My Memory of Rose Nolen
I first met Rose when I started writing my column for the Sedalia Democrat, at the same time she was writing hers in the 90s.Both of our columns were classified as nostalgia , but Rose’s Column reached a bigger audience probably because she was a good researcher, and taught her readers some history about Missouri, Pettis County, and Sedalia along with the nostalgia. When I met Rose, and mentioned that fact to my wife, I was surprised to learn that she like many other people in Sedalia was already a fan of hers, having read her column for quite a while.
Rose was just a few years older than me, and therefore had some of the same memories of Sedalia, but from a different vantage point. I too remember the injustices of the times while we were growing up, but more as a spectator, while she was a participant. It is sad to say but I did not see the injustices in a clear light until I joined the navy, and served side by side with my black shipmates who were from communities just like Sedalia that required them to live on the “Other” side of the tracks.
I am proud to say I knew Rose, who shined a spotlight on those and other problems of racism during our childhood, but was not bitter. She was a “Writer” whose words will outlast those of lesser authors who write for profit or fame, because she wrote from the heart. And she wrote true life experiences some of us were completely unaware of even though we lived close by until later in life. Some only learned about them in her column.
Rest in Peace Rose, and thanks for sharing your life with us. Jack Miller