Door knocker leaves memory of Esquimalt home

When Nicole Smith was driving past her grandmother’s old house in Esquimalt, she decided to stop and wander around the house.

By Jesse Laufer

When Nicole Smith was driving past her grandmother’s old house in Esquimalt, she decided that her and her five-year-old daughter should stop to wander around the house her grandparents lived in for 50 years.

Boarded up and ready for demolition, the two looked around the perimeter of the property.  Nicole was wondering if something could be salvaged from the house before it was removed once and for all, leaving only memories.

Then Nicole noticed the old doorknocker.

“I thought awe, I remember that door-knocker,” Nicole said. “It was very emotional, it was just knowing that everyday we would walk in there, Grandpa always had his tea ready for us.”

The doorknocker was a gift Nicole’s mother, Elaine, gave to her parents 25 to 30 years ago. Until last month, it sat in its place on the front door. Elaine grew up in the house with her two siblings, and her raised her first son, Andrew, there. She hoped to buy the house after her mother left, but it wasn’t to be. She hasn’t been by her old home in the five years since her mother moved to Oak Bay.

Nicole asked her if she wanted anything. At first, Elaine declined.

“(Nicole) said ‘Mum, what about the doorknocker?’” Elaine said. “I said ‘that would be perfect.’ We had kind of a little personal tune, that we’d always use when we knocked on that door.”

Nicole tried to remove the doorknocker herself, but failed.

She noticed the real estate sign on the front lawn with Ray Murray’s name and number on it. She phoned the local real estate agent from the front steps and told him her story. Murray was captivated by it, and immediately agreed to make sure they could keep the door knocker. He went to the property himself and got it, giving it to Elaine, Nicole, and Nicole’s children.

Since neither Elaine nor Nicole currently own homes, the doorknocker will be given to Elaine’s son Andrew, who lives in Barrie, Ontario. “Knowing my brother I’m pretty sure he’ll have something engraved in it that’ll be in memory of them (their grandparents),” Nicole said.

“Every time we left we always went out that same front door. They were always standing there together, waving us off. Grandpa would always have chocolate bars in his pockets, and he’d say to my brother and I, ‘pick a pocket,’ and we’d get a chocolate bar.”

Now that it’s been recovered, the doorknocker will move amongst the family’s homes. The knocker might stay the same from generation to generation, but each knock will have its own personal tune.