Growing up, my best memories were the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of South St. Louis.
The corner confectionary sold rainbow-colored candy buttons and chunk chocolate. Housed in a shiny glass case, the candy was the main act, on show for all to see.
The brick five-and-dime store on Meramec Street, about three blocks from my house, sold everything imaginable. The same store where my cousin Carol, pounded her fists and kicked her feet in a full-out temper tantrum, because my Aunt Katie refused to buy her what she wanted.
Ted Drewes Frozen Custard on Grand Avenue, still standing to this day, made superb lemon floats. I remember many reflective walks to the custard stand with my friend and neighbor Cindy Winschel.
As an adult, I loved hearing Mom’s childhood stories. She frequented Uncle Willie’s Illinois farm as a young girl, and spent lazy weekends exploring with sisters Georgia Lee and Isabella, often getting into trouble with her cousins, the Wagner kids.
What I remember most about Mom is that she was tough. Tough as nails. And funny.
So here’s a tribute to my Mom ‘Gladys’, and to all moms everywhere.
It’s a story that was published in the St. Louis Post Dispatch on October 13, 2010 titled Visiting Uncle Willie’s Farm. I hope you like it.