Mee Maw and Pee Paw Together

Erie Patureau Landry and Rob Landry circa 1954. I’m pretty sure the photo was taken at their home in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

I like this photo.   It’s one of those photos that is calming to me.  There’s something relaxed about it.  You can tell that it’s not a posed photo – neither of the subjects are looking at the camera.  Maybe they were aware of it and were trying to get ready for a posed photo.  Or maybe they were surprised by the photo.  They would have known right away that the photo was taken.  It’s a flash photo.  I don’t have a posed photo from the same day, so maybe a candid photo was the goal.  I have always liked candid photos.

I particularly like this one because it is a photo of my paternal grandparents.  We called our grandmother Mee Maw, but she was born Germaine Erie Patureau on August 6, 1895, in Crescent, Louisiana.  Pee Paw was born on the other side of the state in Westlake, Louisiana, on January 9, 1893.  He was named Robert Joseph Landry, but most people knew him as Rob, Bob, or Pappy.  They were married in 1921 in Lafayette, Louisiana, and then made their home in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

They had their first child in 1923 and their eighth (and last) in 1936.  My dad was born in 1929, and he was named after his father.  So he was Robert Joseph Landry, Jr.  He went by Bobbie, Bob, and Pluto.  His parents became grandparents in 1947 with the birth of The First.  Plenty more followed.  By the time that my sister Jodie was born in October of 1953, there were already seven other grandchildren. 

I’m thinking this photo was taken from around that time.  My grandparents look about the same age as they did when my parents brought Jodie home to Lake Charles for the first time to meet the family.  That was around the beginning of 1954.  By that time, grandchild number nine had already arrived.  And those grandchildren probably recognize a lot more from this photo than I do.  I wasn’t born until after Pee Paw’s death in 1957.  I also don’t remember this house, which I assume was their home in 1954.

If Mee Maw had lived in this house when I was a kid, I think I would have remembered that door with the two arched panels of glass.  It looks like it is an exterior door, and even the wall in the room back there looks like an exterior wall.  But it has furniture in it!  It looks like an old porch that was closed in at a later date.  We have that in the house that we are living in now.  The furniture doesn’t look familiar either – neither the rocking chair nor the chair or sofa.  I’m not familiar with the cake plate that Mee Maw is holding, but it is evident that Pee Paw was.  He’s looking a little expectantly at that covered dish.  He was probably looking forward to a tasty dessert!

But I do remember my dear sweet Mee Maw.  She was such a gently, kind woman.  I missed out on knowing Pee Paw personally, but I did get to be around my grandmother for the first thirteen years of my life.  I have good memories of her from family get togethers through the years.  She would also come to visit with us and teach us card games and watch TV with us.  She told me a funny little lie once and she cured a sick spell I had at her sister’s funeral.  I know I shouldn’t say this, but I think I might have been her favorite!

That’s not really true.  It’s a running joke among the cousins.  I never thought I was her favorite.  I always felt loved by her.  If she had favorites, so be it.  That would not prevent her from having enough love to spread around.  As Lottie from the movie Enchanted April would say, “She had a tub of love.”


Betty Lou Graduated in 1951

My mom’s birthday is coming up soon, so I’ve been thinking about her a bit more than usual.  It’s also that time of year when high school graduations occur.  In fact, tomorrow will be the 45th anniversary of my high school graduation.  Wow!  That’s a big number!  And I was calling myself an old fart when I wrote about my 40th year anniversary.  The years just keep flying by.  

Betty Lou Bucklin graduated from Hathaway High School in 1951. Go Hornets!

When I thought about what I’d write tonight, I decided it would be about my mom.  I don’t have any birthday photos of her when she was younger, but I do have her high school graduation photo.  So that’s what I decided to post today.  My mom was Betty Lou Bucklin and she was born in Hathaway, Louisiana, in 1933 to Fred and Myrtle Phenice Bucklin.  She was the second of five children.  When growing up in Hathaway, she had several cousins living nearby from both sides of her family.  

