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Book talk Feb. 2, video sneak preview January 31, 2019

Posted by diannaobrien in Charles W. Gehrke General, Events.
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This interview on Paul Pepper & Friends gives you a sneak preview of the book “From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks.” You can get the whole story at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 at the OSHER Saturday Morning Book Talks at 1907 Hillcrest Drive.

The book is a rags-to-riches story about Charles W. Gehrke, who analyzed the moon rocks from the Apollo missions and founded ABC Labs, now Eurofins, with Jim Ussary and Robert Stalling.

Saturday’s talk is a series organized by Kit Salter and Cathy Salter and my appearance is sponsored by Yolanda Ciolli Compass Flower Press. Best of all the event kicks off with coffee and cake at 9:30 a.m.

This video was broadcast Jan. 31, 2018, but it stands the test of time offering a good sneak preview of the book. You can buy the book on Saturday or any time from Yellow Dog Bookshop or on this website below.

Here’s how to buy the book:


  • Barnes & Noble,
  • amazon.com or
  • This website by mail for $20 plus tax and shipping.Buy Now Button

Feb. 2 Book Talk about behind the scenes January 23, 2019

Posted by diannaobrien in Charles W. Gehrke General, Events.
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As the author of “From the Melon Fields to Moon Rocks,” I’m happy to present two firsts:

  • I’ll be speaking for the first time at the OSHER Saturday Morning Book Talks on Feb. 2, 2019. These monthly events kick off with coffee and cake at 9:30 a.m. followed by an author talk at 10 a.m.  The event will be in 1907 Hillcrest Drive and my appearance is sponsored by Yolanda Ciolli Compass Flower Press. Sales will be handled by Yellow Dog Bookshop, which always has copies of the book on its shelves.
  • Second, below is this website’s first guest written post by Kit Salter, who with his wife Cathy Salter, organizes the OSHER Book Talks.
Here’s what Kit Salter had to say about my upcoming talk (forgive my abridging, Kit).
Dear Osher Saturday Morning Book Talkers:
This is a perfect time to do the first ‘tease’ for our next Osher Saturday Morning Book Talk.  I am up in my ‘studio’ atop a fine structure 165 feet from our house. Cathy has her writing studio and library on the first floor of this converted garage…but upstairs I can now feel the earth move as major blocks of wet snow cascade down toward the welcoming earth below.  I am here because I spent some good hardscrabble (?) time to clear a 165’ path from our house to the garage structure…you all know what that means these several days.  I used a fine-tined pitchfork to slowly scoop and toss, scoop and toss, scoop and toss the wet snow to the side…slowly revealing a mulch path and leaf litter below the beautiful white layer of winter visiting us en route the east coast.
The reason this little bit of physical labor and the profound presence of the demanding of nature seem just perfect is that author Dianna Borsi O’Brien is going to present her work on the biography of Dr. Charles W. Gehrke on the first Saturday morning of February.  Gehrke is a man who came to MU as an Associate Professor in the College of Agriculture in 1949. He had worked two and three jobs from elementary school on in an effort to gain an education to be free of the very marginal living he and his older brother, Hank, and their mother Virginia and three younger children had been struggling with for decades. The book is called From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks: The adventurous life of biochemist and entrepreneur Charles W. Gehrke.(2017)
As Dianna will tell us all, Charles translated all the physical energy that had used to provide a very modest cash flow into the family coffers—augmented more completely by his older brother Hank’s decision to stay in blue collar labor so that Charles could go to Ohio State and work through a Ph.D in elements of farm ecology and biochemistry.   Charles took those skills and turned them into a productive career—and the early founding of what we have come to know as the ABC Labs on Hwy 63 south of Columbia.
This is a great transplant story from rural Ohio to academic Missouri and a long and productive career of the lead scientist charged with the analysis of the first ‘moon rocks’ to come back to Earth. Dianna worked on this book for several years, a good part of it in steady dialogue with Dr. Gehrke.  It is a story that literally takes us from Ohio melon fields to MU moon rocks…and its telling will include the usual supporting cast of homemade scones (welcome again, Sharmini) free hot coffee, and the return (we hope) of Debbie…all of which will make your first Saturday in February remind us how lucky we are to lead the lives we live and be resident in the place we know as mid-Missouri.
Looking forward to seeing you all on Saturday, February 2—coffee by 9:15; scones by about 9:30, words at 10:00…and easy conversation from beginning to end!
A Happy New Year to all!    Kit    657-1577