Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Living on a dairy farm was so very exciting

In addition to several dairy farms like Dad’s, there was Sides’ Dairy, with the work done by a family who moved to Columbia from a tobacco farm in Kentucky. Boone County soil and climate were not right for tobacco farming, and they did well to just come out even.

There were other small dairies with big families to educate. They did it by selling milk to pay the family’s bills over a span of several years.

This was during the Depression, and large families were the norm because scientists had not yet introduced the pill for birth control!

On Columbia’s fringe, there were Dad and several others who had small, privately owned dairies. We worked together to outsmart the big dairies, which ran expensive ads that were often hurtful to small farm operations. The White Eagle Dairy went quietly on, buying milk from farms and paying to have truckers deliver it to its docks and return late in the day to get the sterilized cans back to the proper farms for the next day’s delivery.

This schedule fit neatly into the routine of some part-time students at the university.

My brother and I were students in the upper grades at the University High School, and we parked near an old Pontiac truck belonging to an MU engineering student.

He lived at Deer Park, a small grocery, gas and ice outlet on the road between Columbia and Jefferson City. This fellow coaxed his old Pontiac truck around to eight or 10 farms twice a day. He loaded the morning milk from neighboring farms, drove to Columbia and delivered the milk to White Eagle or Central Dairy and hurried to his first class in the Engineering Building.

His truck often needed repair. I was delighted to watch him fix that Pontiac without losing his cool. The next Sunday evening, he was at church in Little Bonne Femme, one of Deer Park’s two active churches. I was there with Albert, the first boy who ever came to get me and drive me home from church.

The engineering student and his parents, his junior high school sister and their parents plus a young family of three, with a charming little toddler, all lived in various parts of the combined Deer Park home, store and filling station. People at church called our engineering friend "Chub," and his relatives called him "Bud."

Deer Park was merely a crossroads with country stores facing each other. The family of interest was on the east side of the highway, selling Shell Gasoline.

Suddenly, a noisy machine called a Delco Plant started itself, indoor and outdoor lights came on, and we chatted about Bonne Femme Baptist Church above the noise of the Delco lighting system.

More later.


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