It was a small community, so when they went to school, it was the same school for twelve years.  Hathaway High School was a large brick building back then and the school mascot was the Hornet.  It wasn’t always like that.  My grandmother Myrtle Phenice Bucklin lived in Hathaway and went to several schools.  Her first two years of high school were at Hathaway School.  Then she spent a year going to Kinder and her final year at Jennings High School finished in 1925.  That must have been before they built Hathaway High School.

Hathaway High School graduating class of 1951.

And my mom did go to school for twelve years.  It changed a year or so before she graduated.  Previous years only went for eleven grades.  I’ve seen photos of previous grades and the class started out with more students.  I guess that’s the way it always is.  By the time her class made it to graduation, there were only fifteen of them left.  Like I said, it was a small community.  My mom was not the valedictorian, but she was the salutatorian.  The only reason I know that is because Grandma would tell people from time to time that Betty Lou had been the valedictorian.  And Mama would be quick to correct her by saying that she had been the salutatorian.  She didn’t want people believing something incorrect about her. 

So my mom graduated from high school 73 years ago.  And she shows up right in the middle of their high school graduation photo.  That’s because she was the most important, even if she wasn’t the valedictorian!  Of course, that’s my humble opinion.  Let me tell you who everyone is.  On the top row from left to right are James LeJeune, Lela Mae Jester, Edmond Gary, T. J. Tramel, and Lenus LeBlanc.  The middle row includes Clement Miller, LaVelle Krumnow, Betty Lou Bucklin, Lee James Clement, and Claribel Brown.  The front row consists of Doris Gotreaux, Arvis Gary, Carol Bryan, Dot Gary, and Julia Gary.

My would have been turning 91 this coming Monday.  Her classmates were of the same general age.  I think a few of them are still around.  I really don’t know.  I’ll be thinking of my mom on Monday…and most every day.

Landry + Bouquet = 100

Bibb and Manette Bouquet with their children at their 50th wedding anniversary celebration in 1974.  Standing in the back from left to right Beth, Plukey, Pinkie, Ida Mae, George, Tessie, twins Roberta and Robert, and Mervyn.

It’s a good thing that I’ve thought about and planned on what I’m writing tonight, because I haven’t done much to prepare.  Plus I got distracted tonight with the four little kittens that we got this week, and I ended up cleaning our front brick steps with a pressure washer.  It has to look good for the garden tour on Saturday!!  And now it’s 9:00 pm and I’m just getting started.  I can’t pay attention to anything else at the present, so hold your calls!  

This is slightly different than usual, because instead of talking about my ancestors, I’m talking about relatives.  But these relatives on my dad’s side of the family are special.  In many ways.  I’ve mentioned them a few times on previous blogs.  Mainly because they are part of the big entanglement in my dad’s family tree.

The central person to this post is Marie Manette Landry.  She was my dad’s (Robert Joseph Landry, Jr.) first cousin and she was a bit older than he was.  She was born in 1904, while my dad was born in 1929.  That was mainly because her father Sebastien Landry was almost 20 years older than my grandfather Robert Joseph Landry, Sr.  They were known as Seb (rhymes with dweeb) and Rob.  Uncle Seb married his first cousin Marie Manette Landry (yes, the same name as her daughter.)  When Manette-1904 was born, Manette-1876 died just 9 days later.  I’m pretty sure it was from complications from childbirth.

Manette and Bibb circa 1924

Uncle Seb never did remarry.  He lived with his parents for a while, so Manette was like a little sister to Rob.  When Rob was older, he married a cousin as well.  Manette-1876 had an older sister named Marie Therese.  Marie Therese married Ferdinand Patureau and they had many children, including Germaine Erie.  Rob and Erie got married in 1921.    They had the first of their eight children in 1923.  On May 9, 1924, (100 years ago today) Manette-1904 married Adnes “Bibb” Bouquet.  They had the first of their nine children in 1925.  So even though Manette was his first cousin, it was her children who were more like first cousins to my dad and his siblings.  The families have always been close.

