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New Book — ‘Growing Up St. Louis: Looking Back Through the Decades’ by Jim Merkel

September 25, 2020 Books, Featured No Comments

Though I’ve lived in St. Louis for over three decades, I didn’t grow up here. This book is fascinating because you can read stories from over 100 people who did grow up here.

No matter when or where we grow up, the stories, people, and places that populate our memories leave an indelible mark on the manuscript that becomes our life story. A day at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904, meatless meals and hard times during the Great Depression, or knowing Mark McGwire’s precise homerun count that summer of 1998 become galvanized in our own timelines, while other details fade into the background.

In Growing Up St. Louis, hear the stories that stuck with more than a hundred native St. Louisans over the last century, told by the very people who lived through them. Ranging from joyous to humdrum, and even to the grim, these childhood memories offer a glimpse of life in still frame, from the start of the twentieth century to the present day. A young girl is transfixed by the Beatles debut on Ed Sullivan and a future local sportscaster falls in love with sports as he and his dad watch the 1968 World Series.

With new and old photographs to accompany the essays, join veteran author Jim Merkel on a journey through ten decades of coming of age in St. Louis. Whether they spark nostalgia or empathy, they’ll surely provoke commentary about how deeply our tender years impact us for the rest of our lives. (Reedy Press)

I haven’t read all the stories, but I’ve read quite a few. Merkel has done a good job of presenting a variety of people. City & county, black & white, rich & poor, etc.

I can only imagine the stories to be told in 50-60 years about growing up in the 2020s.

— Steve Patterson

 

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