Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Major changes came to our lives with advent of Ďthe pillí

Nancy and O.D. married in 1912 and moved to Columbia. The next year they borrowed money and bought a small retail dairy.

Orlando Denver and Nancy Meyers, our parents, named their first child James Denver Meyers. "James" was for Motherís father, and "Denver" was just a word they liked.

I was their second child, named for Momís half sister, Susan, and Dadís half sister Susie - so they named me "Sue," just to be different. They made up my middle name, Emelyn, because Momís family already had two Emelines. Motherís half-sister was Susan Henry, Grandpa Jim Henryís third living child.

Grandpa was a Confederate soldier who survived the Civil War and then fathered three more living children. They were my dear mother, Nancy Henry, her sister, Emeline Henry, and their brother, Lawrence.

Why do I bore you readers with this naming of babies? It is to introduce the monumental importance of the development and marketing of a contraceptive called, in a whisper, "the pill."

Dairy farm families and their neighbors often spoke of the importance of planned breeding of cows and hogs. O.D. Meyers Dairy and several other family dairies selling milk in Columbia provided milk for hundreds of university students in boarding houses, fraternities and sororities - groups that poured out of the Wabash Railroad Station from St. Louis and the MK&T station.

The demand for wholesome food was sudden and tremendous. Planned breeding of cows and hogs helped farmers supply food to match the demands when students returned to campus in September.

Cows were "dry," or not being milked, during the long, hot summers, resting, eating and preparing for delivery of their autumn babies. To match that schedule, breeding dates were controlled. The bulls were carefully kept away from the herd except when needed.

Neighbors occasionally drove a cow to our farm for breeding, and Dad was careful about the health of the visiting female. Dairy animals were Holsteins, and some neighbors had Jerseys. Dad held to his belief that Holsteins were the best milk producers; he gave male Holstein calves to neighborsí children, who raised them on bottles, for the veal market.

What a spectacular thing it was when someone actually discovered how to select human birth dates for their babies with "the pill." It was done with "control of conception," according to the "New World Dictionary."

I contend that the ability to plan birth dates for human babies was the most important discovery of our lifetimes. Want to argue?

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