This week a picture of my old home on Neff Road was sent to me by Dean Lavy. The picture warmed me with memories….not just of the farm, but of the people in Darke County. I am blessed to be able to share the memories of that place I love. I am blessed to have conversations with all of you once a week. Do you know why? Because it feels like home.
Often I have talked of how our house was a gathering place. The door was never locked, and anyone could just walk in and feel at home. But this was true for most homes I entered back then. Yes, maybe some were a little more conservative, but this family of ours was not. We loved the people of Neff Road and embraced our times with them.
Friendliness was a big part of those days on the farm. Farmers relied on one another as do their farming. Kids played together while mothers worked together preparing food, sewing quilts, caring for gaggle of children. Friendship was a way of life. We celebrated the births as a community and came together when there was a death. We cheered successes and pulled together when there was need.
So, what brings this on, Pam? A sweet letter from Miriam Knick. A letter that means the world to me. I sometimes forget that I am writing not only my life, but I am writing yours as well. We lived in a time of hope after so many years of war and sadness. We lived in a time of change. Our parents did the Charleston, and we did the twist. You were and are part of my life. You know the best part? I know for a fact that I could knock on the door of your house and be welcomed with warmth and laughter. I know that we could sit around the table with a cup of coffee and chat for hours. You are my old friends and my new ‘old’ friends. We have come from our youths in that other century and are still changing and growing in this new century. We are the keepers of family history. We pass on not only the stories and memories, but we pass on the warmth of that generation. We know what it is to work hard in a field yet laugh and bond as we worked. We know what it is like to face years of poor crops but hold together in the warmth of neighbors and friends.
Miriam’s letter came at a perfect time. I am getting ready to move across town. Some things that have traveled with me for 68 years are going to be left behind. Already I have tossed pictures that will mean nothing to my children. I weigh what is important and what is not. Not an easy task for this woman who embraces her roots. In clearing out my ‘stuff’, I came across a video my son made for each in the family when my parents passed. It is a journey from our childhood days to the final days on the farm. Many faces pass through the video. Faces of friends now gone. I watch in joy and not loss at what I have had in my life. All we have in the end is love and our memories. Both are easily passed on. For my part, both are shared weekly with you.
I realize that this column is a little different today. Perhaps it is because of you, this feels like home.
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@example.com. 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.