Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chariots and Hogs

Again I pick up the Everson Farm Manual learning of a time that was not mine to live but was, in part, my history, that of a family living back a lane on Neff Road.

If you cannot read the journal, please click on the photo and it will enlarge. I don't want you to miss this piece of the past, a way of life, a way of making do, a way of building a future from what was available. I will spend some time in this journal. This is in part, the history of Neff Road.

Last night I watched a program on OPB (Oregon Public Broadcasting) regarding an archaeological dig in England. The history rich site is the location of the rebel tribe encampment lead by the first woman warrior, Boudica, two thousand years ago. I am always fascinated by digs and the history uncovered. One small item that had been found was a golden ring. The ring was used on chariots. Someone created the small ring that was used for the horses reins. When I read the first entry on this page, I equated it in some way to this ring that was found on my TV last night. Someone was creative enough to come up with an idea using the hog ring. I'm sure the hog was glad to give up the nose ring, and, progress was made with what was at hand. A gold ring and a hog ring.

Now don't get me wrong. I don't expect the hog ring to show up in a national museum some day. But we are people who create, who change the way things are done, who use our imaginations, use trial and error to make changes for the better.

The bucksaw under the fence to keep hogs from digging makes me cringe, yet I could easily see Dad not particularly caring about animal rights and glad to have an idea that worked. Ouch.

I want to run out and get a fountain pen so I can try it on cherry pits. Mom always aired out our feather pillow in the summer sun. No wonder the pillows got thinner and thinner. I love the suggestions for screens and old hoes. I smile at some of the entries, cheer others and remember the old fruit cellar, barn and garage with each entry.

We farm kids are truly a part of that history. Rekindled thoughts of tin cans holding bolts and nuts, boxes of bits and pieces of worn out items saved for 'just in case'. The fruit room full of empty jars and plastic tins. We didn't have rubber gloves for hurt fingers, but we had rags for handkerchiefs and bleeding injuries. We didn't run to town to buy a remedy. No, we looked around the house and barn. That's what we farmers did. It was not out of necessity; it was out of our history, a history rich on Neff Road.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Shoe For An Old Plow

The next few days I want to share a farm journal from 1944 that was in my things from the farm. It is fun for a chuckle as well as to garner some good advice. The journal has everything from how to raise livestock to the Constitution. I hope you will enjoy these entries and a step back in time.

I realize that this information will be of no help to you, but stepping back in time is like stepping into my parent's shoes.  My sisters were born when this book was new and current. Families did with what they had. The hoe was used in the garden and the chicken coop. An old shoe became a way to protect the plow points.

My son and his new wife have just purchased a new (old, circa 1939) home on a half acre of land. He needs tools. So my adventure in treasure hunting has begun. I happened onto an estate sale at an old farm house. Much to my delight I found treasures which I can't share right now in case my son reads this blog. My biggest treasure took me back to the old garage and my granddad's old work shop. I would guess it is worth at least 5 times what I paid. Did I get it because he loves old tools....or did I get it because it took me back to Neff Road?

There are lessons in that time of simplicity, that time of 'make do'. Creativity was well and alive on the farm. Here's to the men and women who did with what they had. To those who reused the things at hand to solve problems. To those who took small steps creating the bigger strides that would those who didn't leave the farm.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Illusive Rooster

It started with a small patch, these hens and chicks, growing to larger and larger patches. Mom's hens and chicks.

Mom had hens and chicks along side the garage. They grew in abundance and were part of the landscape we remember. When the farm was divided, I took some of them back here to Oregon with me. Luckily, they shipped well. At the time I was living in an apartment so the little green critters had to live in clay pots until I bought my house. Never much of a gardner, I found that having a little yard to dig in was therapy and good for the weary soul. Mom's hens and chicks found it a place to propagate.

Soon my daughter had Grandma's hens and chicks taking over her flowerbed as well. The hens and chicks seem to love this 'O' state as much as the other one. My son will be moving before long from a condo to a house.  A patch of hens and chicks are waiting until that happens to join his family as well. Who knows? Someday they might even reside in my granddaughter's gardens.

Mom would be tickled to know that the plants she nurtured and grew are tagging along with my family. Of course she would say, "Don't they have them out there? You gonna drag those all the way to Oregon?" Yes, she would laugh, but I know she would be pleased.

