ArtThe SouthSider

A testimony to a happy childhood: Annemarie Nauert

(This is one in a series about the more than 100 people area author Jim Merkel interviewed about growing up in St. Louis for his newly released book, “Growing Up St. Louis.”)

I heard many stories, both happy and sad, when I interviewed people for my bookGrowing Up St. Louis: Looking Back Through the Decades.” The more someone told such stories, the more I knew those people had been prepared for a solid and happy childhood.

Annemarie Nauert is one of them. I met her at the Buder Branch of the St. Louis Public Library in October 2017, while I was interviewing subjects for potential inclusion in my book.

In the accompanying photo, Annemarie is the girl to the right with all the red hair. Born in 1988, she told a story about happy times exploring a creek in Crestwood Park with neighbor children.

The majority of my friends that I palled around with lived in my neighborhood in Crestwood.

We would cut through our neighbors’ yards, go up to their house and see if they were home almost every day after school. Every day after school, we would pretty much spend the daylight hours together, and we had elaborate imaginary games that we had devised that kept us pretty busy.

In the summer, I know we spent the majority of the day exploring the creek in the Crestwood Park, climbing trees, playing games.  

I think we were really lucky that we were just old enough to have a childhood free from screens and electronic devices. …

My parents just encouraged getting outside and playing with our friends.

“Growing Up St. Louis,” by Jim Merkel
You can read the rest of her story, along with those of more than a hundred others, in “Growing Up St. Louis. To order, click here.


Jim Merkel Born and raised in the St. Louis area, Jim Merkel covered communities throughout the area from 1991 to 2013 for the old Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis. He is the author of five books about the Gateway City published by Reedy Press. The latest is Growing Up St. Louis: Looking Back Through the Decades. He and his wife, Lorraine, live in the Bevo Mill neighborhood of south St. Louis with Miss Jenny the Cat. For more about Jim, visit

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