On Neff Road


It travels from place to place wherever I go. Each time I pack to move, I look at it once more wondering why I keep it. Still, it finds its way to the next destination.

We all have them. I did not really understand that until my mother passed, and we found hers. You have them. I have them. Those little treasures that we never feel quite right getting rid of. I have often tossed something only to find myself retrieving it once more. Not a hoarder. Just a memory keeper.

A small ticket stub fades more and more with each coming year. It once allowed a little girl to ride the ferry across the lake to Sault Saint Marie, Michigan. It allowed me to go fishing with my friend, Brenda, in Centerville. The gold cord and my school pins, useless to anyone else, lie there looking at me, thinking (if they could) that they are ready to part ways. So what happens? I trash them? Hm. Once in a while I pass on a treasure to someone in the family; however, there are many things that mean nothing to anyone else. Just me. Again, another hm.

When we settled the farm, I took an item that neither of my sisters wanted or could even guess why I would want it. I am not so sure either. It is the bust of a native woman. She is carved from dark wood with hand-crafted earrings. She gathers dust as she did when she lived with Mom. But I find it hard to part with her. She meant something to Mom. And, in all fairness, she is lovely in a primitive way. We do not know where she came from so now she lives in Oregon.

Treasures. Pieces of us. Pieces of those now gone. My cousin lived with us when I was a little kid. He made Mom a soap box for her detergent. It sat on the shelf in the basement, fading with time. I took that, too. It still smells like the soap residue that clings to it still. Clutter? No, it has a place of honor atop my kitchen cabinets. A memory of my cousin Dick, my mother and that old wringer washer.

I have often asked myself (which you tend to do when you live alone) why I love antiques and collectibles. Without a doubt it is due to the memories that cling to them the same as the soap in the box. The smells, the textures, the experiences that go along with each of them. Vintage. Yes, I am becoming something vintage. The things of my era have become novelties for my granddaughters. Gabby has taken to wearing long pants that resemble those days of the ’60s. “I’m dressing like you used to, Grammy.”

In my antique sidebar reside dishes that were given to me when I was married back in 1969. Dishes that hold memories of those who gave them. Those that hold memories of my life. I hope that one day my kids and grandkids will ask the history of these things that seem to cling to me. They may not be rich in value, but they are indeed rich pieces of my past.

So what got me started on this today? Perhaps because it is August. Time for the Darke County Fair. Blue ribbons, a band letter, a modeling award, bits and pieces of the girl I was at the Darke County Fair reside in this pile of memories. The thing you don’t see in this trunk are the memories that swirl around me when I open it. I feel like a Disney character twirling around as the memories assail me. Delight, love and pure joy fill my heart.

There will be no tossing for now. Instead I think I will write about a time when I was young on Neff Road, and old things were new.

When old things were new

By Pamela Loxley Drake

Pamela Loxley Drake is a former resident of Darke County and is the author of Neff Road and A Grandparent Voice blog. She can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.Reach

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