A Party I’ll Long Remember

my-release-party-copyBefore it’s too far in the past, I have to talk about the fantastic response to the book release party for The Colorful Characters of St. Louis on Sunday at The Royale. We had a terrific time. I signed a ton of books. I talked to some amazing people about them. Ten people I profiled turned out: Raynard Nebbitt, Tom Dunn, the Rev. Kenneth McKoy, Albert Watkins, Ray Hartmann, Bill Haas, Paul Pagano, Larry Rice, Charles Hoessle and Steven Fitzpatrick Smith. Most of the pictures below are by my brother. Next to me in the first picture is Steven Fitzpatrick Smith, owner of the Royale and one of those on the book’s cover. To the far right is my supportive and longsuffering wife, Lorraine.

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a better party, and I mean it. Thanks, everybody, for coming out and making this day so special.



Paul “Father Time” Pagano and Ray Hartmann
Father Time in His cart
Retired St. Louis Zoo Director Charles Hoessle and his wife
Bill Haas and me.
Enjoying some time with the Rev. Kenneth McKoy (left) and Albert Watkins.
Larry Rice and his grandkids
A crew from Channel 24 interviewed me.
Lorraine and my friend Fred Blumenthal, a regular at my release parties.


In this photo, Lorraine spends a moment with Eric Jenkins, who gave her some fantastic hostas from his stand at the Soulard Market. Don’t forget you’re coming to our church and having lunch with us afterwards!
Here I’m with Raynard Nebbitt. He’s the one who stands on the Rock Hill Road Overpass on Interstate 44 and waves at passing cars and trucks.

I was happy about many things about this event, but one has nothing to do with the book. This evangelical Christian welcomed a couple of Muslim neighbors, a Jew who is involved in his synagogue’s music program, several ministers, a number of African Americans, Catholics, Protestants, and I don’t know who else. I even let my publisher come. The intention wasn’t to be diverse. It just worked out that way. I’m glad to count all of you as friends.


Published by Jim Merkel

Reedy Press published four of my books, Hoosiers and Scrubby Dutch: St. Louis's South Side, 2010; Beer, Brats, and Baseball: St. Louis Germans, 2012; The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and the Hard Hats Who Built the Gateway Arch; and the Second Edition of Hoosiers and Scrubby Dutch: St. Louis's South Side, 2014. They're available in bookstores and online. For an autographed copy, send a check for $21.50 made out to Jim Merkel, to Jim Merkel, 4216 Osceola St., St. Louis, MO 63116.

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