I remember cousin Manette from when I was a young teenager.  I’m sure I saw her on several occasions through the years, but I distinctly remember going to their 50-year wedding anniversary in 1974.  It must have been in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  I remember eating snacks from the different tables and coming across an old photo of the couple when they were newly married.  It was so fascinating to me to see the photos of those young people and see how they had turned into these old relatives of my dad!  I seem to remember her having her hair in a bun and I wondered how long her hair was.  If she had let it grow all those years, it was probably REALLY long!  LOL  

I also remember when they took the photo from 1974.  I didn’t think anything of the wild patterns of their clothes.  That was the norm at the time.  I remember they looked like a big happy family, similar to my own family.  When I correspond with these family members now, sometimes they’ll ask exactly how we’re related.  Well, since Manette’s father and Rob’s father were brothers, they were first cousins.  Since Manette’s mother was the aunt to Rob’s mother, they were first cousins once removed.  There are more relationships that make it even more confusing.  It was always talked about like it was no big deal.  Most people nowadays don’t see it that way.

I remember hearing someone at a family gathering say, “Oh, yeah.  I remember when Uncle Rob married cousin Erie.”  I’m thinking that it was Manette that must have been the one speaking.  She definitely wasn’t insinuating anything bad about it, her own parents were first cousins.  She was a sweet lady and I’m glad to honor her on the 100th anniversary of her wedding.

Susan G. Stanbrough Was Known as Sue

Susan G. Stanbrough in Jennings, Louisiana, circa 1900.

I’m talking about my great great grandmother Susan G. Stanbrough.  In this photo she looks like a rather serious woman.  I have a few other photos of her, and she looks equally serious in those as well.  Of course, when you look at old photos from that time period, that was usually the case.  But in her correspondence with family that I have found, she would sign off with a casual Sue.  So most of the times I refer to her as Grandma Sue.  In this post I’ll just call her Sue.

Sue was the mother of Addie May Hine, my great grandmother.  Sue had five sons as well.  Addie had more sons and more daughters, with a total of twelve children.  I descend from her son Fred D. Bucklin.  Fred, like Sue, had a middle initial in his name that didn’t stand for anything.  Fred was the father of Betty Lou Bucklin, my dear sweet mother.

Sue started her life in Westfield, Indiana, on October the 3rd of 1851.  Her parents were John Stanbrough and Lydia Jane Mills.  Sue was the seventh of thirteen Stanbrough children, though some of those siblings shortened their last names to Stanbro or Stambro.   Sue spent her childhood in Hamilton County, Indiana.  Her mother died early in 1873, and later that year Sue married George Henry Hine.  They were 4th cousins through their common ancestors William Vestal and Elizabeth Mercer.  Sue and George might not have been aware of that, because their common ancestors died almost a hundred years before the younger couple were born.

Sue and George had all six of their children in Indiana – some in Hamilton County and others in Boone County.  There was family in both counties.  They then decided to move south to Louisiana.  I’m not sure what the motivation was, but it was a time when the railroads came through southern Louisiana and made it more accessible.  There were different people who promoted the area as a great place for farming with mild winters. 

1900 U. S. Census of Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana.

The family moved to Jefferson Davis Parish in Louisiana in 1894.  They acquired a homestead in China, Louisiana.  In the 1900 Census, the family included George, Susan, John U. (must be Bert James by year of birth), Romanzo (“Rowe”), James, and Oliver.  But also included in the household is James Stanbrough.  That would be Sue’s brother Jim who was a year older than her.  He had moved down to Louisiana and was living with them.  Addie was not in the household, because she had gotten married and had started a family of her own.  I don’t know where 18-year-old Lonnie Hine was at the time.  Perhaps in the military?  He didn’t get married until 1903.

