal wall signs from Hobby Lobby (at half price) and made the “bar” from scrap trim material.

For the personalization, I made stencils on my handy-dandy Cricut machine, which I had heretofore never actually used.  When I could not find stencil material in sheets large enough for my lettering, I simply bought plastic binders from the school / office supplies and cut them into pieces to fit my Cricut machine.  After cutting the stencils, I sprayed the reverse side with spray adhesive, positioned them on the boards, and then waa-la! Our very own, personalized push bars.

Handi-man then installed these stenciled pieces directly to the inside of each door so that the personalization would show through the screen to the outside.

Handi-man then attached the metal wall signs to the not-personalized side (facing inside) of the push bar.  This will take the brunt of the “push”, and hopefully will keep the screen intact.

Page Farms, Est’d. 1944 and, Eddie’s Kitchen.

Doors“Eddie” was my Gramp’s nickname for my Grandmother.
I can hear him say in his quite way, “Now, Eddie.”

My Dad commented, after seeing the finished doors, “If mother were alive and could see the old house, she’d be beside herself.”