Monday, June 13, 2011

No Locked Doors

Neff Road and crime were about as opposite as possible. Weren't they?

I grew up knowing little of the dark side of our community. Maybe it was because there wasn't much of a dark side. No one locked their homes or their cars when I was growing up. We didn't dream of crime existing in our area. There could be no criminals. We didn't know of crimes that happened behind closed doors. Yet I know it did exist.

My mother's oldest sister dated a gangster. I'm not sure she really knew he was a gangster, but the big black car might have been an indication. Jesse and Frank James passed through Red River meeting up with my grandma and her little boy, my uncle, at the local store.

I've watched enough cowboys and old movies to know that crime did exist out in the boonies in the good 'ol days. Red River was a small booming community until the railroad came to Bradford. Times were crude and rough. It was a day I cannot begin to realize. I wish I had asked more questions. Now I can only dig for answers.

Once more I turn to online sources to check out Red River in the late 1800's to early 1900's. There is nothing. The small budding community evidently didn't deserve notice. So I've decided when I go back to Ohio, I need to find out more about the crossroads where my mother grew up. There is a history in the people who still remember the country store and the old church. The library hopefully will have a history of the area as well. I think perhaps Red River does deserve notice.

The depression. Poverty next door. There was crime that perhaps was handled below the sight of the law. Locals perhaps took care of their own. Still fear did not cause them to lock doors or barns. Neighbors still trusted neighbors.

Crime did come to Darke County. I know because I read the paper. Minor incidents are replaced by violence, drugs and crimes of abuse. I guess we cannot hide from evil forever, but I wish once more for the quiet times in Franklin Township.....even if my aunts had shimmied down the drain pipe to meet up with a young man named Bugsy in a big black car.

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