I've often wondered how these hens and chicks multiply so quickly. There must surely have been a rooster snuck into the that package traveling from Neff Road to my house.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Knock on the Door

It was summer on Neff Road and the Loxley family was home.....all of them. It was one of the last times we would all be gathered there. Sydney was just a baby then. Now she is 11. Gabby, the youngest grandchild, was not yet a thought. Dad had passed away the previous September.

Not often did the entire family get together since we were all scattered from the east to west coast. The grandchildren seldom got together and the great grandchildren were just getting to know the rest of the family. We knew that having Mom was a treasure we couldn't keep.

Extended family was so common on Neff Road that we didn't think much about it growing up. Not until we had all moved away did we realize how much we missed in not being within driving distance. Babies were born, weddings took place, graduations happened and only the funerals drew us all back together. Cousins kept in touch through a round robin letter. Sisters cherished each moment together on occasional visits, emailing, Facebooking, long weekly calls.

I miss morning coffee with my sisters, someone to just drop by on the spur of the moment. I miss not having my sisters close enough to go together to plays, shopping and just hanging. Distance has given us homes away from commitments and frictions that families share. It has given us our own lives and sometimes better jobs. We have our own identities away from our roots.

I have been away from my family since 1971. Not until I became a senior citizen did I realize how much I had missed. There is no place, there are no friends, there is no life as dear as that which would be with my sisters and my children. My children keep me in one place....a state I love. But my heart is torn in two missing the sisters who know me best and are my best friends. I want back that time away from them. I want that knock at the door and a sister standing on the other side of the door.

Time, slow down. I need more of my family and the traditions of Neff Road.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Other Family

More than a place of worship. More than just a place we visited on Sunday mornings. More than people we greeted once a week. Painter Creek Church was our other home.

We were pacifist. Our church believed in helping, not harming. The heifer project began with the Church of the Brethren. We didn't send missionaries. We sent people who taught farming and survival.

Baptism was done by immersion. After we were baptized, the young women were given prayer coverings to wear over their hair. We were required to wear these when we did the occasional communion that included the last dinner and foot washing. Rituals carried on from the German Baptists roots.

We weren't to wear make up or dance. Yet my parents gave my sister and I ballet lessons. We weren't allowed to tell. In the 60's it was impossible to keep the young girls from wearing make up. There were worse things in the world to worry about. The church was growing in outreach and understanding.

Babies aren't baptized in this church. Parents stand before the congregation dedicating themselves to raising this baby to know God. The child must understand baptism and to ask to join the church when they are older.

When my children were old enough, they asked to be baptized by immersion. It is a rare thing here in Oregon, but the minister agreed. They were baptized in a river. 

Thus baby's were dedicated at Painter Creek, two generations from our family married there, funerals held there. Ice cream socials, revivals, church dinners, Sunday School, Bible School, brought us together as family.

The same people sat in the same pews every Sunday. When someone was missing, others were concerned. The number attending fluctuated from minister to minister. The offering plate fluctuated with crop success or loss, with Depression and post war years. Yet the church family pulled together to help one another.

Mom and Dad had the youth group until they were older then took over the young adults. Our family was always full of church family. I tagged along.

Many good times and good people touched our lives at Painter Creek Church. It was another blessing I received from living on Neff Road. A simpler way of life, a church life filled with tradition, a lesson in learning to think peace and not war.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sepia Moments

The moments we cherish. They pile on after 63 years. In fact, they become more precious as time passes. Of course they do, you say, but do we really realize what we have in those glimpses of that singular moment in time?
I have a trunk of my favorite pictures. They range from my parents’ time to that of my grandchildren. Some have yellowed over time. Others are wrinkled from love and from being removed from my old photo album. No one will appreciate these as much as I do for they are my moments in time.
When my parents passed, we divided the pictures and albums between the three sisters. I came home with an album of my mother’s covering her younger years through the early years of her children. I had never seen this album before. Mom’s pictures were always tossed into an old suitcase or the albums hidden away in drawers and boxes. She isn’t here to tell me who these people in sepia tones and black white are yet I know they are those moments that were precious to her, stories of her past. The storyteller in me recreates the moment reclaimed  from another place and time in which I had no part.
I have several pictures of people I don’t know along an album of pictures she gave me long ago of young people in their late teens and twenties. Beautiful people so fancy free and full of life. People not so different in their beautiful countenances made even more fascinating by their clothing and hair. Precious moments caught on paper. Mom has written the names on this one:
Front row: Roy Honeyman, Josie Marker, Lawrence Rhoades, Charley Stoltz
Second row: Altha Kreider Shuff, Josial Eikenberry, Iva Kendall
Of course, Honeyman Woods was right down the road. Normal Rhoades (Lawrence’s daughter) was my teacher. All are a part of the past I know nothing about and yet they have touched my life. Their children and grandchildren were my neighbors and classmates.
A photograph capturing a memory, a flash in time, captures my imagination. The imagination of girl once living on Neff Road.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

