Monday, January 30, 2017

Revolving door

Ready! On your mark! Whish....whish....whish. I dashed like crazy to get into the space in Rike's revolving door. The big, gold, heavy doors rotated around and around. For a half pint, it was a challenge to get my little legs in gear to hit the mark. Round and round then dash and hope beyond hope that there wasn't a splat. The revolving door.

The Loxley door only had one position. Open. However, anyone who knew my parents was well aware that we had a revolving door. Many times one group of people would be leaving as someone else pulled into the driveway. It was not something that the Loxley girls appreciated since we rarely had Mom and Dad to ourselves, yet we learned a lesson that to this day is probably the greatest lesson we ever learned. My parents did not have much, but what they had they shared. What they had was love.

No one was left out. Friends brought their friends. Relatives brought their friends. Neighbors came and stayed. I think they stayed because our house was a place of entertainment. Always something new and exciting happening in the house back the lane. Laughter and deep conversations. Compassion and peace.

We girls were allowed to have a glimpse of the world beyond the farm. Our world expanded and became richer.  It did not matter the religious belief, country of origin, the way they dressed or even smelled. Mom and Dad invited them all to their kitchen table for wonderful conversation and a piece of pie. They would have shared their last piece of bread with anyone who needed it, shared without complaint or worry. Shared without judgment.

I have said before and will continue to say that my mom, Ruth Johnson Loxley, fought for children's rights before anyone ever acknowledged that they had them. She loved meeting people from other cultures and included her children in every conversation. She read books that broadened her view of the world and always hated that her father had not allow her to go to college. She was an ambassador for all people and would stand with them and for them against anyone.

Yes, we lived with a revolving door. A door that brought truth and wisdom to our house. A door that fed that family back the lane with knowledge and friendship. I am all grown up now. I hope that I am a good example of my parents' love for others. Ready.....on your mark......whish. I make it every time.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Singing owl praises

The small owl sat at the edge of the road. My friend stopped the car. I jumped out and picked up the sweet thing. We took the tiny creature back to the nature center where they informed us that an owl had been hit, and they had not sent anyone out to check on it. They would not accept responsibility. It was up to us. My tiny friend who huddled beneath my jacket was taken to the avian hospital where they said they would look after it. The owl did not make it, but I had to try.

There is no darkness darker than the dark I knew at night on the farm. A darkness that made everything invisible. All except for the sounds. The barn owl that Dad captured time and time again, and that was taken away to another woods would manage to come back to the barn loft and lament the night. Hoo hoo. Hoo hoo. This little girl was always afraid of the dark and that darn hootin' bird just made the night eerier. A lovely white-faced bird that ate rodents and made a mess in the corner of the barn. An owl that Dad despised and I knew only by the nightly sound. For a child terrified of mice, I should have been singing owl praises.

The children and I walked the path of the nature center coming upon some people looking off into the woods. Not far away was a big owl sitting on a branch. The sweet creature looked a little ragged. Knowing that they were night creatures, I wondered if it was well. We looked at it. It looked at us. Hm. Was it thinking what we were thinking? Who were these people looking at it? Didn't they have some place to go during the daylight hours?

Many things went bump in the night in that house back the lane. Mice skittered in the walls. Dogs barked at something unseen in the dark. A chicken would complain or a lamb would protest. Yet nothing was so haunting as the hoot of the owl.

Sometimes I go to sleep remembering those nights long ago. I miss the night sounds that disappeared with the rising sun. Perhaps the lonely tones of that beautiful owl reminded me of the loneliness I sometimes felt or maybe the missing of a lost pet. I cherish the day time song birds that bring each day to life. And miss the wooting that comes in the night. Hoo hoo. Hoo hoo. Yes, I remember.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Ask a man who owns one

Time seems to pass slowly on the farm, especially when you are waiting for something or someone to arrive. We girls waited for the mailman hoping that the toy ordered from the cereal box would arrive. For Willard and Ruth, they waited for one of the biggest purchases they would make, and it did not come in the mailbox. It was the end of WWII and factories were gearing up again for better years to come so sometimes you had to wait.
I do not know how Mom and Dad did it. Back then starting cost was $2274. A fortune to these farmers. The price of a new Packard 8 four-door sedan. Their family was growing with the addition of baby girl Loxley. I am not sure how big they thought I would grow to, but this car had enough room for several species of animals that took a ride on an ark.  Plus without seat belts, we could comfortably seat 6-7 people.

Packard brothers, James Ward and William Doud, ran Packard Electric Company in Warren, Ohio, where they manufactured wire and electrical equipment. Evidently, James owned a Winton and was extremely dissatisfied with it. So in 1899 the brothers began manufacturing the Packard. In the beginning, it was a car only the wealthy could own. A car that represented prestige and status. After WWII, the need arose for mid-priced cars. So owning a Packard was indeed a big deal.

Sometimes the media called the Packard "bathtub" or "pregnant elephant". Indeed it was a beast of a car. I remember sitting in the backseat in all my shortness unable to see out the windows. Since Mom and Dad loved to go visiting on Sundays, their youngest was often found sleeping in the back window. It was a lovely car. The girls wrestled in the backseat, played on the floor and sang at the top of their lungs. We had that old car for about twelve years.

June and I often talk about that old Packard. It was a mammoth. In retrospect I believe that Dad loved it for the sheer mass of it. He loved to drive trucks and this car could easily have been in competition with one. Also the graceful swan hood ornament might have reminded Dad of the Hollinger family crest bearing a couple of the long-necked beauties.

Confession: That old Packard was one of my favorite cars. Two of the Loxley girls could recline in the backseat after packing their little sis in the back window well. I can still feel the softness of the seats and the heat of a summer day. The car came to us after the farmer had lost his cattle herd. A time when a little girl was no longer bedridden. The one time when my parents decided to splurge on themselves. A rare event indeed.

Packard was the best-selling car during those years of 1948-49. The automobile catch phrase was repeated by kids and adults alike. "Ask the man who owns one." Ah, just as a kid who rode in one.