Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

When my mother passed away in 1937, Dad lo...

When my mother passed away in 1937, Dad lost the motivation that kept him producing and selling “Clean Milk, Fresh From My Own Cows.” He was about to sell out but, instead, he took Chub, my new husband, as a partner in the retail operation of the dairy. Dad owned the cows, and the two men were the owners of the pasteurizer, bottling equipment, refrigeration system and the brand new white Dodge delivery truck. Thus began Meyers and Gerard Dairy on Jan. 1, 1938.

The horrible depression had bottomed out and the guns of World War II were rumbling in Europe. By 1943 it was almost impossible to buy the repairs and replacement supplies that were required to keep operation going. Metal and rubber had gone to war. Dad’s advice at the time, about tires and such, was, “Throw it away where you can find it later.” Finally they decided to sell the retail dairy.

As a child, Chub had “helped win the first world war” by singing at rallies to sell war bonds. He felt the need to help win the second war, too. During his three years in the service, we needed a feeling of belonging somewhere, so Dad sold us a 27 acre “worthless” corner of his farm. Generous relatives and friends helped us build a tiny natural stone house on Brushy Acres.

Our two children, Nancy and Walt, were born several years after that. We had bought the farm and had, again, built a home with the help of generous relatives and friends. The little house was rented for several years and, during her teen years, Nancy, clung to a pipe dream. “When I’m in college I want to live at Brushy Acres with some other girls,” she’d say.

She did just that while attending Christian College and MU. Mike Russell, a 4-H friend, became her No. 1 interest. When he returned from a stint in the Navy they married and later enlarged the little stone house. As a student in education at MU, Nancy enjoyed restoring old country furniture. One day when she was refinishing a century-old wardrobe she looked at the beautiful walnut wood underneath thick dark varnish, and her eyes sparkled as she said, “Oh, Mother, I’d like to do this for the rest of my life!.” Thus began Boone’s Lick Trail Antiques now called Friends Together Antiques at 4038 E. Broadway.

Country antiques, she taught me, were mostly handmade of Missouri trees -- pine, walnut and cherry. Often the wood was cut on the family farm, was fashioned by the farmer, to fit a particular space or need in his home. Pieces made of less beautiful wood were painted with old buttermilk paint. Blue, yellow, red and green were popular colors to brighten the early home. Other decorations were homemade from dried fruits, herbs, vines, twigs, etc. Quilts, comforters and rugs were made cloth scraps or used clothing.

Because my early American look-alike pottery is compatible with country antiques, I’m a “friend” in Nancy’s Friends Together Antiques. The others are: Carolyn Green, Amanda Canter, Shirley and Ross Duff.

On another Tuesday I’ll tell about how our Walt started a bicycle shop when he was entering the 11th grade at University High School and how that introduced him to his present position at Rusk Rehab Center.

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