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Pamela Loxley Drake found out that the experience of growing up on an Ohio farm is different from growing up in Chicago.

COURTESY PHOTO - Pamela Loxley DrakeLife is a journey. One that is indeed different for each of us.

As a farm kid, I was raised in a very white part of the country. We had migrant workers, but seldom did we meet them. In fact, all too often we didn't pay any attention to them, since we had no workers on our farm.

It wasn't intentional. It was the times we lived in, the part of the country we lived in, the blind eye of the time.

My mother encouraged her girls to expand their worlds. We all left the rural life taking the farm and memories in our hearts. We stepped out into a world we had never known.

I can tell you that it wasn't an easy time for Peggy, June and Pam. Talk about overload!

We no longer were surrounded by what we knew. Each experience was indeed a challenge. Our farm life had been wonderful but certainly had not prepared us for the future. We were "homebodies" knowing only what we knew. I think my entire life has been on overload, taking it all in and finding my place in it.

Being a teen in the '60s, I became aware of the outside world. The injustices were a shock, the violence was raw, the farm girl was angry. Perhaps I still am wondering how narrow-minded the world can be.

This is a piece I wrote a few years ago. Please take it to heart for it comes from my heart.

Many years ago I undertook a trip from Chicago, where I was visiting my son at Northwestern University, to Ohio and the farm. It was a study in humankind. Perhaps the best way to explain this is by looking at the children.

In Chicago, the children have streets and lakeside as their playgrounds. Downtown parents ride on bikes with their children after dark.

For the less fortunate, brown empty lots and cluttered streets, the only place to play with no trees for protection from the sweltering sun.

In Indiana, where my sister June lives, vintage houses sit on quiet streets with children running from yard to yard. At country homes, children play in the barn and run across fields, each day an adventure.

Finally, I arrived back in Darke County and the farm. The farm tools were being auctioned after my father's passing. The lawn that I saw every day in my growing up was filled with people waiting to buy a treasure. Among them, small, cherub-faced children. Girls in long dresses, wearing print bonnets. Boys in long pants with suspenders and brimmed, straw hats. Never have I seen such angelic faces that seldom smile. Their playground? The chores they lived by and the occasional cherished toy.

Children know what they know. Let's hope that someday, they understand that each child has a different playground.

Pamela Loxley Drake is a Beaverton resident and self-described lifelong "farm girl."


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