Why This Door Knocker Is My Blog’s Identity


Those of you who have been reading awhile have surely noticed the photo at the top of the page.  This same photo serves as my WordPress icon which appears in truncated form whenever I leave a comment on some of the blogs that some of you write.  Why on earth would I choose this picture as the face of my online presence?  Well, as my Grandma used to say, it’s just like this . . .


The picture is of the door knocker that adorns front door of my house.  I had sort of forgotten about it until my blogging friend Heidi featured some door knockers which she has so beautifully photographed during her travels in Paris.

I chose this photo as I was in the process of getting this blog started.  I needed a photo of my own, something that would not get me in trouble with the internet copyright police for some kind of unauthorized use.  Nothing would be worse than going to internet jail because of an innocently appropriated photo.  Which presented a problem for me.

Most of the pictures I take involve two subjects: members of my family and random old cars.  Neither of which was really suitable for the front door of this blog.  Not that I am ashamed of my family – we are all reasonably photogenic people and I am quite happy to be associated with them.  But this blog was not going to be about my family life so much as about other things.

The cars would not work either.  I have written fairly extensively about old cars over at CurbsideClassic.com, and if I were going to write that sort of thing here one of my car shots would have been perfect.  But that was not going to be my focus either.

Once I decided on the fabulously original blog title I had to start thinking of an image that would somehow work with it.  My idea was to find and photograph something that belonged to J P Cavanaugh.  But what?   Then it finally hit me – the knocker on my front door.

You can be forgiven for wondering what the knocker on my front door has to do with a blog.  It does to me, and here is why.  First, I see the lead photo on my blog as a virtual front entrance that is meant to invite you in.  I love it when you visit and what better than my own front door to serve as a way to welcome you here.

Even better, it is engraved with my last name.  And by a most peculiar accident, the engraved name works perfectly because of that maddeningly inappropriate apostrophe.  For those a little rusty on their grammar, recall that Cavanaughs would identify more than one of us.  Cavanaughs’ would indicate that something belongs to more than one of us.  But Cavanaugh’s fairly screams that this door knocker and all that is attached to it is MINE, ALL MINE!  There is a story here.


The door knocker was given to my Mrs. and I on the occasion of moving into our present home.  It was a gift from the couple who had introduced us a few years earlier.  It was a beautiful brass door knocker and our generous and thoughtful friends had it engraved with our name.  “Cavanaughs” was the intended engraving, so as to indicate the name of the family who lived beyond the door.  Unfortunately, the engraver had not absorbed enough from his middle school english classes and added an apostrophe so that it read as “Cavanaugh’s”  I am quite sure that the placement of the apostrophe was not the doing of our friends, as both of them were literate.  Highly literate, even.

My Mrs. and I briefly discussed what to do about this unfortunate mistake.  Not a typo, exactly, so perhaps an engrave-o?  We thought about not using the door knocker.  Because errors of this sort bother me. We decided, however, that because our friends had been so thoughtful  with the gift and had gone to the effort to make it personal that we should mount it to the front door and enjoy it nevertheless.  Which we did, and it has been there ever since.

Our knocker has always conveyed to me a sense of dominion, but unfortunately, not a shared dominion.  It has always given me a chuckle, making me ask just which Cavanaugh is in control of the door knocker.  Or of the house.  Although I think all of we married men know the answer to these questions.  Oh well, I usually enter the house through the garage entrance anyway.

But for a blog that would be all mine?  A door knocker which conveyed my singular lordship over this little electronic corner of the blogesphere was absolutely perfect.  No need to specially commission a brass engraving for the occasion, one had been hanging on my front door for years.  A few quick photographs and there we were.

The weathered patina of the brass knocker reflects my life in many ways.  My Mrs. and I are approaching our twenty-eighth year of marriage and we have lived in this house for nearly twenty-five of them.