If I’m correct about the date of this photo, it was taken around the same time as the Census.  The family had been in the South for about six years and Sue had recently become a grandmother.  They probably took the photo in Jennings, Louisiana, because that was the nearest town that was likely to have a photo studio.  This is actually cropped from a photo of the whole family.  It’s a great family photo, but I just wanted to focus on Sue today.  

If you look at this photo long enough, you’ll start to catch a glimpse of a smile on her lips.  Go ahead.  Try it!

Grampa Max in Beaumont

Vincent Maximilian Patureau and Gertrude Brammer Patureau in Beaumont, Texas, circa 1925.

This is the second photo of Grampa Max that I’ve shared from this particular visit to Beaumont.  I shared that photo in a blog post from over eight years ago.  Eight years!  It’s hard to believe that I’ve been writing these weekly posts for that long.  Do you remember that first photo that I shared from that visit?  The name of the blog post was “Patureau Brothers” and it was a photo of Grampa Max with his older brother Leobon.  The woman that you see was also in that first photo.  When I first shared that photo, I thought it might have been taken in Lafayette.  I’m pretty sure now that the photo was taken in Beaumont, Texas.

My great grandfather’s given name was Vincent Maximilian Patureau, but everyone knew him as Max.  He was born in 1865 in Matamoras, Mexico.  His parents were Ferdinand Pierre Patureau and Marie Emma Landry.  Ferdinand was born in France and he came to Louisiana with his parents and siblings in 1840.  Emma was a Cajun from Brusly, Louisiana.  The Landry family had settled in Louisiana in 1767 after being Exiled from Acadie in 1755. 

Max grew up in Plaquemine, Louisiana, and when he was of marrying age, he got married to a Landry of his own.  His wife – my great grandmother – was Marie Therese Landry.  Her father Trasimond Landry was the first cousin of Max’s mom Emma.  Max and Marie Therese had fifteen children together, including my grandmother Germaine Erie Patureau.  She, too, married another Landry.  My grandfather was Robert Joseph Landry.  He was the son of Alcide Landry, the brother of Trasimond.  Erie and Rob had eight children, and one of them was my dad who was known as Bob Landry.  As I often like to say, he married outside of the family.  There’s not a single Cajun to be found in Betty Lou Bucklin’s family tree!

Like I said before, this is a photo of my Grampa Max.  He’s actually my great grandfather and he died long before I was born.  The woman in the photo is Gertrude Brammer Patureau.   She was married to Max’s nephew Arthur Mitchell Patureau.  Arthur was the son of Max’s brother Louis Leobon Patureau and he lived in Beaumont.  When I posted the first photo all those years ago, I didn’t realize the strong connection that the Patureau family had with Beaumont.  Arthur and Gertrude were both from Plaquemine, but they were living in Beaumont by the time of the birth of their first child Albert Leobon in 1912.  They lived there for the rest of their lives.

The Patureau Bed headboard has a mattress roller along the top. It can be removed. In olden times it was used to smooth out the mattresses. The bed was made around 1800 in France. That’s our little girl cat Bella on the pillows.

But they weren’t the only members of the Patureau family living there.  Max and Louis’s youngest sister Marie Victorine “Aunt Bebe” Patureau Cropper moved to Beaumont with her family in 1903 and stayed.  Aunt Bebe was the Patureau family historian of that generation.  She started an amazing collection of photos, letters, and other memorabilia relating to the family.  That collection is now in the Tyrrell Historical Library in Beaumont.  She also had the amazing bed that the Patureau family brought to the US from France.  I now have that bed.  I like to do my French lessons while I lie in that bed.  This often leads to me having a “Pat” nap. 

