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.


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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