Patricia Craig Johnson --- Searching for My Ancestors --- Sharing My Life Stories

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

You Are From Gering Nebraska? No Way!

What a wonderful evening I experienced last night. I was invited to join a group of people that meet for dinner each month because we have all lost someone dear and often don't have a way to socialize. With so many projects on my schedule right now, I hesitated for a little while about attending. After all none there would probably be genealogists, or indexers, or writers, or speakers, or any of the other pursuits I have at the moment. But, I had promised to go, so I did. And what a lovely evening it was. To get out of the usual and just visit and get acquainted with new folks was a good thing.

It wasn't too long into the evening when a lady mentioned growing up in Nebraska. Of course, my question was, "Where in Nebraska?" The answer, "A little town called Gering." What? That is where I grew up as well. One of the first questions was a normal one for Geringites, "Do you stop at the Gering Bakery when you go back there?" Of course, the answer has to be, "Yes!" For those of you that have not been to the Gering Bakery it is out of this world delicious. That and "Tastees" are the hallmarks of the memories I have of the town. Tastees were scrambled hamburger sandwiches that were seasoned some secret way and are no longer there, because the lady died and took the recipe to her grave, as far as I know. I tried for years to duplicate the taste to no avail and had forgotten about them until last night.

In the downtown picture above, you see a white two story building with the school bus directly in front of it. That was Bender's Shoe Shop and that is where I lived in an apartment upstairs as a newly married seventeen year old. We felt so grown up and anxious to face the world when we lived there. Of course, not all young dreams are fulfilled, but thank goodness we have them at the right time. Two doors closer to the front of the picture is the building that was the  Grove Theater. It was just a few steps from our apartment to the picture show and we went every time the movie changed. A much simpler life for sure, but not any easier as the problems were as big as they are today, just different.

It was nice to think of people we both knew so long ago and reconnect with a place that is very special and dear to me. Even though I look and look for stories about my ancestor's lives, I have to remember that my stories will be searched for at some point in the future. At least I hope someone wants to know about them. That is why this blog is important to me, to have them out there for the taking.

Now, with Mom and Lee gone, I have no real reason to go back to Gering, but it will always hold a special spot in my heart. It was, and still is, a wonderful place to be a kid and to grow up. I have so many great memories attached to it and so many good people are attached to it.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that the last Gering house I lived in was at 1240 M Street, and it sat exactly on the Oregon Trail. M Street is the highway that leads out of town and up over Mitchell Pass and the ruts of the wagons are still visible today. It really is a beautiful place both in, memory and today. To all Geringites everywhere I say you are very lucky and blessed people.

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