Stan Gerding

Dear Grandson: On Being Friendly

In his latest “Dear Grandson,” Stan Gerding writes to his grandson about being a friendly kid (with ulterior motives), being able to walk around town alone, and the nuns at school.


Dear Grandson,

I was always a very friendly boy who always made friends with the neighbors and just about everybody that I met. I never met a stranger; I would talk with everybody and anybody.

I can remember walking down the street and going up on some neighbors’ porch and sitting there with them and talking about everything under the sun. Telling them my family’s business, and what my dad was doing, or my mom. Hell, I’d tell them whatever they wanted to know. There was always an ulterior motive to my being a blabbermouth. Maybe, just maybe, they would give me a cookie or a piece of candy. Just about 99% of the time I would get some kind of treat.

I think I missed my calling, I should’ve been a comedian or a politician, but aren’t they one and the same? They blabber all over the place and their ulterior motive is to get a treat—a laugh or a vote. My mother would get so upset with me telling everyone about our business, but I was only a little guy, she wouldn’t stay mad too long.

Some of the things we did, and were allowed to do in my day, is a little unheard of today. We were allowed to stay out until it got dark. But then again, we would push that to the limit. It was understood that we could walk about the town without worries, not even within earshot of your parents. Can you imagine if children were allowed to walk about the town alone today?!

My dad would send me up to the corner delicatessen with three empty quart bottles of beer and a dollar, and the man that owned the store would take the empty bottles, take the dollar bill, and he would fill the sack up with three full bottles of beer. They were cold too. Then I would take them back to my dad. I was only eight years old! You can’t do that today!


I was always a very friendly boy who always made friends with the neighbors and just about everybody that I met. I never met a stranger; I would talk with everybody and anybody.


My family lived in a small town called Bellevue, in Kentucky. I went to one of two parochial schools in the town and there were two Catholic Churches to go with each school. Sacred Heart, where I went, and St. Anthony. Our school was so old that there was an entrance for the boys and a separate one for the girls, can you believe it?

I often wondered why there were two schools in the town. Well, I found out much later in my life that there was a large number of German immigrants that settled in the Northern Kentucky area and they spoke only the German language. So, one school was for the Germans and the other for English-speaking children. Of course, when I went to school, that had already changed.

Even though the entrances had boys and girls listed as such, we used the entrances by classes, which was divided by boys and girls. When we got to the 7th and 8th grades, they separated us, getting us prepared for high school—an all-boys high school and an all-girls high school.

Back in the early grades when we were not separated, we had teachers who were nuns and some civilian teachers. I say “civilian” teachers, because if you ever had nuns you would think that they went through Marine Corps boot camp before they were sent out to teach and discipline the kids. They knew discipline. I spent a few days after school erasing the chalkboard.

I know what you’re thinking, Grandson. I was probably a hellion.

More later, my grandson.


Love you,


Stan Gerding is the author of the book The Nam “Doc” A Navy Corpsman’s Story.


Stan Gerding

Stan Gerding is a retired veteran after 23 years in the Navy that included a tour of duty in Vietnam as a Corpsman, 1968-1969. He has since been the administrator of various healthcare organizations, a high school science teacher, an author, a singer, and is the father of Greg Gerding and grandfather to Jack.

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