18 Stories of Growing Up in St. Louis

CJ Muggs Group ShotThe motley crew in the picture above is 18 of the more than 100 folks I interviewed for my upcoming book Growing Up St. Louis, plus me, at the far left back. We gathered this past Sunday at C J Muggs Bar & Grill in Webster Groves to schmooze and hear each other tell stories about what it was like to spend our early years in the Gateway City.

The stories differed widely, and included what it was like to “duck and cover” to stay safe from the A-bomb in the 1950s, growing up very Catholic and being the son of a player in the Negro Leagues. We also heard from a former teen mother and learned what it was like to be homeschooled. You can read them and others told by St. Louisans born from 1907 to 2008 when Growing Up St. Louis comes out.

The gathering was one of two events in the past few days that were especially heartening to me. In the past few weeks, the project seemed to stall. I wondered whether it ever will be released. But this week, my publisher and I came up with an exciting way to present the 10 periods we’re profiling. After two years of hard work, it’s finally taking form and should be in print early next year. It’s sure to be my best book.

Advertisements

Time With My Favorite People

Just for fun, here’s some pictures of me with my favorite people, the ones who spend a twenty and a bit more on my books at a signing. Here are some of those I encountered in the last six months. You can be one of those favorite people by coming to my next signing from 1-5 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Arch Store at the Gateway Arch.  Buy a copy of The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and The Hard Hats Who Built The Gateway Arch,  2nd Edition, and then ride the tram to the top.  Don’t mind the backward titles. That’s what happens when you take a selfie.

 

122418halfpricestcharles
Here I am on Christmas Eve at Half Price Books in St. Charles with happy customer David Scully Jr.

20180703_191311 (1).jpg

costco 4
Jay and Niki Chi, who came to St. Louis from Taiwan, show off “The Making of an Icon” at a signing I did Sunday, Aug. 26 at the Costco in Manchester.
Costco 1
At the Manchester Costco signing on Sunday, Aug. 26, I take a selfie with Denise Coleman, whose dad scoffed when the Arch went up. Notice the one-of-a-kind cover.
Crestwood Sunset Hills Rotary
After my speech about “The Making of an Icon, 2nd Edition,” I pose with Diana Lineberger, president of the Crestwood-Sunset Hills Rotary Club.

IMG_243820181208_20053620181215_181811

20181208_131615
With the owners of the Webster Groves Book Shop
buy this, dog.
This pooch is a hard sell.

 

Our Year in Review

2018 Thanksgiving pic
In the picture are (top left) John and Lois Schmitt and Charles Merkel, bottom left, Lorraine, and Jim

Once again, we’re sharing our Christmas Letter on Facebook. Here it is.

Merry Christmas 2018 to one and all.

This year, we got a little older, but stayed busy in our work and relationships with family, friends and members of our church. We ventured out of town twice this year. Lorraine and Jim and Jim’s brother Chuck traveled to western Kentucky to meet Jim’s sister and brother-in-law John and Lois Schmitt from Atlanta for Thanksgiving dinner. It was a time for good food and sharing lives. In June, we went to mid-Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks for the annual Celebration Midwest Conference of Confluence Churches, the national group of our church. We were blessed to receive an invitation to a leadership conference for our group of churches in September. After nearly 20 years, we still lead a service on the second Sunday of each month at a nursing home. We just started hosting a small Wednesday morning prayer group at our house.  

Jim updated his book, The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and the Hard Hats Who Built The Gateway Arch, and promoted it the last half of the year.  He’s writing a new book, Growing Up St. Louis, about the lives of kids here from 1900 on through the eyes of more than 100 people he interviewed. He leads a project to provide markers on St. Louis streets whose German names were changed during the anti-German period of World War I. St. Louis has put up five signs and is about to approve another. It’s a way to show how groups are targeted in times of hysteria. At church, he runs the ministry that cleans the parking lot before Sunday services.

