Gravel Gertie and other lies

The other night while cooking dinner, (the chores!) the TV was tuned to the USA channel and Chrisley Knows Best was on; from out of nowhere I heard Todd say to one of his kids:
“C’mon Gravel Gertie.”
I stopped what I was doing and said to the dogs who were watching my every move:

WHAT the Franklin D. Roosevelt did he SAY?

This was a phrase my Grandma used to say to me often as a kid and I remember asking her What is a Gravel Gertie?
She explained to me that Gertie was a lady she used to see when she was a kid; Gravel Gertie was homeless and was always a mess, having spent her life in the gravel on the side of the road.
I assumed the ladies’ name was Gertie and that there was only ONE Gravel Gertie. 
Was I related to the Chrisleys? Do they know my Grandma too?

After researching, it turns out, she was a character in a Dick Tracey story.
Todd Chrisley blew my childhood memories away because I thought {for 52 years} that Gertie was someone my G’ma knew personally.

{I know the Chrisley show is dumb  & contrived, but that’s what’s need when slaving in the kitchen}

Now, I’m wondering what other lies my Grandma told me that I’ve been believing for all my days.
I mean, she proudly fed me cigarettes for breakfast. 
Will my face stay like that? 
Will I blow bubbles out of my butt from swallowing gum? 
Is that mole on the back of my neck really my sweet spot? 

Surely, she wasn’t lying when she told me I was her favorite, I mean, that’s pretty easy to believe.

Me and my lying Grandma at her 90th birthday party. 

Well, shucks. I do miss her terribly; she was always so happy to see me. And she was my favorite. She lived until the ripe old age of 96 being healthy until the last few months of her life. Her birthday is this week; March 4th and she would be 107; which would really piss her off. She used to tell me that people should NOT live ‘this long’ and it’s terrible when everyone you know is dead.
Also, she had no filter.

Has anyone else heard of Gravel Gertie? 

30 thoughts on “Gravel Gertie and other lies

  1. Oh yes, I've heard of \”Gravel Gertie\” although I would not have been able to make the Dick Tracy connection. My Mom's name was Gertrude and she HATED any form of the word \”Gertie\” so of course that name sticks with me. \”Dirty Gertie\” was another loathed name. Mom always went by \”Trudy\” for obvious reasons.


  2. I had not heard of Gravel Gertie. So funny that someone on TV used a phrase you thought your gran coined. I read the cigarettes for breakfast story – was worried she dropped a cig in your eggs and you ate it. That picture of you and the girls sitting on grandma's recliner. So familiar – we have many similar photos of my little guys flanking my grandmas in their recliners back in the day. One of my grandmas lived to be 97 or 98. For 20 years she told us that people should not live that long. She once toured me around her house to see the items she would leave to me: (always breathless for no medical reason) \”Honey, see this footstool? Well, I have a sign taped under it that has your name on it. I want you to have this when I go to my reward.\” I was in college and she lived about another 13 years. It took me a minute to get the 'go to my reward' remark. She could not wait.


  3. I have very vague snippets of memory of my father reading the comics to me and I recall the name of Gravel Gertie. But that's all. Just little snippets. Your \”lying\” grandma looks pretty darned good for 90.


  4. I remember hearing the term but never knew how it came about. Funny, I can never get to any of the links you post and, I gotta say, that link up there really intrigued me.


  5. I have heard of Gravel Gertie but had no idea where it came from. Now that you say Dick Tracey, I can believe it. As a child in the days of Sunday newspaper comics I read Dick Tracey (and Lil' Abner). Boy, you've got me thinking now.


  6. Gigi-if you right click on anything on my blog, it will ignore you. You have to just click on the link regularly and let it open another page. I shut down the right click part years ago when I realized someone was stealing/copying pics from my blog.


  7. I left a comment from my phone because my laptop was broken and it never took, sad face. Your grandma sounded like an amazing woman. I had written in my original comment how I can love a broad who gives cigarettes to a kid because I hadn't read the cigarette post. I now love her even more after reading it. I have said it before but I am so glad I found your blog. I look forward to your posts more than most. 🙂


  8. You really did a number on your laptop didn't you? Yikes!! She was the best…such a funny person (without trying) and also loved me extra because she knew I needed it since her son wasn't the best dad. YOU MADE MY DAY!! XOXO


  9. Can't say that I have ever heard that expression. My grandma had no filter either. If she didn't like you, she had no problem telling you to your face. Even if it was one of us grandkids, lol!


  10. Ohhh, I miss mine too. So many good stories and emotions. Thank you for sharing this. Grandmas rock. I got my cooking and baking outlook from mine and the sewing from both of mine. You write a great post. Cheers and boogie boogie.


  11. Ok, I've never heard of Gravel Gertie, but you did remind me of a story about my niece. She was maybe 3, and went next door one day with my sister, to the neighbor's house. The neighbor had a friend over, whom she introduced to my sister. \”This is my friend, Louise.\” When my niece heard that, she got very excited, and started saying, \”Louise!? I know you!!\” The grown-ups all looked at her, very confused, and my sister asked her what she was talking about. My niece said, \”Yeah, mom, you talk about her all the time. Jeez Louise!\”


  12. Ami

    I stumbled on this post while researching an image of Gertie from the Dick Tracy comic strips. My grandma also used to call us this when we were looking particularly “rough” (read: messy hair, wrinkly clothes). At some point in my life, I looked it up and found out the origin of it. My grandma has been gone for years, but when I got my first Jeep three years ago, I named “her” Gravel Gertie. I just traded Gertie in, and am redoing her name tag as I’m now driving “Gravel Gertie II”. Thanks for the chuckle and fond memory!

    Liked by 1 person

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