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.