Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Working two jobs was almost like childís play

Driving in, I reviewed my experiences: I had participated in most sports at MU and many electives - Musketeers (rifle club), Mermaids, two summers at Red Cross National Aquatic Schools, a special 10-day training at the University of Indiana, four MU aquatic shows and courses in team sports as well as tennis, swimming, diving and archery, and I was a qualified American Red Cross instructor in lifesaving and first aid. I had judged diving and timed races. However, I had never taught anything!

If Ruby Cline thought I could manage whatever Christian College needed, I had no fear! I shook Briggsí hand at exactly 11 and liked the man at once.

Christianís previous swimming teacher, a graduate student at MU, had transferred to another state. She had lived in Christianís dormitory and was paid "room and all meals." I could not live there! I lived at home and helped in our family dairy on weekends. Christianís swimming classes were scheduled for 2, 3 and 4 oíclock Monday through Thursday. Briggs suggested a small payment to start, and he promised to increase it when possible. He did increase it, several times.

Many people worked at extra jobs during the Depression; I had part of two. I was a waitress at the Coronado Restaurant, and I played fiddle for square dances on some weekends. My dear friendís son had died in his teens, and his mother gave me his violin. My parents financed lessons so I could play in the small orchestra at University High School. My teacher graduated and left Columbia, so I began to learn some old hoe-down tunes from fiddlers at local dances. When visiting relatives in Moscow Mills, we attended a square dance in the empty upstairs of a big store. I listened and watched the fiddler. Between dances he suddenly handed me his fiddle and left, saying, "You play this one; Iím dancing it with my gal." I began with gusto, knowing I could never last. When my back was killing me and I was ready to drop, a fight broke out in that empty upstairs storeroom! I had time to stretch and relax but couldnít find anyone to take the fiddle and finish playing the interrupted dance. Someone yelled "MUSIC!" and no one came to help. Rested, I stroked the strangerís violin again and played on!

I was the only one who knew how exhausted I was and how surprised I was to be able to finish that dance!

In summers I fiddled for dancers at outdoors events. The garage owner had a sectional dance floor that men assembled at Deer Park; it was stored after each dance. In winters, dances were held in homes where one room was cleared to make space for four couples to dance. The hostess often served ham sandwiches and coffee about midnight. I was always happy to play "Home Sweet Home" and to rest my head on Chubís lap as he drove me home asleep.


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