Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Secrets

Wow! What a great name for a book! I already see a best seller. Well, maybe not.

When my grandparents were young, the sheriff astride his horse was the law. Yet as with generations before, families handled their own problems. Or didn't. It was the way of it. I'm not here to air the family secrets, although it might make for some very interesting reading. No, this is about a way of life that seems long ago yet maybe not so far away.

I tried to find out something about the law and order in Darke County in the 1880's. As with most newspaper articles and letters from the past, the real stories are not often revealed. I guess it is hard for me to realize that Tecumseh was in the Greenville area in the 1803. Not so many generations from my own. Life has moved quickly since then. Technology has literally catapulted us into the future away from a simple past. But I stray.....

Families did not talk about their problems....not to each other or anyone outside of the family. What happened in the family stayed in the family. Discipline and punishment was meted out behind closed doors. Once in awhile a sheriff was paid to look the other way. Maybe a child was sent to live with a relative. Whipping as punishment was sometimes violent. A fatal accident explained away. It was different time. The law was decided inside the walls of the family home.

Many suffered alone. Men had the upper hand and were the power in the family to do what they wanted in whatever way desired. Women often lead lives of fear and pain. Being taken care of was taught at an early age when you were a female. Finding a husband who could care for you was much more important than the word love. It was another time. Wasn't it?

We've come a long way. Yet still some of the old ideas remain. Women and children are still neglected, abused. Violence remains hidden behind doors and in silence. Now we have sources to help these people....it is now just a matter breaking down those doors and giving those in need a helping hand. It is not as easy to ignore those who suffer.

Neff Road was probably no different than any other road. We didn't see the sheriff. He no longer sat upon a horse anyway. We didn't talk about what happened in our homes. We weren't allowed to. What happened at home stayed at home. I think perhaps I learned to observe and question because of this silence. Those kids of the 60's decided it was time for change and have been talking since.

It was the good 'ol days, yet it was a time of silence.

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