Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Letters to the editor let readers, staff interact

Wayne Russell who lives near Harrisburg recently sent me the July, 1956, issue of "Farm Journal and Country Gentleman" because he found my letter to the editor there. The drought was severe 42 years ago, and farm wives were sing-ing the blues. My letter was sort of a rebuttal:


"We are farmers who aren’t singing the blues. Come what may with prices, allotments, soil banks, parities and subsidies, my husband and I still feel we’re in for our best 10 years.

"In spite of the price tragedy and three drouth years, we’ve gone into debt to add five rooms to our house; we’ve bought a movie camera and projector; we’ve taken a trip to old Mexico and built a small swimming pool.

"Crazy? We don’t think so. Our children are five and seven. They belong to us now but in 10 years they’ll belong to the world. So we’re going to enjoy life with our young ones while we have them and worry about the mortgage when they leave the nest.... When they are in college we’ll need something to keep us busy; the mortgage will do just that. To us that saying about ‘don’t put off ‘till tomorrow...’ means don’t put off living. We’re looking forward to our next 10 years!

Sue Gerard"

I should have mentioned that farming was not our only income. But we were brave to buy and do the things we did at the time. Wayne attached a note saying, "The September Issue says that Sue won $25 savings bond for most reader votes for her letter." I had forgotten.

Through the years, I’ve sent letters to the local papers.

Columbia was slow to get a second public swimming pool. Fayette, Jefferson City and Fulton had pools, and Columbia people drove to those towns to swim. The Water and Light cooling tank was converted into a huge swimming pool, 175 feet long and 85 feet wide. This outdoor facility was extremely popular in summers but it was closed for good after the 1945 season. It was thought to be irreparable because untreated water from an adjacent lake continually forced its way up into the pool through cracks in the east end, which was nine feet deep.

My suggested solution for the problem came too late. It was scheduled to serve as the base for the new cooling tower.

Many letters supported the idea of a year round facility. With perseverance and patience, the Hickman High School pool was the result.

Here’s a part of a letter to the editor that I wrote one year in late summer:


"We found it possible to shell out a few ‘twenties’ for fireworks to make kids happy on the Fourth of July. Now let’s send an equal amount to Ronald McDonald House to make these other kids happy."

Sometimes I’ve written letters opposing things: "Don’t give my husband whisky for Christmas." It was accumulating in his liquor locker from one year’s eggnog to the next.

To oppose legalized gambling I quoted my Uncle Jess, who was a card shark and operator of various tables in Tijuana, Mexico, gambling houses. He said, "Don’t leave Missouri in a gambling mess for your descendants. It will take generations to clean it up!"

I also quoted a small-town banker who said gamblers are cashing welfare checks to get gambling money. Free liquor on the boats opens billfolds and pocketbooks. It also increases the number of drunks in the 24-hour traffic snarl.

The interaction of readers with editors and other readers seems to be at an all-time high, just now. I find that Trib Talk and letters to the editor are high on my reading list, after I’ve read "Zits" on the comic page, of course!

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