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
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.