Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Jim Robertson thumbed through one volume o...

Jim Robertson thumbed through one volume of stuff I’d written for our four grandchildren and three step-grandchildren. Then, looking at the scribbled title on the front cover, he said, “That’s what we’ll call it: ‘Granny’s Notes.’*”

That was 156 Tuesdays ago! As we start the fourth year it seems appropriate for me to repeat what Jim asked me to do in the first issue, “Sort of introduce yourself.” Today, I’ll review -- in 600 words or less -- a busy lifetime of fun and frolic, all spent here in Boone County, east of Columbia.

I was born at home, 16 months after my brother entered the world and that gave Mom -- Nancy Henry Meyers -- two babies in diapers. Sitters were unknown, and we went where Mom went. That included Olivet Church, about four miles away, and Centralia, where Grandma and Grandpa Henry lived. We did that 23 miles in the 1917 Model T dairy truck. Once a year we went to St. Charles to visit the Meyers relatives.

My memory is scant about things before fire destroyed our home but reinforced by a few snapshots. I remember the chickens in the back yard that ran up when Mom threw potato peelings to them, the blue ceiling of the living room -- blue was to repel flies! -- and I remember that Dad had cut a hole and made a “dumb waiter” between the kitchen and dining room so Mom could pass food and dishes through, to save steps.

A snapshot shows me at age 2 in a dress, holding the driving lines of two big horses. Dad had gone to get a cold drink and left the team ground hitched so I grabbed the lines and pretended to be driving. I recall a grumpy Grandpa Meyers who lived with us while Dad went to Sweeney’s automobile school in Kansas City for four weeks~.

The big event in my preteen life was that Dad bought me a new Sears and Roebuck bicycle for the astronomical price of $39.50, and I promised to work for the rest of my life for no pay. He didn’t hold me to that. About once a month our family of four went to a movie to see Charlie Chaplin or Fatty Arbuckle. I learned the joy of accomplishment by rinsing milk bottles daily for 25 cents per week.

In teen years I recall how awkward I felt in an Easter outfit: a frilly organdy dress, white shoes and gloves and a wide-brimmed hat. Clothes never meant much after that. My first boyfriend drove a rattling red and yellow Model T Ford roadster. Once on a seven mile trip, we patched seven flat tires!

I met an MU engineering student, W.F. Gerard, in 1930, and we were married seven years later. It was Depression time, and we courted in his broken-down Pontiac truck. Chub and Dad owned Meyers and Gerard Dairy when milk sold for eight cents per quart.

While Chub was in the service, I taught at Christian College. We bought land from Dad and, later, relatives and friends helped us build a house of native stone. Nancy and Walt were born there.

Along the way I enjoyed swimming, fishing, playing the fiddle for square dances; working nights at Coronado Restaurant; and volunteering for Red Cross, 4-H, PTA and Olivet Church. I taught water sports, tennis, archery, life saving and bicycling at the college -- 33 years -- and accompanied students on three bicycle trips in Europe. With our Columbia Bike Club, I rode 100 miles in one day -- eight different times.

Then I retired from teaching, discovered clay and met Jim Robertson. Is this a life of fun and frolic? Absolutely!


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