This was a good year for Lorraine, both spiritually and physically. Her report: “The September leadership conference increased my faith to use my gifts to advance the kingdom of God. At our November women’s conference, I received prayer, and God broke lifelong spiritual habits.” After her heart attack in 2015, her cardiac checkups have all been good. Lorraine also continued to bless seniors as a home health aide. Besides doing light housekeeping and other chores, she makes close friends with all of them and shares the good news of Jesus with every one. “It’s always a joy and privilege to help seniors live in their homes.”

And, at the end of 2018, it’s a joy and privilege to know you. May you have the best of years in 2019, and may you come to know the comfort of the Babe in the manger.

 

Love at Christmas,

 

Jim and Lorraine

 

The Season Ends on a Merry Note

 
halfpricebooks st. charles 2
Here I am on Christmas Eve at Half Price Books in St. Charles with happy customer David Scully Jr.

I finished the season on a high note on Christmas Eve signing books at Half Price Books in St. Charles. It wasn’t the kind of monster day I’ve had lately, but it was decent. I loved talking up the Gateway Arch with buyers of my Arch book The Making of an Icon, 2nd Edition like David Scully Jr. I hope those who didn’t buy still got a little more excited about our local treasure. Then there was Donna C. Wood of Ballwin, who sent her son to pick up two copies of Beer, Brats, and Baseball: St. Louis Germans as last-minute gifts. Yeah, Donna!

All told, I had a great December signing at nine places. God blessed, and we’ll be able to pay a few end-of-the-year bills.  I’ll keep signing next year, including when Growing Up St. Louis comes out next fall. I hope to see you at one of them.

A Very Merry End of the Season

 

halfpricebooks st. charles 2
Here I am on Christmas Eve at Half Price Books in St. Charles with happy customer David Scully Jr.

I finished the season on a high note on Christmas Eve signing books at Half Price Books in St. Charles. It wasn’t the kind of monster day I’ve had lately, but it was decent. I loved talking up the Gateway Arch with buyers of my Arch book The Making of an Icon, 2nd Edition like David Scully Jr. I hope those who didn’t buy still got a little more excited about our local treasure. Then there was Donna C. Wood of Ballwin, who sent her son to pick up two copies of Beer, Brats, and Baseball: St. Louis Germans as last-minute gifts. Yeah, Donna!

All told, I had a great December signing at nine places. God blessed, and we’ll be able to pay a few end-of-the-year bills.  I’ll keep signing next year, including when Growing Up St. Louis comes out next fall. I hope to see you at one of them.

The Shutdown Won’t Shut Us Down!

sky monument arch saint louis
Photo by Brittany Moore on Pexels.com

It’s odd to imagine, but one place where you won’t be able to buy a signed copy of my book about the Gateway Arch this weekend is the Gateway Arch. The government shutdown shut down the Arch, where I was set for a book signing on Sunday. But you do have three other opportunities by a copy of the second edition of The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and The Hard Hats Who Built The Gateway Arch Christmas.

Today, Saturday, I’m scheduled to sign from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Half Price Books, 1664 Clarkson Road in Chesterfield, and from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble in the West County Center. Then from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, you’ll see me at Half Price Books, 2107 Zumbehl Road in St. Charles.

At both Half Price Books locations, you can also buy my other books, Beer, Brats, and Baseball: St. Louis Germans, The Colorful Characters of St. Louis, and my self-published novel, The Devils Island Lighthouse. I have lots of ways to make sure your Christmas book shopping isn’t shut down!

Will I Ever Stop?

jimbusy
Here comes another signing.

Am I crazy? I must be, because I’m doing three book signings this weekend. But that’s good for you and any other Christmas shopper who’s going crazy trying to find the perfect gift for that certain St. Louis history lover. Today, Saturday, I’ll sign from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at STL-Style/Stylehouse, 3159 Cherokee Street and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Half Price Books, 630 McKnight Road in University City. Then on Sunday you’ll find me from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Tower Grove Farmers Market’s outdoor Boulevard Holiday Market, 1 The Boulevard, Richmond Heights, off Galleria Parkway across Brentwood Boulevard from The Galleria. If you think that’s crazy, I have four signings next weekend.