Tuesday, August 17, 2010

No Little House, No Prairie

Laura Ingalls ran down the hill to the meadow meeting up with her two sisters. Pa watched over his little girls and Ma feed the chickens. I did not live in Little House On The Prairie.

No, it was much more like Old House On Neff Road. My Pa was an invisible pa. Dad drove a truck or worked on the farm from dawn to dark. We didn't have the family giggling around the dinner table. Dad listened to the radio. We didn't have guidance through our questions and rough times. We found our own way.

Mom and Dad did the best they could with what they knew. They both came from male dominated homes. Girls were raised to be silent and do their work. Boys worked with their dad's often absent from school because field work demanded them at home. There was no television to show them a different world. They didn't travel far from home and lived in the same neighborhood their entire lives. They parented from what they knew.

I hungered for more one on one with Mom and Dad. As I grew older, I wanted them to recognize the person I had become. Without that recognition, I became a rebel. The Rebel on Neff Road.

When I look at my life and my rearing, I realize that I had a rich growing up on the farm. However, three sisters left searching for something more than we had in that big white house back the lane. For all the pull the farm had for me, I knew that I could not go back to the loneliness I felt there. When we left one last time, we sold my parent, the farm. I was born of the rich black soil, the smell of the barn and an old house that hugged me.

No, Laura Ingalls would not have found the same family structure in our home. There was no prancing across a meadow or communication around the family table. But there was a similarity. A similarity of two sisters giggling in bed. Two sisters teasing one another. A story of three sisters cherishing what they now have in one another, three girls who lived on Neff Road.

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