But back then it was in Beaumont.  I know that Grampa Max visited Beaumont from time to time.  It’s likely that he would have stayed at his sister’s house.  They probably shared meals there as well.  And in my family, there is a tradition after big family meals.  And that tradition is taking naps.  I’m sure Grampa Max knew the history of that old Patureau bed and would have wanted to use that for his own “Pat” naps.  Right?  And I’m sure that Aunt Bebe would have been willing to let that happen.  She got to keep the bed in her house after all.

It’s what I would do.  That’s right!  Any of you Patureau relatives out there that want to come visit are welcome.  Maybe we could share a meal.  And then maybe, just maybe, you too can have a “Pat” nap!

Samuel Charles Phenice Lost a Son

My great great grandfather Samuel Charles Phenice circa 1910. Probably in Nebraska.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about tonight.  I was busy at work this week, so I didn’t really think about it.  There were a few things that happened outside of work that made me consider a topic.  But I wasn’t sure.  Last week I talked about my dad’s side of the family, so this week it was time for a post on my mom’s side of the family.  Specifically, it was time for a Phenice post.

I looked through the folder of Phenice photos a little, but then thought it might be interesting to find something that happened 100 years ago.  I didn’t know what that might be, so I looked at photos in the 1920s.  Nothing stood out, so I looked at my family tree to see what was happening with the Phenice family 100 years ago.  There wasn’t anything specifically in 1924 that I saw, but I did see an event that happened in 1922.  On 2-22-22 (February 22, of 1922) my great great grandfather Samuel Charles Phenice suffered the loss of his first son Chauncey.

This was actually the theme I had thought of writing about this week, because my godmother lost her son this week.  It’s such a tragedy when a parent loses a child.  When my oldest sister died in 1989, it hit my parents really hard.  My goal for the rest of their lives was to take good care of myself so they wouldn’t have to go through that kind of loss again.  I succeeded.  But things happen sometimes outside of our control.

My great uncle Chauncey Phenice – 1868-1922. This photo was taken around 1900, possibly in Nebraska.

In the case of my great great grandfather Samuel, the death of his first child came just after a year of losing his wife of fifty years – Cathrine Jane “Kate” Foster Phenice.  Most of the time when I think about them, I focus on obvious things.  They had a long marriage of fifty years – a family tradition in this line – six generations with 50 years or more.  Of course, I tell about Samuel being in the Civil War out of Pennsylvania.  Yes, he was a Yankee!  He also was a witness to the Lincoln Assassination.  Kate had a tragic end to her life.  Her clothes caught on fire and she died as a result of her injuries.  As a result, Samuel dealt with the loss of his son without her.  Chauncey was their first – he was the one that made them parents.  

It’s kind of surprising that Samuel didn’t outlive more of his children.  When you live to the age of 95 like he did, it seems to happen.  My great great grandmother Belite Bujol outlived five of her seven children, and she only lived to be 80 years old.  There are sad stories in every family.  Yet it is the family who can help in these times.  Nothing you can say can repair the hole left behind when a loved one dies.  But the love and support from family and friends can make it a bit easier to endure.

This one is dedicated to my godmother and her son.

The Leveque Family in WBR

Marie Celeste Leveque Landry in 1905, probably in Lake Charles, Louisiana

You might read the title of this post and ask, “What Leveque family in West Baton Rouge Parish?  There aren’t any Leveque families in WBR!”  And you might be right.  I don’t know of any, and all of the Leveque family that I’m familiar with are not there.  The last Leveque post that I wrote (over a year ago!) talked about the family being in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

The Leveque name is from my dad’s side of the family.  And it comes from both sides of his family.  My dad was Bob Landry, the famous band director of Jennings, Louisiana.  He was born Robert Joseph Landry, Jr. in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  His father, of course, was Robert Joseph Landry, Sr.  My grandfather is known as Pee Paw by us grandkids.  He was born in Westlake, Louisiana, and he died many years ago.  He was the son of Simon Alcide Landry and Marie Celeste Leveque.  Alcide and Celeste were born in West Baton Rouge Parish.  They were the ones that brought our family to southwestern Louisiana.  But they weren’t the only ones that left WBR for Calcasieu Parish.

