Great-great-grandmother recalls adventures
Editor's note: Because Mrs. Goss was temporarily living in another town, her son, Jim Goss, tape recorded an interview with his mother for The Mirror.
By Lisa Scheller
It's been a while since Etta Goss has driven a truck.
The 90-year-old Piper great-great-grandmother recently satisfied at least part of this urge. In May, a trucker let her climb into the cab of his semitrailer and get a view of the road from up high. In fact, he even let her honk the horn.
Decades ago, when Goss was only 14 years old, driving a truck wasn't so much of a treat for her as it was a chore.
She quit school after the eighth grade when her father became ill. Her job, or jobs rather, were to help run the family shop during the day and deliver goods at night.
"If somebody needed stock hauled -- a load of cattle or hogs or whatever -- to St. Joseph or to the stockyards, I would do that at night," Goss said.
Trucking wasn't her dream.
"I just wanted to play basketball," Goss said. "I really enjoyed playing basketball and I would rather have been on the basketball court playing than driving a truck or working."
Raised in Conception Junction, Mo., a young Goss was to meet her future husband, Owen Goss, at a tent show.
He sat behind her and pestered her throughout the show. Afterward, they met up.
"I liked him real well," Goss said. "He acted better than the boy I went with."
Apparently, his first impression of her was favorable, too.
"It must have been pretty good because we went together several years before we were married and then lived together until he passed away," Goss said.
They married in 1931.
Throughout her lifetime, Goss, who recently admitted to her son that she still shoots baskets when her ankles are up to it, has remained active.
So active in fact, said her son, Jim Goss, who lives in rural Linwood, that she and her husband purchased Harley Davidson motorcycles in 1948.
In 1951 they purchased a new and larger Harley and in 1952 they set out in a downpour to participate in the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S.D.
On the way to South Dakota, the couple even rode their cycle up Pike's Peak.
"It was something that I'll never forget," Goss said. "It was wonderful, there was a big crowd all the time, real active, and most of them were riding Harleys."
Friends weren't too surprised when the couple set out on their cycles.
"I think everybody knew we'd have a nice time," Goss said.
Since then, there have been four generations of Harley riders in the family.
Goss, who raised two children, Jim Goss, Arloha Pinto, Kansas City, Kan., and has three grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren, is willing to share this advice with today's youth.
"Just be a good person and do what's right and get a good education," Goss said.
Had her life been different, Goss would have liked to complete her own education, rather than stopping after the eighth grade, she said.
As it is now, with her 90th birthday just a few months past, Goss said her goal is to stay healthy.
"So I can be of some help to my family and other people," she added.
This is something she's been doing for years anyway, said Goss' daughter, Arloha Pinto, who lives in Kansas City, Kan.
"They were the greatest parents anybody could have and I do mean that sincerely," said Pinto. "I was raised in a poor family, there was not a lot of money, but everything was just perfect."
Her parents managed to turn her dreams into reality.
"I entered everything," Pinto said.
She explained that as a child she sang and tap-danced at area celebrations, and for each performance her mother made her a new costume.
Whether she wanted to play a trumpet or twirl a baton or improve her singing, her parents made sure she had the equipment and training.
Goss said she realizes she's been fortunate to have had so many healthy years.
"I feel real lucky to think I've lived this long -- to see my kids, my grandkids, my great-grandkids and great-great-grandchildren, all of them pretty well grown up -- to see them in school getting a good education," Goss said. She chuckled before adding: "But I don't think I'd want to live another 90 years."