ArtThe SouthSider

A one-in-a-million coincidence: Growing Up next door

People say St. Louis is the world’s biggest small town. You’re always running into somebody with a connection to yourself.

You can believe it, after seeing one huge coincidence in the writing of Jim Merkel’s new book, “Growing Up St. Louis: Looking Back Through the Decades.”

Merkel interviewed more than 100 people about their experiences growing up in St. Louis. They were rich, poor, black, white – all kinds, really.

Dorothy (Danner) Hunter (left)
One was Dorothy (Danner) Hunter, who was born in 1907 and spent her childhood in the 3800 block of Connecticut Street, south of Tower Grove Park. She was 109 years old when Merkel spoke with her and was by far the oldest person he interviewed.

The youngest was Milo Marston, who was born in 2008, 101 years after Hunter. Milo also lives in the 3800 block of Connecticut, just a few doors from where Hunter grew up.

The chance that would have in a town this big? One in a million.

To buy “Growing Up St. Louis,” 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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