Moving Toward 100 Interviews

Gaasch at 8
Madelyn Heim around 8, about 1925

The picture show 8-year-old Madelyn Heim around 1925, just when she was going through a particularly rough time. Her father had just left her mother for another woman, and her mother suddenly would die. But happier times were ahead, as a Bevo Mill neighborhood family took her in. The family gave her a name – Pedrotti – and its Catholic faith. She speaks with joy about her life in attending the elementary and high schools of John the Baptist Catholic Parish.

Now 100, Madelyn met with me on Wednesday, Nov. 22, at the Fountain View Assisted Living Facility at Friendship Village in Sunset Hills. There to help was her daughter, Jenine Meyer. But she didn’t need any help remembering. Madelyn, whose last name is now Gaasch, is as sharp as someone much younger.

It’s hard to believe, but Madelyn is the 83rd person I’ve interviewed in my efforts to talk to 100 people about their experiences as youngsters in St. Louis.All of them have such wonderful stories. It’ll be tough, but I think I can finish by the end of the year. Then, at the start of the new year, I’ll write about what I found, for a book called Growing Up St. Louis.



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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