The front door of the house we just bought has a half-circle of windows at about eye level. At about my eye level, that is, so it’s kind of high, but most people could see out of it if they stood on their tiptoes. About six inches below the windows on the door is a peep hole. I’m estimating here, but it’s low enough that I need to full-on bend over in order to look out of the peep hole. It’s lower than my sternum. We’ve been perplexed about why someone would put a peep hole in a door like this one. Why not just look out the windows? Is it because you wouldn’t want someone to see you peeking out at them? That was my best guess.
But last week I was trimming bushes and heard a loud voice out front. Because I want to meet our neighbors, and because (let’s face it) I’m nosy, I walked around to the front to find a large older man pushing a little girl in a stroller. Rather, he had stopped the stroller to talk on his cell phone, but was in the process of ending the conversation. I could tell from said conversation and from the toddler’s few words that this was a grandfather-granddaughter duo. I approached him and asked if he lived around here.
I got the answer to my question (he lives a few blocks away), and I got a life history. He knew the previous owner of my home–of course he did–and he knew that it had been up on the market as two separate parcels of land (“would have been a shame to split those up”). He didn’t know why young people these days didn’t like to buy older homes. He grew up in this town, as did his wife, who passed away recently. As a kid, she used play with the children of the previous owners of our home. Since his wife’s death, this man’s daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter moved in with him, and his granddaughter liked to be outside, so he pushed her around in her stroller and it helped him get exercise.
As we concluded our conversation, he shared one last tidbit of information: Mr. Previous Owner of our home was a big, tall man, like him, but Mrs. Previous Owner was a short, tiny woman (he held out his hand at about waist-level for emphasis).
As I walked back around the house, I was smiling to myself. She was tiny. That’s why there’s a peephole in the door.
Lesson learned: Life in a small town has many benefits, if you’re willing to be nosy.