Silence of a Soldier
Before The War
In 1930, the Great depression was in full swing. The Worfolk family had moved from Detroit to Algonac
Michigan. Many homes were lost during the depression. Gertrude Worfolk was ten years old. Although
Gertrude’s father had a good job with Hudson Motors, he could not sustain the mortgage payments. It was not
uncommon in these hard times for families to move back in with the grandparents. Gertrude’s grandmother had
a spacious home in Algonac. Smith Merrill lived across the street from Gertrude. The advent of Gertrude would
prove to be one of the most significant events in Smith Merrill’s life.
Algonac, Michigan is a small town situated on the St. Clare River, across from Harsen’s Island. Both sides of
the Smith Merrills’ family made a living on the water. Smith’s (Bub’s)grandfather, Christopher Smith, had his
ChrisCraft plant in Algonac Bub’s father, Leigh Merrill, was in the marina construction business.
At first, Gertrude and Bub were just neighbors. But, gradually, they became friends. The age difference
between Bub and Gertrude was three years. In a town the size of Algonac, teenagers will pal around together
regardless of the age differences. Bub and Gertrude became friends in just such a group.
Bub graduated from Algonac Highschool in 1934. Gertrude was finishing her freshman year. Gertrude was
not a person to accept the ordinary. She did not like the nicknames, Gert or Trudy. With some imagination, she
called herself Treg which is Gert spelled backwards. She informed the family of this when she was six years
old. She was known as Treg from that time on. As the years drifted by slowly as they do when you are young,