Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Once again, it’s the time for another introduction

In 1994, Jim Robertson gave the nod and placed my short musings into the Tuesday paper each week. "Introduce yourself to our readers," he said. I reintroduce myself once a year for new readers and for the old ones, too. Here goes:

Born on a small dairy farm within the present city limits of Columbia 85 years ago, I was less than 2 years old when Mom and Dad bought an 80-acre farm and home four miles east of town. That’s now part of the El Chaparral subdivision, a half-mile south of the county creek-gravel road called "Fulton Gravel." I still call it that; others call it Route WW. My brother, James Meyers, and I attended the University of Missouri laboratory schools, riding to town in the model "T" dairy truck; Mom came after us at 4 o’clock each day.

In high school, Jim — 16 months older than I — drove his stripped down "T" Ford, and I rode along in one of its two bucket seats. At the university he attended the College of Agriculture, and I was in the School of Journalism. He earned his advanced degree in ag, and I earned mine in education. We’re strictly "sons of Old Mizzou."

In the depth of the depression, I waited tables at the Coronado — now Jack’s Gourmet — for $1 a day, working from 4 p.m. until midnight. Tips were nickels, dimes or nothing at all — I was never a flirt or one to hint for extra coins. About three nights a week I fiddled for square dances; the guitar picker and I split whatever coins were dropped into some farmer’s sweaty hat at midnight.

W.F. "Chub" Gerard, an MU student in electrical engineering, and I married in 1937 after a long courtship. We went into partnership with Dad in "Meyers and Gerard Dairy" until Chub enlisted in the Coast Guard and served three years during World War II. Then he worked in the local rural electrification administration office for many years. For 15 more years he was an inspector of new construction at MU and a farmer. He died in March 1998.

As a student at MU, I was active in Missouri Musketeers Club, rifle; Mermaids Club, synchronized swimming; and "M Women’s Club," representing four years of athletic participation on most of the varsity teams. In September, 1935, I started teaching five classes of swimming and life saving at Christian College — now Columbia College — and taught there full time until 1972.

Our children are Nancy Sue and Walter Eugene. Nancy and her husband, Michael Russell, bought our home, which was part of Dad’s dairy farm, and built Friends Together Antiques there — 4038 E. Broadway, Route WW. She sings lead in Lucky Star Quartet and baritone in Heart of Missouri Sweet Adeline chorus.

In 1967, Walt originated Walt’s Bike Shop the year he entered 11th grade at University High. He sold it in the ’80s and is now a technology specialist at Rusk Rehabilitation Center on Business Loop 70. Four generations of us have attended Olivet Christian Church.

In retirement, I make pottery and sculptures with clay that I dig inside Columbia’s city limits. I swim 300 yards almost daily, and grandson Sam gave me a new bike helmet for my 85th birthday!

Our family is enjoying the enthusiastic reception of my recently published book, "My First 84 Years." It’s similar to Granny’s Notes, having 104 short stories, 75 photographs and two maps. It was designed and published by Peter Gerard, now a freshman at University of Southern California. Nancy Russell and Cheryl Riley edited it, and Walt Gerard oversees sales. It’s available at Friends Together Antiques for $20 and by mail for $22 from Whip-Poor-Will Books, PMB #277, 2000 E. Broadway, Columbia, Mo., 65201.

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Copyright © 1994-2010 Sue Gerard. All Rights Reserved. No text or images on this website may be reproduced in any form without written permission of the author, except small quotations to be used in reviews.