All My Dads

Father’s Day is for me a time of remembering the men who watched over me during my life time. I was Dad’s shadow. He taught me of nature, of animals, of life cycles of both. He taught me to fish and to work on the farm. He had a wonderful smile and a musical laugh. His blue eyes sparkled and he sang like an angel. He was a loving father and grandfather.

On the farm, we are all one family. The mothers mothered all of us as did the dads. When my father died, Brenda’s dad, Hollie, came to me and told me he would be my daddy now. I wondered for a moment if he knew that he had always been a daddy to me. I was honored and knew how deeply he loved me….how deeply we both shared the loss.

On each visit home, I know that Victor, another neighbor, will greet me with the arms of a loving parent. Not all that many years ago, Victor’s heart was once more struggling to keep him alive. I sat on the edge of his bed, both of us in tears, begging him to fight for his life. I had just lost the above two fathers and could not lose one more. When I was home in April, he wrapped me up in loving arms and kissed this daughter of Neff Road.

My brother-in-laws were very good at watching over a younger sis. My sister was divorced from Bob. I had been going through a terrible time in my marriage and was separating from my then husband. No longer part of our family, Bob called me to see if I was okay. We talked of difficult lives and transitions, of old times and of missing. Little did I know that would be the last time we spoke before a heart attack took him.

Paul, my other brother-in-law, has teased me and cared for me since I was around twelve. I always knew that Paul would protect me and be there if any of us ever needed anything. He was the brother I never had. He made my parents his and loves all of the grandchildren with a heart full of love.

Working in the fields with the neighbor men gave me even more dads. My cousin, Gene, was a dear friend. He and I were close when I was a tot and he in the army. I adored him. He taught me to plant tobacco and to drive a tractor. He loved our family dearly and all of us were his sisters. I spent three days with my widowed cousin in his big rambling house. We stayed up late talking of family and old times. We ate at Maid Rite where I had a beer with my two sandwiches. He chuckled at his grown up niece. I sat watching him play poker….turned out not to be his lucky charm. It was a time I treasure.

Bub and Horner worked in the tobacco fields with me when I was a teen. We laughed and teased and became good friends. Many were the men who were part of my growing up, part of my life on Neff Road.

I cannot remember without smiling. I cannot remember without tears. Today is Father’s Day. I cherish and embrace the memory of all of my fathers on Neff Road.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New Baby on Neff Road

June 16, 1947: The day I was born Daddy was setting tobacco. Gene, Aunt Welma, Mom, Pop and George Middlestetter were helping. Mother went to the hospital at about 3pm……entry made by my mother in my baby book.
Later entry: Everyone says I look a lot like my daddy. Grandmother Loxley and quite a few others say the shape of my head is like Uncle Keith’s and my eyes are like Mother. Mother thinks I look like Peggy did.
Dad and Mom wanted boys. All men want boys or at least farmers did. Boys represented an heir to take over the farm, to learn the art of farming, to hunt and fish with their dad’s and to carry on the name. Dad had girls. We worked as hard as boys, but nonetheless we were girls. We farmed, we fished and carried the family name on as our middle names.
I was born in Piqua Hospital which was a bit of a long, slow drive in 1947. Mom got to the hospital 55 minutes before I was born. Doc Van Lue delivered Baby Girl Loxley. I think he died not long after. Hopefully, my breech birth was not his undoing. My father was 34 and my mother was 35. They were married, and I was a 9 month baby. Nice to have that confirmed on a birth certificate.
The stork deposited me in a good nest back that lane on Neff Road. Tomorrow is my birthday. I’m celebrating all week. In fact, I think it’s good to celebrate our lives every day.
Ah, sweet birthday.

