Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Elizabeth and I walked up from the creek c...

Elizabeth and I walked up from the creek carrying five or six perch we had caught. We wanted to build a fire and cook them right then. I don’t actually recall whether we did or not, but I do recall something that happened as we stood in the back yard laughing and talking about it.

Our mothers teased us about our “big” catch and laughed at the idea of frying them in the middle of that hot August afternoon. Suddenly, Mom said, “Stop! Listen.” We did. “There’s an echo from that hill over there by the barn.” She put her hands up to her mouth and shouted a high pitched “Aha-Ooo-Aaa!”

The reply came back immediately, in perfect timing: “Aaw-Hee-Haw!” That “echo” was the voice of a big old Missouri mule!

Long before I was a granny, I began to write a once-in-a-while diary about farm, church, cows, mud, roads, coyotes and other things, hurriedly typing incidents on coarse yellow paper. In the 1930s while at MU, I beat out short items on an old Underwood typewriter in J.H. Neff Hall. Later, I discovered that my grandboys wanted me to “tell about the olden days” instead of reading a story at bedtime.

For example, I told them about my father’s dairy business and his Model T truck with this sign on its side:

O.D. Meyers Dairy

Clean Milk, Fresh From My Own Cows

That “clean milk” sold for 8 cents a quart and was delivered cold, in a glass bottle, to Columbia’s front porches before breakfast. A gallon cost only a quarter! My brother Jim and I worked in the dairy after school. We were paid 25 cents a week. That taught us two important lessons: that good work is rewarded and that nothing is free.

Allowances were unknown. We picked wild gooseberries and blackberries to sell for spending money. I sold black walnuts and cedar Christmas trees all through high school.

Few grade school kids had enough money for a bank account, but I maintained a balance of about $30. I felt pretty important the day I wrote my first check: $5 for a brand new basketball.

My first beau drove a cute red and yellow Model T Ford roadster, and it had a flat tire about every 20 miles. My second boyfriend drove an old Pontiac truck. He had to replace the drive shaft monthly. He was a student in engineering at MU.

I married the fellow with the Pontiac truck. Walter “Chub” Gerard, and we have had 56 good years together. We live on our 160-acre farm, where our two children, Nancy and Walt, grew to maturity.

These memories bound out of the past like echoes bouncing from a hill.

__________ Sue Gerard is a Columbia artist, writer and grandmother.

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