Joseph Auguste Leveque’s grave marker at the Old Catholic Cemetery in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

To get a better picture of what was going on, we have to go back another generation.  Celeste was the daughter of Joseph Auguste Leveque and Marguerite “Basilite” Landry Leveque.  Joseph Auguste was born in Donaldsonville, but the Leveque family was also connected to New Orleans.  It seems like they spent time in both places.  His first wife was Basalite’s older sister Clarissa Doralise Landry.  The Landry family had been in West Baton Rouge Parish since at least 1820.  After Joseph Auguste Leveque married Clarissa Doralise Landry at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in 1831, they made their home in Brusly (in WBR).  They had at least six children together before Clarissa died in 1840.  

Mrs. J. A. Leveque’s grave marker at the Old Catholic Cemetery in Lake Charles, Louisiana. This Mrs. J. A. Leveque was the second one – Marguerite Basalite Landry Leveque. She was born in 1821 and died in 1902.

Joseph Auguste Leveque then married Marguerite Basalite in 1843.  They had eight children together, which included Marie Celeste who was born in 1847.  Joseph Auguste and Basalite continued to live in WBR with their family until at least 1880.  But not all of the Leveque family stayed in WBR until that date.  Two of J. A.’s sons – Louis and Justinian – made it to Lake Charles by 1867.  A decade later more siblings followed suit.  Lise and Samuel were in Lake Charles by 1880, followed by Aloysia shortly after.  Celeste and Alcide also moved west at that time, but a little further to Westlake.  

Marie Francoise Leveque’s headstone in St. John the Baptist Cemetery in Brusly, Louisiana.

J. A.’s other children who lived to adulthood also left West Baton Rouge.  J. A., Jr. was a doctor in north Louisiana.  The other four – Evalina, Louise, Benjamin, and Mai – moved to New Orleans.  With these four being in New Orleans, and Joseph Auguste being originally associated with that city, I thought we’d be related to all of the Leveques in New Orleans.  But I had a coworker who was a Leveque from New Orleans and I could find no connection to her Leveque line.

Augustin Leveque’s headstone in St. John the Baptist Cemetery in Brusly.

But there are still some Leveque connections to Brusly and West Baton Rouge Parish.  Joseph Auguste wasn’t the only Leveque to move there.  He had an older sister named Marie Francoise Leveque.  I descend from her through my paternal grandmother Germaine Erie Patureau Landry.  Francoise was married to Amedee Bujol and they had eleven children, the first ten being girls.  Some of these families stayed in WBR, but they don’t have the Leveque last name. 

In addition to these two Leveque siblings, they had a first cousin who ended up in Brusly as well.  Her name was Marie Augustin Leveque and she was married to Edmond White.  She was the daughter of our Joseph Auguste Leveque’s twin brother Jean Baptiste Leveque.  I don’t know if they were identical twins or not.   It’s a good thing these headstones have better information than Basalite’s has.  Hers just says “Mrs. J. A. Leveque.”  It has nothing about her name or maiden name.  If these other two women’s headstones were done in the same way, they would say “Mrs. Sylvestre Bujol” and “Mrs. Edmond White.”  I like seeing the Leveque name in stone commemorating their presence in WBR.

Ok, that’s my story for the day.  If you come across the Leveque name anywhere, let me know.  I’ll look into it and see if there’s a connection.  There are connections everywhere.

Addie and Two Grandsons

Addie Hine Bucklin in 1937 with grandsons in Hathaway, Louisiana.

Here’s a pleasant photo of my great grandmother Addie from 87 years ago.  She looks like such a doting, loving grandmother.  I wish I had known her.  She seems like such a warm, likable person.  She was alive when I was born, but she died just a month later.

