Abilene High School Class of 1961

Tributes to John Gerhart from South Junior High Classmates, Abilene


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  1. FROM EDDIE KRIEGER ….. please add your comments in a note below Eddie's if you want about EK's or about Johnny…. thanks, JO

    The recent post relating to John Gerhart have been great and I have really enjoyed
    the sharing of thoughts and feelings about John. I wish I could capture just a
    portion of the thoughts and memories that have been shooting throught my old head
    as I read these messages.

    I can't remember when I didn't know John Gerhart. Until we moved the first time that
    I can remember we lived just three houses down Highland street from the Gerharts.
    How lucky I was to be a part of that great neighborhood.
    John was known as Little John in those days to keep from being confused with
    Johnny Garner who lived between us. We had great fun in those early years:
    climbing trees and playing Tarzan, playing "kick-the-can" till well after dark with
    the Gerharts front yard usually being home base, having a foot race at least every
    week or so down the street because I was determined to out run Johnny –never did–,
    wrestling in Johnnys front room with his Mom, Eleanor, watching from her arm chair as
    I was always having to yell "calf-rope" when Johnny put his deadly scissor hold around
    my middle–I never won one of those wrestling matches either.

    One of the biggest treats that I think of ofter was getting to go with Parson Gerhart,
    Johnny, and Harry to Mrs Brown's boarding house for lunch. If there was ever a better
    spread laid out on a table, I would like to partake of it. I can still see Parson
    paying the lady (probably Mrs Brown) as we went into the dinning room. She sat at a
    small table and would put the money in a cigar box. After lunch the diners would take
    their plates and glasses to the kitchen after they were done eating. A different
    time that becomes more valuable as the years accumulate.

    Just a few more memories and I'll shut this down. I'm already sitting here with tears running down my cheek. Feels great.

    I remember John and Harry's room and all the books and wonderful posters on the wall.
    Johnny was reading Newsweek while I was reading comic books. However, I do think that
    he and his family were probably most responsible for my love of books and reading.
    Johnny and I would ride the bus downtown on Saturdays to go to the library to get
    five or six books to bring home. Mine were always Westerns. He suggested once that
    I read A Paradise of Birds–I did and still remember the name of the woman that wrote
    that book, the first non fiction book I can remember reading. Other books he pointed
    out to me that I remember: ………………………continued, for what it's worth,
    below. I meant to save this and get back to it, but it was 5:45 in the AM and my fingers and brain weren't connected…………

    Green Mansions was one I remember the most. I think I still have John's copy in the
    Modern Library edition and Tale of Two Cities which I felt I had to read because
    Mrs Gerhart offered me two dollars at some point to read that book.
    I think she was concerned about my education or lack of it.) I read that book,
    enjoyed it, and thought about John's mother the whole time I was reading it.
    Other books that I'm sure are a result of John's influence: Washing of the Spears
    and The History of the Boer Wars.

    I also think of John every day when I look out the kitchen window to see if there
    are any new vistors to the bird feeder. How often I think, Boy, I wish Gerhart was
    here to tell me what the hell that bird is. A painted bunting comes to the feeder
    every year and it is like a reunion. The first time that bird appeared at the feeder
    was the day John was buried in Austin.
    I look every day for that painted bunting.

    How lucky we were to have John and his family in our lives. And, how lucky many
    people were or are that John Gerhart was there to enrich their lives.
    Everyone should be so lucky.

    I plan on calling John's brother Harry this evening to see if he is aware of these
    memories of John. If he hasn't seen them, I will forward all to him.

    Thanks to you all for bringing these thoughts and memories to the surface.
    And, thanks to you, Odam, for being both the catcher and the pitcher of the words.
    You have my permission to edit my attempt at putting anything on paper.

    Grant—What grade are we in now?

    Comment by johnodam — May 8, 2006 @ 11:01 pm | Reply

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