And as for this blog, a little patina seemed appropriate to give a new venture a sense of establishment, comfort and welcome that was probably more hope than reality at that early stage of things.  We (how much fun it is to use the Royal We) are in our third year of weekly postings (without a single rerun, thank you very much) and so a certain patina now seems appropriate and fairly earned.


The picture I used is also a bit off center.  I will let you draw your own conclusions about the mental state of the author here, although the technical reason for the angle was because the name was not readily visible in a straight-on shot.

So there you are.  There are so many mysterious things to ponder in God’s universe.  And now that you know the story of my door knocker and why it is the face of this blog there is one fewer.  I cannot promise that you will find one of the answers to life’s great questions here every single week.  But for today?  I am happy to do my part to make this complex and inscrutable world just a wee bit more comprehensible.

13 thoughts on “Why This Door Knocker Is My Blog’s Identity

  1. Wondering how you had arrived at using your door knocker has been a periodic curiosity.

    It also brings pangs’ of regret, as a cousin’s wedding present to us was a similar engraved door knocker. Still swathed in its’ original packaging, nearly two decade’s later, it’s in amazing condition. We would’ve mounted it, but it’s all been due to moving too often.

    I’m not sure if it’s got any apostrophe’s or not.


    • Well you can always mount it and buy a less expensive replacement when you go to sell the house. Bet you never knew how the humble apostrophe could be so wrong and so right at the same time.


  2. I’d never wondered about that, since it seems so right for the door knocker to be the lead photo. Never noticed the apostrophe either, it’s the Cavanaugh’s door knocker, so no problem.

    I too have a weirdly misspelled door knocker. When we moved into our house, which is on Leisure Place, a slice of mid 60’s heaven in the Pleasant Valley subdivision my sister gave us a brass door knocker. It was engraved “Leisure Palace” which was supposed to be either a nickname for the house or a joke but it never caught on and just confused people.

    When we got a new front door after 10 years it didn’t get remounted, it’s probably in a box in the basement..


    • I think I would be very much suited to live on a Leisure Place. I have to know – is there an Easy Street in your subdivision?

      If my door knocker said Leisure Palace I think you would be looking at a different blog picture.


      • No, there is a Pleasant Avenue and Sanctuary Drive though. And a Robin Hood themed section nearby. Gotta love 1960’s street names.


      • I always wanted to develop an expensive subdivision with street names like Debt Drive, Angst Avenue, Bankrupt Boulevard and such. I doubt that it would be successful.


  3. The photo fits so nicely that like Doug, it hadn’t occurred to me to wonder.

    I think I could live with a misplaced apostrophe, but a wayward S was once too much.
    In the early ’80s my Dad went to the local hardware store and ordered one of those decorative signs you mount on top of your mailbox. Unfortunately when it arrived the name on it was “The Cluley”. Since there were 5 of us, that didn’t quite work. In sure this was an honest mistake somewhere along the line, but the store owner not wanting to get stuck, decided to write a note on the order form indicating that they had called to confirm the odd phrasing. Fortunately, the date they claimed to have “called” we were on vacation several states away.

    After some “discussion” a correct replacement was ordered.

    The store changed hands 4 or 5 years later, and I don’t think my Dad spent another dime in there until then.


    • I kind of like “The Cluley” – there are some fun possibilities. He could have ordered a second sign to go between the two words on the first one: “The Amazing Cluley”.
      I don’t think I would have patronized that store again either.


  4. If I may make an automotive analogy, what’s the plural of Toyota? My iPad spelling correction encourages “Toyota’s”, as if the apostrophe after a proper name is appropriate to separate the name from the plural suffix, and not only to indicate possession.Cavanaugh does, phonetically, at least. So perhaps the engraver of your doorknocker was just anticipating this unfortunate trend, which used to bother me, but I’ve taken to ignoring.


    • I understand. The auto-corrects seldom get apostrophes right. My thing is the now-common usage that “everyone (singular) is entitled to their (plural) opinion.” This war has been lost too.


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