BTW, I won’t be writing every day but will do my best to try. Thank you.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Posed and Elegant

No posed picture could be more perfect. The scenery, the lovely women, water lilies floating below a picturesque foot bridge. A photograph capturing a moment in time frozen for all eternity. For me a silent scene; for them a day filled with the sound of birds, fish splashing in the water and the company of family.
I never knew my mother like this, this beautiful woman dressed to the tens. I never knew her as a lady of fashion, poised and stunning. But I do have the photos. We do have the glimpses of moments in which we had no part. Yet we can look at an old sepia photo and know the closeness of these women. They teased and laughed. They enjoyed nature. Another time and place is brought into the present and though I am not there, I appreciate the moment.

My cousin Margaret and I had picked up corresponding with one another a few years ago, not long before she passed. She loved the pictures of my family and sharing old memories with me. She told me of a grandmother I didn’t know as well as a young couple who would be my parents. I wish I could have sat with her looking at Mom’s photo album. So many questions might be answered. Where was the picture taken? Were Mom and Dad married then? Oh, if only I had one more visit.

We don’t think to take that time when we are with the older generation to ask the questions. The album sat on the shelf my entire lifetime. Did our parents taken it down often and reminisce? Did they know that some day we would care about the stories?

I do care. I write. I see stories in most everything. Yet I hunger for the true story, the history behind the photos. Do I hold on to the past? Oh, yes. The present is much richer in doing so. I love my roots and know that they are not only mine. The stories in the photos belong to many. They are history.

I would have liked to be sitting next to these three women on the footbridge dressed in a fashionable frock wearing cute shoes that are still in style today. You know, maybe I did today.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

We Didn't Know It

Neff Road was a place, the people, the time, but also, Neff Road is reflective of this rural community tucked away in western Ohio. We were probably no different than other areas of the country during war years. Soldiers from our area fought in the war. Farmers worked in the fields to raise food for a country caught up in war. Women went to the city to work in factories trying to feed a family. I was a child of the post war years.

Our family wasn’t rich. We always consider ourselves middle class, but in looking back, I’m not so sure. We didn’t know the difference; we all lived under the same circumstances. We grew our own food, got shoes when absolutely necessary, wore handmade dresses and had an outhouse out back. All of the community was pretty much the same. We didn’t have much….we didn’t know it.

Mom stretched the food by emptying the refrigerator until all leftovers were eaten. She could take something simple and turn it into a meal….a memory. Flour and eggs gave us rivoiles and potpie. Eggs were breakfast and sometimes dinner. Gravy made tummies full and meal yummy. Mom’s pies and apple dumplings sometime became a meal in themselves with some milk poured over. I ate coffee soup (butter bread topped with coffee, creamed and sugared), soft boiled eggs with toast mixed in, dried beef gravy over toast, fried chicken fresh from the farm. Veggies fresh from the garden and eggs fresh from the nest were daily fare. We didn’t have much, but we didn’t know it.

Neighborhood kids played baseball in the pasture and did chores. We were in the fields with our parents learning the tasks that were the thing called farming. We fed cattle, sheep and chickens. The smell of a cattle barn, freshly cut hay and a coming rain storm were common. The smell of animals and fields filled the air constantly. It was the farm. 

It was the post war years when we were growing up. Things were changing all over the world. Still in our neck of the woods, time moved more slowly. We didn’t know it….I’m glad we didn’t.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Stretched Roots

My children have grown up their entire lives away from Neff Road. Children growing up in a neighborhood their entire lives surrounded by family have no idea the holes that distance brings.

Over the years we were blessed with family and friends who made the effort to come to Oregon. Each visit was gift to my children. Each introduced real people to them versus pictures, a connection.

Now my grandchildren look at old pictures wondering about their roots, their family. We memorize cousins they have never seen. They learn of aunts and uncles, of childhood friends. A link is carried on for one more generation.
“Can we go to the farm?” they often ask.

“Someday,” I answer and hope it will be true.

Neff Road is residing in a house in Portland, Oregon. It comes in pictures, memories, bits and pieces of the past. Roots that have been stretched since 1978 are nurtured and shared.

