Monday, April 15, 2013

Makes me Smile

Some things are just not forgotten. Go to a vintage store and find all sorts of memorabilia. When I visit an antique store, I walk around with a silly smile on my face, looking at all of those collectibles. Collectibles, bah! Those are things from my past. A past not so long ago in my mind.

I decided to have a walk down memory lane. This thought started when I had a 'flashback' memory of my dad's coin purse. It was a little rubbery oval that when the ends were pushed, the coin purse opened, so he could extract change. I think he carried it more for me than for himself. I loved squeezing the little coin purse. Anyway, this got me thinking about those things from the past. I decided to go on Ebay and check out some of the items that had accompanied me throughout the fifties.

Cat-eye glasses. My friend Vivian wore a pair of white, cat-eye glasses. The current rage was the 50 yard crinoline. Dresses ran the gambit with the sack dress, the chemise dress, drop waist dress. Pedal pushers were in style. Circle skirts, flared skirts, poodle skirts, pencil skirts and pleated skirts appeared at one time or another. Saddle shoes and skinny heeled shoes were popular as well as white bucks.  And, the fairer sex had to suffer with girdles and garter belts. Nylons came in a pair always requiring a bottle of clear nail polish in case of a run.

We played with paper doll sets. I still have ragged, well-loved sets of the musical Oklahoma, Janet Lennon and Debbie Reynolds. I had a Terri Lee Doll, a Toni Doll, a walking doll and a Tiny Tears doll. We sang along with the Mouseketeers, "M i c (c you real soon) k e y (y? because we like you) M o u s e." All of the girls loved Spin and Marty.

Many of us had our first television. We were entertained by Red Skelton, Arthur Godfrey, Ed Sullivan, Show of Shows, Alfred Hitchcock and Playhouse 90. Cowboys were at their best: Rifleman, Rin Tin Tin, Bronco, Yancy Derringer, Cheyenne, Maverick, Sugarfoot, Wyatt Earp. "Kookie, Kookie, lend me your comb," came along with 77 Sunset Strip. Hawaiian Eye took us to an exotic island. Peter Gunn, Dragnet, The Untouchables and Bourbon Street Beat gave us adventure. I had crush on Zorro, Tim Considine and Tommy Rettig. Lassie had won all of our hearts. We hugged our dogs a little closer and stood a little prouder for we were country kids, too.

Most everyone had a Plaid cooler to take on picnics.  We took it to Stillwater Beach where we picnicked then went for a swim. Conversation was popular back then. The computer/digital age had not yet imposed on what we called visiting. We shared a party line and just dropped by. I was a kid for most of the 50's, which took me from age three to thirteen. From a simple life to one of unsettled times. The 50's. The 50's make me smile.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

That Favorite Place

A favorite place. The place that as a child, you went to cry or just to think. A place that gave you peace of mind and security. A place that drew you to it without thought or purpose. We all have those places. Places I went depending on my crisis or my mood at the time. As a child, I stayed in the upstairs playroom. It was there that I missed my sisters. It was there I missed my guy who was in the service. The room held all of my secrets and dreams. A place that held all of my memories in the house back the lane on Neff Road.

For most of us who grew up country, the barn was another place where we went to find distance from whatever else was happening on the farm. I sat on the old swing that hung from the pulley track overhead. Even as a mom, I found solace when I visited surrounded by bales of straw and hay and the familiar smells I'd known all my life.

When we sold the farm, I went to the one place that was ever in the thoughts of the girl from Neff Road. It was early morning and the world around me asleep. Mom and Dad were gone. And, now the last of our parents was leaving the family. I sat crying, sitting there on the cement abutment. I listened to the birds and trickling of the creek. All of the places that were part of my life nest would be gone.  Whenever the Loxley girls came home to the farm with their children, they walked daily to the bridge. I'm not sure why. I think perhaps it was a place where we could look at the farm we all loved. The creek was a companion of our growing up years.

As an adult, the farm became my place of peace. When life seemed to crumble around me, I went to the farm. It was indeed my mother as we had lived in the womb until the womb was no more. When my sisters and I returned to settle the farm for sale, we had a system. No outside family members were allowed to be with us for the week we were there. We drew numbers the first day. I was #1, etc. We went from room to room. In the first room, I had first choice of what was in the room, then #2, then #3. In the next room #2 started. We went through the room in the same rotation until we had split all that we cared to keep. The process eliminated struggling over items. The process brought us closer as we laughed, cried and made memories with each drawer, each box we opened. We found treasures we shared together. We found a way to take the farm with us in memory, memory of sharing those last days in the house of our roots.

More and more as I age, I realize the beauty of my childhood. A child of the land. A farm child. Sometimes this column touches me deeply as I write. Today is one such day. Yes, we all have that favorite place. Mine is still on Neff Road.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Cobbled Streets

The small town has a one-of-a-kind name. I decided to look up the name to see what was said about this little town I love. Wow! It is the name of a novel, an album by Acoustic Alchemy, an album by an artist I don't know, a role-playing game, a comic book series, a computer game, the secret of the philosopher's stone in alchemy, a piece of music, a Catholic encyclical letter written by Pope Leo XIII in 1880 on the topic of Christian marriage, a black metal band (spelled with a ck), and seventh on the list....Arcanum, Ohio. The Free Dictionary and Merrium-Webster Dictionary define arcanum as a deep secret or mystery.

I went to the Arcanum site online. The first words to greet me were: Ohio's best kept secret. Obviously, the dictionaries have it right. For those of us who know the best kept secret, we know what a jewel this little town is to those who live around it. I was disappointed that the list of businesses was not up. I have been an Arcanum shopper since I was a child tagging along with Mom who shopped at Smith's Mercantile. When we came home to visit, the Loxley family always voted to eat at Huston's. We bought groceries at Sutton's and occasionally picked up a pizza while we were in town.

It was a little over 20 years ago when a November tornado hit Arcanum wreaking havoc and destruction. Many of the original homes were lost. Our friend Junior Shuff was eating at Huston's when the storm hit. He told us of the terror experienced as he hid beneath a table. The small town had been knocked to its knees. But true to the roots that tie us all together, everyone pitched in and put the town back together again. I still miss the old houses when I drive through town.

I will return to Darke County this summer. I will go Arcanum so I can have coffee at Smith's, visit the hardware store and stop at the Ben Franklin 5 and 10. I will look for familiar faces and bask in memories of days long ago. Arcanum is a mystery. It is a step back in time with the cobbled streets and old store fronts. You can almost hear the horses trotting down the street. In fact, you might actually see horses trotting down the street. Arcanum, you are home. Thank you for welcoming me again and again.