I loved the skeleton keys and peek-through keyholes of my childhood. At my grandmother's house there were rings full of hundreds of iron, brass, and tarnished silver keys dangling in the office. Antique desks and bureau drawers all had keyholes--many of the keys had long ago been lost or discarded. Or perhaps they still hung in Grandmother's office.
My bedroom door had a keyhole, as did all of the bedrooms in our house. But my parents collected all of those keys so that no one could be trapped inside. I've long wondered whatever happened to all of those skeleton keys.
The first key I remember using to open a door looked a lot like this drawer's key. When we were very young, my brother and I used this "hidden key" when we wanted to unlock the back door of our house. Our friends searched, but they never found the nail from which this key dangled, hidden by my dad on the back of the board that held up a shelf.
When I saw these silver key earrings at a craft fair, I coveted them, just as I did my grandmother's rings of antique keys. I wore this pair today for our first day back at school after our class trip to Williamsburg, during discussions of how our trip helped us to unlock the lives of people in the past.