Memories cannot be kept in a box to later take out and relive, but they can be taken out and shared. When my family returned to Neff Road to visit, Stacey and James didn’t see strangers, they saw those who stayed close to our hearts and came to our home. For me, the visits were and are blessings beyond words.

Neff Road has come to Oregon often. It stayed and made ties stronger and family closer. It makes children remember and children ask. It erases miles.

“Why do we always go to Ohio on vacation?” my children would often ask. Their friends were off to Disneyland or Hawaii, and we were once more headed to the farm.

Today they know why we returned time after time. Today they journey with the memories and the people.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Oh Deer

The big doe walked over the hill. I was below the crest looking for mushrooms. She stood staring at me. I was breathless. Standing near this beautiful creature was a gift.

We were in Michigan, one place we could still see deer. In Ohio I’d never seen wild deer. The wildest animals we saw on the farm were ground hogs, skunk, possum, snakes and other small creatures that lived as our neighbors. Living in Wisconsin, we saw deer on a regular basis.

Mom and Dad took me to visit Aunt Alma in Sebring, Florida in 1965. We went to the Highlands Hammock State Park. Aunt Alma introduced me to an armadillo, the catwalk into the Cyprus swamp where we listened to the alligators and the small deer so sweet and lovely. For this family of nature lovers, it was a memorable treat.

On an early morning drive to work, a small, mule deer jumped over the hood of my car. It happened so fast that I had no time to think, only to stay on the road. It jumped over the hood like someone shooting a basket ball through a hoop. Shaken, I continued on, but still marvel that the speed of the car, the curve of the road and the timing of the jump all worked to the good. I was very lucky.

My family was camping a few years ago. As we pulled into the campground entrance, a doe was walking the ditch with her two spotted fawns. In all my time of deer watching, I had never seen newborn fawns let alone twins. Evidently my days of deer watching were still open to new experiences and awe.

Many years ago when visiting my once boyfriends parents, I came across a deer next to the road. It was the first deer I’d ever seen in Ohio in all of my years of living there. Later I would sit at Mom and Dad’s big kitchen window and see a deer crossing Hollie’s field. For those who live there, they are often a nuisance. For those of us who didn’t have them in our growing up, they are a thing of beauty, a remembrance of our pioneer history.

Not often will I return to Neff Road, but I delight in knowing on Neff Road the deer have returned.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Down the Hill and Over It

What we didn’t have much on the farm, we made do with what we could find. Jump ropes were measured to fit and handles were woven by Dad. The weight of the rope worked better than any store-bought jump rope. We even had a long one for two to twirl so we could do ‘run through’ or one of our little jump rope jingles.

Dad made birdhouses for birds. A swing seat for the swing in the barn. A few pieces of wood could become many things. I don’t think I ever realized how handy he was until I married a man who wasn’t quite so handy.

We were making sale when the old stilts appeared. It was just too much to pass up. June and I both had visions of the success we would have than the cold reality of age versus memory. The Loxley girls were at it again.

Rides in a wheelbarrow, playhouses in the stables and corncrib, swinging in the barn were part of farm living. We were lucky kids.

I wanted to show my granddaughter what Brenda and I used to do as kids.

“Now lay down on the grass like this,” I said lying at the top of the hill. “Let’s roll to the bottom.”
My grandma body didn’t seem to roll like it did back in my childhood.

“Let’s do it again, Grammy,” Sydney cried.

I stood up and couldn’t see for a few minutes. With battered bones I looked back up to the top of the hill where onlookers were getting a good laugh. Man, when did I get so old?!

The farm offered adventure, room to roam, places to swing and handmade items made just for us. I could not recapture a time, but I would hold on to the place.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Welcoming Flames

