On Neff Road: Roller skates, nylons and giggles


By Pamela Loxley Drake - Contributing columnist



We laughed. No. We giggled. We made prank calls, “Is your refrigerator running?” We ran through the sprinkler and flirted with boys.

Yep, we all have a friend who shares those memories with us. Mine was Vivian. The Force family lived on Pitsburg Gettysburg Road. We passed their house on the way to church and most times we picked up Viv on the way. After church she either came home with me or I went to her house. The Force family was always part of our lives. My sister Peggy was friends and classmate to Sammy Force. Viv and I babysat for Janice’s kids in Greenville. Every Saturday night Raymond would drive back the lane to pick me up. It was rollerskating night! Yes, we had great times together. We played kick the can with her brothers and did our best to pester them.

Music was always a part of our friendship. She was the first person I knew who played the piano by ear. She and I formed a singing group with Donna and Marilyn. We sang at churches and any place else Mom could find that needed a cute little singing group who performed for free. We went on to win the local rural arts show with our childish rendition of “When Molly was a Baby” finishing second in the regionals. I sang harmony, and Vivian sang alto.

Vivian’s parents tolerated our silliness. We jumped on the bed, played games and had a seance. Silliness was the best description of our adventures. No one laughed or giggled more.

Vivian has been tucked in that sweet part of my heart where childhood memories stay as delicious as they were when first experienced. My children often heard stories of Vivian’s sleepwalking. She was a marvel. I truly don’t think there was a night that she didn’t find something to get into. One night I found her going to the attic and maneuvered her back to bed. Another night I awakened to this feeling that someone was watching me. In opening my eyes, I found Viv with chin-resting-on-elbow leaning over me staring at my face. I was determined to follow her one night, planning to gather feedback information as to her nightly walkabout. We tied our ankles together with a nylon and giggled ourselves to sleep. Of course, we awakened the next morning without a bit of nighttime activity. Well, not really. The nylon was off the ankles and tucked behind the bedroom door. Yep, she was a marvel.

Anyone who knows Vivian has been blessed with pure delight. I swear she is a spirit that was given to us, so we would know joy. We have been friends since we were small children. There were years we drifted apart until one day when visiting the farm, I called Viv. She and her daughters came to the old skating rink to meet me and my children. We picked up where we left off. A couple of junior high girls swapping stories of days gone by.

I am writing this today because my friend has been in critical condition fighting for her life. Many of you know her as the child I describe and as an adult who continues to brighten the lives around her. I wanted to share just how remarkable this woman is even in this fight for her life. Please keep her in your thoughts. We are keepers of memories which are meant to be shared.

Friends make you smile – best friends make you giggle “till you pee your pants.” – Terri Guillemets

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By Pamela Loxley Drake

Contributing columnist

Pamela Loxley Drake is a former resident of Darke County, Ohio and is the author of Neff Road and A Grandparent Voice blog. She can be reached at pamldrake@gmail.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.

Pamela Loxley Drake is a former resident of Darke County, Ohio and is the author of Neff Road and A Grandparent Voice blog. She can be reached at pamldrake@gmail.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.