Saturday, October 31, 2009

Invisible Age

When growing up, I wasn't aware of age. Perhaps I didn't notice until I had teenaged children. There were no ages on Neff Road. Friends passing through our house at the farm ranged from the elderly to the teenager to the child. The friends from the church, those who came from other parts of the world, those who lived on Neff Road, they visited Mom and Dad and included us in their conversations. Age was invisible.

Then I was an adult. Friends came in all ages. I worked at the school and taught acting. Our home became a kids' hang out. They popped in for visits and when they needed a friend to listen. Our involvement in the church, gave us dear friends who were older as well as those our own age. Many of those friends have continued to be dearer over the years. One of our teenagers, now a grown man, asked me to be god-grammy for his kids. Another meets with me weekly to work on books and projects. This list goes on.

On trips back to Ohio from Oregon, my visits revolve around old friends. They are the parents who watched me grow, the neighbors who nurtured me and the extended family I cherish. No longer just my parent's friends, they became the people who corresponded with me over the years. They were my friends.

Oregon is much different. Neighbors do not neighbor much. Everyone is quite content to go about their own business. Most times kids are not invited to the parties and celebrations. Perhaps this is why I try so hard to include my kids and granddaughters. It matters.

Throughout my lifetime age as been an invisible commodity. I never saw or felt the difference. The people of rural Darke County didn't talk down to the children. They didn't build their lives apart from their children. We were included in all activities.

Neff Road is as ageless as the people who resided there carrying friendships that covered miles and next generations. Perhaps this is why Neff Road is still home.

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