Face to face with history

Dorothy Hunter (left) with her sister Ida and her brother Jack at their home on Connecticut street, just some of Tower Grove Park.

Still alert and smiling at the age of 109, Dorothy Hunter has much to say about growing up near Tower Grove Park in the first and second decades of the 20th Century. “I think children obeyed more readily then than now,” she told me.

Fred Blumenthal was the son of a Jewish pathologist who moved his family to Kirkwood right after World War II because he didn’t want to live in a Jewish enclave. Although he was generally accepted, Blumenthal recalls there were moments of uneasiness. “I remember one time the teacher was scolding me for something, and she said, ‘Was that the Christian thing to do?'”

Fred Blumenthal plays the piano at 5.

It’s a taste of the stories of two of the people I’ve interviewed for my upcoming book, tentatively called Growing Up in St. Louis. In it, I’ll tell the stories of people who grew up here from the start of the 20th Century until now. I’m excited. I think you’d be too. If you want to be interviewed for possible inclusion in the volume, e-mail me at southsidemerkel@gmail.com.

I’d love to hear from you.


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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