Her name at birth was Addie May Hine.  She was born on September 23, 1876, in Noblesville, Indiana.  She was the firstborn of George Henry Hine and Susan G. Stanbrough.  She had five younger brothers.  The family moved south to Louisiana in 1894 and settled in Jefferson Davis Parish.  Addie lived the rest of her life in Louisiana, except for a short stint in Prairie Grove, Arkansas, around 1911.  She was married to Louis Charles Bucklin at that point.  She gave birth to their son Robert in Arkansas, but all the rest of the twelve children were born in Louisiana.  That would include my grandfather Fred Bucklin.  He would later become the father of my mom, Betty Lou Bucklin Landry.

I wish that I had a photo of my mom with Addie like this one.  I’ve never seen one, so I doubt there is one.  I would be happy to be proven wrong.  But we do have this one, and the back of the photo says that the photo was made in September of 1937.  I’m assuming that the photo was taken shortly before then.  If that is correct, I would think this photo is of Addie and her Bruchhaus grandsons.  Her youngest daughter was Ruth, who married William Charles “Budda” Bruchhaus.  They had two sons – Harley in 1933 and Laurence in 1936.  So that would be Harley standing to the right of Addie, and Laurence would be sitting in her lap. 

My mom was just a few months older than Harley.  Why aren’t there any photos of her or her sisters and brother with Grandma Addie?  To make matters worse, the cat made it into the photo.  And it’s not the only photo of this cat with Addie!  I’ve posted a different photo before that is just the two of them.  Why couldn’t there be any of mom and Addie together?  It’s probably the same reason that there were far more photos of my oldest sister Jodie when she was a child than there were of me and my younger sister Jamie.  Ain’t nobody got time for that!  Who’s going to be able to keep track of every event in a child’s life when there are six of them running around.  For Addie, there were 12 children and even more grandchildren.  It’s just a result of being in a big family.  My mom only had positive things to say about Addie.

Another thing this photo makes me think about is Addie’s hair.  It looks like she had it very long, but always seemed to keep it in a bun.  But not only that, her hair is very dark in this photo and she was 61 years old.  I remember my mom talking about that when I was a kid.  She hoped that her hair would get darker as she aged, just like her grandmother.  Addie lived to the age of 84.  In the photo taken on her last birthday, her hair was still pretty dark.  My mom did have a good bit of gray hair, but she had enough brown left to keep her hair from looking white as some people’s did.  Of course, by the time she was in her eighties she wasn’t too concerned about the color of her hair.

There are a few other things that things that this photo makes me think about.   Like – with all those Bucklin sons, that Bucklin surname didn’t multiply very well.  It seems like there are more Bruchhaus and Landry descendants than Bucklins.  Maybe it’ll make you think of something else.  If it does, let me know about it.  I like talking about old photos.  Have you noticed?

My First Easter

The Landry boys – Al, Rob, and little Van – on Easter 1961 in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

I thought I’d share a few photos from my first Easter tonight.  I don’t remember anything from that far back, but I do have some photos.  Easter fell on April the 2nd in 1961, so that’s the date I’m going with.  I was only five months old at the time, so I probably wasn’t aware of what was going on.

Rob and Al were aware of what was going on.  Al was a few months shy of his second birthday and he’s got his Easter basket all decked out with greenery.   Rob was almost six, so he knew to show off his prized egg as well as his basket.  Maybe he found all of the hidden eggs before Al had a chance to find any.  I know I wasn’t in the running at all.  I was just sitting there watching all of these strange new behaviors that were going on.  Easter?  What’s that?!

I do remember a few things from back then.  I remember those red shoes for sure.  Not that I remember wearing them.  I think my mom must have saved them for a long time and told me about them being mine.  I do like the bright red color.  Very festive!  I remember playing with my dad and brothers in that back yard over the next year or so that we lived in Lake Charles.  Mainly it was playing with a toy gun that shot little propellers that would fly.  It made an impact on my developing brain.  The toy looked similar to the photo that you see.  At least from what I can remember from all those years ago.

