The Story Door & Fighting For Things That Matter

I made a quick introduction. Two great friends of mine that didn’t know each other previously.

We were at an art auction for a local elementary school last Saturday night. Person one is a longtime friend who teaches Kindergarten at the school. Person two is a couple-year friend who will be a longtime friend.

“Great to meet you, I love what’s going on here,” friend two said.

“Thanks, these kids are special and are worth fighting for,” friend one responded.

The story of this new school in the heart of the city is incredible. Two twenty-something women fueled by a desire to fight for something that matters. Specifically kids that are often defined by their zip code instead of their potential.

A few hundred people walked through those hallways, artwork hanging proudly, begging to be purchased.

As I floated around, I kept thinking about her response.

These kids are special and are worth fighting for.

We’re surrounded by lots of fighting against but not enough fighting for. We have plenty of speaking out against but not enough speaking for. We see dozens of articles against the issue of the day but fewer stating the reasons to stand for something.

In the back room of the school, they cleared away the makeshift board room and filled the space with art.

A potted cactus, decorated with polka dots. A canvas with painted twigs glued to it. A raw, wooden frame bordering tissue paper flowers.

And in the corner, an old door. The doorknob was long gone, the hinges had been ripped off, and the glass window was laying in pieces somewhere else.

Story Door. That was the title of the bid sheet.

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Hung with wire in the place of the glass were a couple drawings from the scholars.

Side note, but they call the students scholars here. Words matter. The subtle distinction is that they expect them to grow into greatness, expectations they’re generally not surrounded with outside of those school walls.

Back to the door.

With my wife’s business, and my love for this school, I knew I had to have it. Maybe it can hang in a home office or replace a closet door. We’ll find a spot for it, I thought.

I kept an eye on the bid sheet, taped on the wall next to the door. My initial bid got trumped quickly.

When people floated away, I increased my bid.

After that second bid was when I made the introduction. Friend one, meet friend two.

These kids are special and are worth fighting for.

After she said that, I had to be sure I was getting that Story Door. Somehow in those 90 seconds, I got outbid again.

My third bid was enough to get it done.

The Story Door was ours.

I emailed the Executive Director of the school today and said, “I have to know the story of the Story Door.”

Here is her response in its entirety:

“That door was found in front of London’s neighbor’s house. On the bus route the kids would keep their eyes out for treasures that we could turn into art. They wanted to paint a mural on it but the top of the door was so warped that it would have been pretty tricky. So we compromised and at recess one day everyone got a chance to take a few hits at the top frame of the door until it was all popped out. They LOVED using the hammer. Some 1st grade girls decided it would look cool if we hung pictures in the new opening and then Enes (a kindergartener) declared that it could be a story door. We found that to be a fitting name…in fact we thought it was pretty Reclaim the Home of them. Who knows the stories that door could tell. From a home built in the early 1930’s, it’s seen white flight and a neighborhood crumble, it’s sat on the street headed for the landfill yet was rescued by some ambitious artists and now it’s found a new home that has no shortage of stories. Mer (friend one) and I thought it was very fitting that your family won that piece.”

The Story Door is in our garage tonight, but it’s begging to hang somewhere in our home, ready to tell a new story.

I think the only one I’ll tell when someone asks about its meaning is about friend one saying, “these kids are special and are worth fighting for.”

She made me want to fight for more things, not against. This old door will help tell that story.

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