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How did we get to “A Going Concern?”

In the ’50s, when we would drive around in the Ford Country Squire station wagon, just sightseeing (gas was less than 20 cents a gallon then), Dad filling up the car with smoke from his filter-less Camel, we would, occasionally go past a rundown-looking establishment.  Usually it was a bar.  It looked like the kind of place only rodents might scurry in and out.  But as the rest of us silently took in the fact that the place was surrounded by automobiles packed tightly together and demonstrating that not only rodents frequented the place, Dad would drolly observe, “Now there’s a going concern.”

We kids would laugh at the thought as we began to understand that “a going concern” was a place that did a good business (even if the business wasn’t a good one).  “A going concern” could mean real prosperity even if, on the outside, the business didn’t look prosperous at all.  “A going concern”, however, could also mean that just because something appeared to be so on the outside didn’t mean it was so on the inside.

I’ve taken that expression with me through life, observing “a going concern” every now and then.  Often in small towns, it is the local bar, practically the only establishment still open on Main Street.  But a going concern could be any place — a school, a church, a hospital, any business.  And just because automobiles are clustered deeply into the parking lot, I’ve concluded as my father apparently did, that what you see on the outside may or may not indicate what’s going on inside.

That’s the way it is with people too.  There are those surrounded by others, popular, celebrities in their own small communities and celebrities of national and international renown.  But we never really know what the real story is inside that “going concern” unless we stop, get out, and take the time to get in there and investigate ourselves.

That’s what I want this blog to be about.  I want to stop and take a break from the drive, go inside the going concerns I have seen and met in my life and have yet to see and meet.  I want to know if what’s going on in there is something I should be concerned with or about.  A going concern.  A growing concern.

 

Gretchen Lord Anderson

Gretchen, blog photoBack at Mark Twain Elementary School in St. Joseph, Mo., a girlfriend and I decided to publish our own magazine. I think it might have lasted two issues and, due to the fact that we had no access to such a thing as a copier, our distribution was limited to passing the one and only copy of our magazine around the classroom. But it was enough for me to know that I wanted to be a journalist.

So I worked on the high school paper and I edited my college paper. As soon as I was able, I landed a job on a daily paper and I covered state government. That led to public relations positions and then press secretary to a governor of South Dakota.

But back in high school, even when I knew that my strength was in writing, I also felt another tug. When it came to looking for a college to attend, I told my dad I wanted to go to a Presbyterian school because “I want to be a minister” (at that time I had no concept of being called by God to such work). My dad’s response was simple:  “Girls don’t do that.”

Life has a way of sending us on new paths we didn’t expect and sometimes we waver off the paths that are intended for us. But eventually that sense that I wanted to be a minister turned into a real sense of being called to that vocation. That’s what I eventually wound up doing — even after my parents had both died and neither one of them ever had the opportunity to hear me preach. But that’s all right. Timing is everything.

I found that my writing skills were integral to being a preacher and I’m thankful for that. Through all those years of preaching, I was able to continually hone my writing and understand my audiences.

In my last sermon in my final church, I told the congregation I didn’t know what I would be doing next, but I was certain it would have something to do with writing. I shared  the working title of my book: “Preaching in My Underwear.”

The book has yet to come to fruition. But I can sit here at my computer in my underwear and write to my heart’s content.

By the way, I’ve been married to Terry C. Anderson for over 35 years, and we share the household with our three feline family members:  Marvis, Joe and Fern. And we give tribute to our late-feline family: Lars, Walt, George, and Gracie.

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16 comments for “About

  1. December 18, 2014 at 12:47 am

    Gretchen, this is a fantastic start! Love it. I always wished I could write… I’ll just live vicariously through you and your blog. Oh, how I can identify with some of the things you are writing about! I also had a neighborhood newspaper one summer because I got some kind of gel copier thingie in a cereal box. It made about 3 legible copies of each 4 x 5 page, which was all I wanted to write any way, but I sure had fun with it.

    Can’t wait for your next entry!

    • December 18, 2014 at 1:15 am

      So great to hear your memories, Chris! I smiled particularly about your cereal box copier. Regardless the initial result, it all fed our creativity for the long haul!

  2. Janice Minardi
    December 18, 2014 at 1:39 am

    Love this! Looking forward to more, Gretchen.

  3. David Deutsch
    December 18, 2014 at 3:02 am

    I’m so happy that you are writing, not only because of your insight and experiences, but because hearing your voice on the page is such a pleasure. I hope your blog gives you as much joy as it will give your readers. What a great beginning to the new year. Congratulations, Gretchen, and love and best wishes.

    • December 18, 2014 at 3:31 am

      Dave, how wonderful to hear from you, especially since you are such an outstanding writer! Thanks for your support. I hope you’ll return every once in awhile to see what’s new! And Happy Hannukah, dear friend!

  4. Renee Hayward Fleeman
    December 18, 2014 at 5:20 am

    Very enjoyable Gretchen. I spent my high school years trying to fit in and its taken along time to find the real me.

    • December 18, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      Boy, isn’t that the truth, Renee? Thanks for identifying one of the things I was feeling too. It’s so calming to find we aren’t putting on airs for anyone anymore. Great! Thanks for the feedback.

  5. Alison Williams Coulson
    December 18, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    These were a joy to read! Looking forward to many more.

  6. Susie Thornton
    December 19, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Gretchen, I felt like I was in the station wagon with you and your family just now! This is gonna be fun, Girlfriend! Hey, Chris and Gretchen, I too had a neighborhood newspaper… One issue, one copy. Lol. I had received a coveted child-sized pink typewriter for Christmas that year– the only thing I asked for—and an older ( 8th grade to my 3rd grade) neighbor gal and I were co-editors. She was the brains and I supplied the hardware to publish the paper, I think. Haha. Ahhhh, memories!

  7. Randi
    December 20, 2014 at 1:16 am

    You have a cat named Marvis! That’s great! And I enjoyed reading all of this and hope to see more in the future.

    • December 20, 2014 at 1:29 am

      We do, Randi, and he is aptly named. We know Marvis wasn’t fond of cats, but we are really honoring him this way. Marvis is the cat that I picked out of a huge litter because he was different than the others.

      Thanks for checking in. I’ll be posting at least once a week and whenever the Spirit moves me.

  8. Julie Overman
    December 24, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Love love love! And great pic. definitely write the book Preaching In my Underwear. Chapter 1: A Going Concern. I really enjoy reading your writing!

  9. David Deutsch
    December 25, 2014 at 5:07 am

    Merry Christmas, Gretchen. Wishing you and Terry a wonderful holiday. Your Chicgo photo and experiences made me nostalgic, as my parents lived downtown on the lake. Your affection for the city and its people resonates. But who wouldn’t love you at least as much as a Hershey’s kiss?

    • December 25, 2014 at 2:16 pm

      Dave, you brought a tear to my eye on this Christmas morning! What wonderful memories we have together (I still remember you squeezing the Charmin). But I didn’t remember that your folks lived in Chicago. That must have been fun for them. Hope you had a wonderful Hanukkah, dear friend. Looking forward to seeing you again one day.

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