Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Screen Door

I grew up mostly in Chicago, where we always lived in big, old apartment buildings. Inevitably, we lived on the top floor, which was usually the third floor. As a kid, this was not a problem. In my childhood opinion, it actually gave a nice overall view of the neighborhood and skyline. This was good for watching out for both friends and storms.

One apartment that we lived in had a fairly decent back yard. In the center of the big, cement yard was one huge tree. The adjoining alley was wide enough to play ball.  The stairs going up to the apartments were solid wood and very safe. Each apartment also had its own individual secure porch, with a screen door and a heavy wooden door.

In the Springtime of my tenth year I noticed a couple of squirrels playing on the porch and stairs outside my old back door. They would come and go, jumping from the porch rail up to the rafters of the building. They seemed to be going into the vents or attic area. This went on for days. I was so taken with them that I gave them names: Peanut was the light one, and Walnut was the dark one.

After a couple of weeks, Peanut seemed to be on the porch all of the time. Walnut seemed to visit only occasionally. It was then that we heard squeaks and squeals coming from the rafters. About this time, I had figured out that Peanut was a female and Walnut was a male. It became obvious that Peanut had babies up under the roof.

As I ate my meals, I watched Peanut through the worn out screen door. Peanut would often watch me back from her place on the porch rail. This really worried me, as we were on the third floor. I was afraid she would fall off, which would be disastrous. And what would happen to her babies? I often checked the back yard to make sure there were no squirrels laying there on the cement. I dreaded having to conduct a squirrel funeral, though it wouldn’t be my first (or last) critter funeral.

Every day, I put out food for Peanut. Sometimes I put out cereal or bread, but sometimes I put out popcorn, nuts, or fruit. Her favoutite was definitely peanuts! She would eat her fill, and then carry food, bit by bit, up to her hole in the rafters. This went on for several weeks.

Early one evening, I headed down the long hallway from the front room to the kitchen. I noticed shadows moving around in the light from the open back door. Sure enough, as I approached the kitchen there was movement, and rustling sounds in the kitchen. I was a little apprehensive, until I saw it was Peanut! She was apparently foraging for food. I realized that she must have gotten in through the hole near the handle in the screen door! I talked softly to her until she got her bearings and exited the same way she came in.

My mother immediately took it up with the landlord that our screen door was still in disrepair from before we moved in, well over a year ago. She never mentioned Peanut, though. 

He did finally repair the screen. Peanut never got in again, either. She did raise her babies on and around the porch, high above the cement yard, though. However, much to my relief, I never had any squirrel funerals there.

Linked to: BYG Adventures
Word Prompt: Screen


  1. That was sure a very sweet story!

  2. so very cute. glad she exited and babies were fine.

  3. What a delightful story, and I'm impressed that you can remember all that. What an event to find the squirrel inside.

  4. I love this post.
    Thanks for pondering with me!

  5. What a delightful story of special childhood memories! I can so picture you as the "squirrel whisperer", and I know this was not the first or anywhere near the last critter you befriended from a young age up to the present! This is a love and a gift you were born with. How precious of you to put out food for Peanut and her babies, and to worry about their wellbeing high above the ground. I am so relieved that your mother did not set out to eradicate the furry family! My beloved Grandmother had a squirrel friend that used to come up on her step in town and take peanuts directly from her hand. It delighted us to watch this as children! Squirrels are not seen to often here, though they do exists, and I love them still! I could so easily envision you in this story, Annie, thank you for sharing such a heart-warming tale! When is that book of critter stories coming out? I'm waiting! <3

  6. What a great childhood memory to share with us. Cute little photo too. I've always had a soft spot for these little ones, although lately, I've been getting a bit worried about something getting into our attic or rather under the roof, and yes our squirrels have been running across our roof. I'm sending Misty out after them more and more! She won't actually catch them, but she loves the chase to scare them. It's all fun for her, not so much for them!

  7. I only worry about squirrels after working for Coldwell Banker years ago, we had an empty house that was torn to bits and pieces once they made it inside! Yikes, it was quite a mess!

  8. What a nice way to be introduced to wildlife in the city!

  9. That's a very sweet story. Apparently you never saw squirrels walking on electrical wires or you would have been really worried, lol. Ours are constantly walking on the power lines and one day one must have touched two wires as she blew the transformer and knocked the power out and electrocuted itself while I was preparing a hot meal on the stove.


  10. What a sweet little tale of Peanut and Walnut. I enjoyed this a lot.

  11. What a great story - and yes!!! - my picture would go perfectly with it!
    We have a chipmunk that has been living in our garage for years. We only see him mostly in the summer - then he disappears somewhere in there over winter, and as soon as I fill the bird feeder in spring -- he reappears!! Often seen sitting in the bird feeder. :)

  12. Peanut and Walnut -- good names for squirrels. I've never seen squirrels where I live, and I enjoyed reading your story of them.

  13. Gweat stowwy. Weally enjoyed it.

    Luv ya'

    Dezi and Lexi

    Purrlease join us tomowwo fur Blest Sunday by posting bout yous blessings.

  14. Loved the story! I live squirrels, too!

  15. What a great and heart-warming story of childhood memories. The meme is so adorable as well. Hugs, Janet

  16. I think squirrels are such cute critters.
    We have an abundance of them here.