Bob & Gus

We moved to a home in Moline, Illinois, when I was a very young girl.

Our Moline house.  Picture taken in 2007.

Christmas 1962 in our Moline house.  My brother was child #5.  At this point he had four older sisters and one younger sister.  He looks terrified, doesn’t he?

I have many good memories from this time in our lives.  My parents became close friends with our next door neighbors, Bob and Gus.

They became godparents to sister #6.

Their names were Bob and Gus.  Not Mr. and Mrs.  They insisted that everyone, including us kids, call them Bob and Gus.  There was no negotiation on this point.

I thought Bob and Gus were some of the most exotic people I had ever met.  They were adults, and we got to call them by their first names.  Their kids were adopted.  They traveled to Europe on vacations.

Gus with her daughter, Anne, in their homemade matching dresses for Easter 1962.

Gus (Augusta was her full name) was a nurse before she met and married Bob.  She did not drive or get her license until much later in life.  She made their clothes.  And she cooked.

She did not cook out of cans and boxes like a lot of women from her generation.  She cooked using local, natural ingredients.  She was famous for her soups.  In fact, she was quite the local celebrity after being featured in the local newspaper for her soup making skills.  And we aren’t talking Campbell’s out of a can soups here either.

You might think that because Gus did not drive and was such a great homemaker that she was a pushover.  You would be wrong.  She is one of the most pragmatic, opionated, and take charge women I have ever met.  She is one of my earliest inspirations not only for her great cooking skills, but also because she is such a strong woman.

Bob was a loud and boisterous man.  He always had a smile on his face, and was a friend to everyone.  I remember lots of laughter when Bob was around.  He passed away in 2001.

In spite of my parent’s subsequent move away from Moline and divorce, the friendship endured throughout the years.

Gus and my mom in 2007.

My sister and I had the opportunity to visit with my mom and Gus when we went to Moline in 2007.  Their friendship has lasted over 50 years.

My husband and I have friends whom we have known for many years, too.  I think that there’s something extra special about old friends.  Friends whom you may not see for awhile, but with whom you can pick back up even after extended periods of time.

Everyone should have friends like Bob and Gus were to my parents and to us kids, too.

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