Monday, February 15, 2010

Away from Neff Road

The truck pulled out of the driveway on Teagues South one last time. NCR had transferred my husband to the newly purchased Appleton Papers in Wisconsin. We worked in the carbonless paper division of NCR. This new product would now be part of the paper mill on the Fox River.

Seven years later with two small children added to the mix, we would move to Portland, Oregon, in search of hope for a marriage in crisis. Trying to save a marriage that has been damaged beyond recognition is not easy let alone 2,000 miles from family and friends.

The month I was to move to Oregon an event happened that caused me to call the moving van. I needed to think about my options. I could go to Oregon which was not looking too promising at that moment, return to Ohio or go to my sister who then lived in Pennsylvania. Because divorce was not something my family accepted and because of my children, I came to the west coast.

The distance over the years has been difficult. Living far from Neff Road and the people there has always been heartbreaking. Missing special events in the lives of my nieces and nephews, dropping in to visit old friends, the separation from my sisters became a part of my life. It was not cheap to fly this family of three back for visits. Moving back was not an option. Oregon had become a home we loved.

I could never move away from my children and their families. However, I miss my sisters more and more each year. I sometimes wish that we were like Inez and Ola Viet who lived at the end of our road in a huge old house. The sisters were together their entire lives. Yet I know the Loxley girls could never have stayed on the farm. Mom and Dad had opened the world to us through music and those who visited our home. We watched adventure shows on TV as well as those introducing us to the arts.

Of course, our marriages took us far from Neff Road. After our numerous conversations, we sisters knew that we needed to be explorers of the world and of ourselves. Many of the things that held us to the farm also took us from it. Mom and Dad seemed to understand even though it was hard to see us all scatter.

Often I am asked how I remember so many things of my youth. When you live far away, those are the treasures you cherish and never leave behind. The memories are the basis for who I am. The simple as well as the more complicated, the hurtful as well as the joyful, the visits as well as the phone calls, all are packed away in my memory. Writing my blog gives me a chance to unpack them, to read old journals and scrapbooks, to visit yellowed pictures and diaries, to go home once more.

Maybe it has taken me all of these years to understand that part of my life on Neff Road. If I daily traveled the road and saw the same people, I might not realize what the journey back that lane meant to my life. I definitely would not be the me I am today.

Neff Road… further than my mind.

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