Throughout history, the fireplace has been the gathering place. Women cooked over the flames in the large hearth, men warmed their weary feet, children held their books to the light doing their lessons. The hearth warmed men as they talked war, women as they did needlepoint and the old dog. Lovers sat looking into the flames and each other’s eyes. Giggling youth vied for a place to roast hot dogs. Families sat warmed by the flames and the presence of one another. The scene is set for memories, for history, for new beginnings in front of the burning logs.
The basement was our refuge. I’ve written about it before, but it bears repeating. It was our family room. Mother didn’t need the light as the old pioneer women did, but she loved to sew in the basement. I think it was her refuge away from the kitchen and chores. Her children played in this room. In fact, we had our wedding gifts displayed on the ping pong table after we opened them surrounded by friends and family in that basement. The room held memories.
I would imagine that this room reminds many of their youth and the times they partied there roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, playing ping pong then later pool. It was a room that welcomed all ages. In the winter, the Christmas lights strung around the room were lit giving the room a warmer atmosphere, one you just wanted to snuggle into. I often sat before the fire with my boyfriend talking of the future, watching the flames and dreaming.
I miss that room. No matter how hard I try, the room will never be repeated. I have always wanted to have a fireplace in my home. The warm winter fire reminds me of the past but yet it isn’t the same. The old cement floor and field stone walls no longer surround me. The big furnace pumping heat through the baseboard is antique of another time. Mom’s odds and ends that remained where they had always sat reminded us that nothing had changed once we walked into the house once more home for a visit.
But my fireplace does take me back. It is a place where I can share stories with my grandchildren. We sit and look into the flames and make new memories. Memories I cherish because of the fireplace where once I sat. Memories that began in another place and time. A place on Neff Road.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Picture Past

Eh, I’m in the middle. Cute kid. Peg is behind me. June is in the back. I see Gary Fourman. I wonder if that’s Darrell on his lap? The little blond in the front looks like she might be a Spitler. Hm.

I have stacks and stacks of pictures. I could throw them away, but it seems wrong. These are pictures of people who passed through my life, that of my parents and even that of their parents. I have some old tintypes with stern people looking at the camera waiting for the powder to explode. These pictures are history.

A few years ago someone gave two ancient photo albums to me. They are filled with the same type of pictures of people who were never part of my life. These people are from Oregon. My people are from Ohio. Yet I look at these pictures and appreciate the lives these people lead. There is history in their clothing, their faces, their postures. I delight in imagining their stories. I see in their faces the burdens that another time presented them. They are reflections of Oregon’s past, of the past of these United States.

Mom rarely wrote names on pictures, and some she wrote I know are not the people she named. It’s a bit of a challenging, a guessing game naming these faces from long ago. Faces I didn’t know or was too young to remember. Yet, these pictures will remain here for other generations to contemplate in the same way.

These kids sitting in the circle of grass behind our house, the grass that I would someday mow, are not the neighborhood kids. I’m pretty sure they are kids from Painter Creek Church. I love looking at my chubby cheeks and curly hair. I think I would have liked me as a baby. Peggy always so pretty but never believed it. June’s sweet face with her devilish smile. Little girls in dresses and sweet little shoes that now would be jeans and tee-shirts. A time long gone.

Dad’s old trailer stands at the back by the corn crib. I’d forgotten about it. The old garage stands as a reminder of our first outhouse and mice, a dirt floor and the smell of oil. A blinking light on the wall reminded us that the electric fence surrounding the field was on. Reminders of a time, a way of life long ago. A picture of things that are no more.

Yes, I love these old pictures. Someone held the camera that captured these moments, these people who wanted to have a piece of their history preserved, a memory, a family, a place.

We are the keepers. We hold the history.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Changed Scene

Odd as it may seem, after 62+ years, I remember this day. Mom was concerned that I might stand too close to the creek because it was deep and I could slip beneath its muddy water. Mom baited the hook. Of course, Dad was already fishing. I’m not sure who the other people are in the picture. But this is one I love. I’m even wearing a hoodie and little saddle shoes. A sweet moment and memory not necessarily of the day, but of the smells, the crispness of the air and my parents.
Dad often talked of swimming in the creek when he was a boy. He and his brothers would swing out over the water and drop to brown surface.
Mom had good reason to worry that I might plunge into the creek. A girl had drowned in the creek over by my granddad’s bridge. The creek could move quickly given the right circumstances and was full of rocks beneath. This would all change a few years later.
I vaguely remember when the creek was dredged. Big equipment came in and cleared out the creek bed.  The water level dropped and the creek became nothing more than an over-sized stream. Fish no longer had a deep place to hide, though eventually, minnows and tadpoles would come back to the creek. Wading was out of the question because of leeches in the stream.
Not many people now residing on Neff Road will remember the creek as it was back then. They will not see the raging water under the bridge when it rained for days on end. They will not catch fish for dinner. However, they will see large trees that now fill in the areas once sparse along a lovely gentle creek.
Ah, Neff Road, I remember.