Before starting careers, some girls can afford to attend a ‘finishing school,” where they learn proper etiquette and good manners which help to prepare them for the new environment they are about to encounter.

Before starting careers, some girls can afford to attend a ‘finishing school,” where they learn proper etiquette and good manners which help to prepare them for the new environment they are about to encounter. They will have gained confidence and will carry this training with them throughout their lives. An etiquette and manners class is being offered next month which gives all girls the opportunity to become a lady. “We will practice walking gracefully, learn how to sit and stand with dignity, how to be correctly escorted, a proper hand shake, learn the sign to begin eating and how to appropriately pull a chair up to the table,” said Linda Meiergerd, who will teach the class. “Also, we will clap as ladies and take part in a standing-ovation, plus a quick little test to see if we are selfish.” The class will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 8, at Highview Baptist Church, 713 Milwaukee Avenue, in Chillicothe. There is no charge for admission; however, reservations are recommended. The class will also touch on the history of etiquette and manners and why it was nearly lost with the dramatic changes in the culture when the motto became, “If it feels good, do it!,” Meiergerd said. “It is interesting how, after decades, it is today’s girls who want to be sophisticated and feminine. They want to learn the techniques of becoming a lady,” she said. “We’ll laugh at ourselves and have fun while learning to become ladies.” A few years ago, Meiergerd was asked to serve on a panel of judges for selecting the 4-H queen who would to on to the Iowa State Fair. That evening, as the judges shared dinner with the girls, the reigning county queen told how embarrassed she was for not being prepared for what was expected. While at the fair, she learned that many of the girls had attended etiquette classes. Along with what she had been taught as a child, Meiergerd began years of gathering material and reading books pertaining to proper etiquette and manners. She has since taught etiquette courses to 4-H groups, cosmetologist organizations, high school teachers, church groups, individual families, candidates for state fair queen, and others. Children raised in the Midwest have been blessed with a safe environment, the best education, and family and friends who help in keeping them grounded; however, only a few ill choose to stay here locally,” Meiergerd said. “As others leave us for the universities and big cities, they will have many unknowns coming against them. Strong support and confidence will help sustain them.” Meiergerd grew up on a small farm near Ottawa, Kan., with six brothers and sisters. While her brothers served in the military, she farmed with her father who was well aware of the hot summer sun. Each spring, she received a new pair of leather gloves, work shoes and a straw hat, plus, for more protection, a John Deere umbrella on their little Ford tractor. She members her mother doing the chores along with milking, while remaining a dignified lady. Their clothes were homemade and always starched and ironed. “We were taught the importance of kindness and ever the reminder to smile with ‘please’, ‘thank you’, and ‘excuse me’, a must,” she said. Retiring form their business in Iowa in 2012, Meiergerd and her husband Clarence (raised on a farm in Nebraska with 12 brothers and sisters), moved to Chillicothe. They have five adult children and are members of Highview Baptist Church. “A parent gives many years of their life in protecting and shaping their precious young daughters,” Meiergerd said. “It would be my blessing if allowed a few small finishing touches to their beautiful masterpieces.” For more information about the etiquette and manners class or to make reservations, contact Linda Meiergerd at 641-394-2365. Attendees are asked to bring a hard-cover book.