The Landry girls – Karen and Jodie – on Easter in 1961 in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

This next photo is of my older sisters.  I was the fifth child.  I had two older brothers and two older sisters.  Sometimes I think of myself as the tiebreaker.  That didn’t last long.  My younger sister Jamie came along a year later and tied it up again.  But on April 2, 1961, there were just the two brothers, the two sisters, and my mom and dad.  My parents weren’t in any of the Easter photos that I have for that year.  I might have shared a different photo if they had been. 

I like this photo of Karen and Jodie.  They have their new Easter dresses on, and they’ve got their Easter baskets ready for collecting.  Jodie must have had high expectations.  That’s a big basket that she has!  I think it’s bigger than all of the other three combined!  I don’t know where she thought she’d find enough eggs to fill it up. 

I have no idea where we went that year.  In the years after this, when we lived in Jennings, we would go to my mom’s family in Hathaway for Easters.  There was always an Easter egg hunt.  I once called it the Great Bucklin Egg Hunt.  I would think that it had started by 1961.  Grandma and Grandpa Bucklin (Myrtle Phenice and Fred Bucklin) had thirteen grandchildren who would be eager to go traipsing around their property to find colored eggs and other goodies.

But since we were still living in Lake Charles, maybe we stayed in town for the Landry family gathering.  We had even more cousins there.  Mee Maw (Germaine Erie Patureau Landry) was a widow (for some reason that’s a term I never associate with her!) whose husband Robert Joseph Landry, Sr. – our Pee Paw – had died a few years earlier.  She had over twenty grandchildren at the time.  I’m sure they were just as eager to go a-hunting. 

So there you have it.  The Landry children dressed up for Easter, with their eggs and baskets ready for something.  A Great Bucklin Egg Hunt?  A Landry Pocking Contest?  Showing off their cute little new brother with his bright red booties?  Whatever happened, it must have been something good.  Otherwise, I would have heard stories about it when we looked back at these old photos.  But all I remember hearing about was how much they liked that dress, how much they liked that hair cut, and how much fun I was when I was that age. 

Ok, maybe that last thing wasn’t said.  But I’m sure it was thought.  Right?!  Just look at those booties.  What’s not to like?

Have a happy Easter.

Mee Maw and the Fig Tree

Germaine Erie Patureau circa 1950 in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Here is a photo of my paternal grandmother Germaine Erie Patureau.  I’ve always known her as Mee Maw.  I saw the first version of the photo in 2019.  It was in the Tin Can Collection that originally belonged to my Aunt Wana.  It has since been taken over by her children Tricia and perhaps Tim.  Both of them have shared photos from the Collection, but it’s usually Tricia.  She’s the one who showed me the image in 2019 when a few of the cousins got together.  Wow.  It’s almost five years now.  I took a photo of the photo because I liked it.

It wasn’t until tonight that I realized that I had two versions of this photo.  I discovered this improved version in 2021, when I looked closer at some of the things that I took from my parents’ home when we moved them to Assisted Living.  As I looked through the old photos and such, I found an old packet of negatives.  Some of them were really old.  Those were from the 1930s when my dad was a kid.  Then there were others like this one that look like they came from the 1950s.

So I scanned those old negatives, and this was one of them.  I didn’t recognize it from two years earlier, but I did like it.  I like discovering new photos of my grandmother who hasn’t been around for over fifty years.  I had to guess the approximate year the photo was taken.  I compared it to known photos of her through the years and decided it looked like some time in the early 1950s.  Does that sound about right?  She was born in 1895, so that would put her in her mid to late fifties.  Hmmm.  Maybe it was taken earlier.

And I’m not even sure where the photo was taken.  I had thought about calling it “Mee Maw In the Back Yard,” but I wasn’t sure I was correct about that assessment.  I don’t remember the house that she lived in back then.  I recognize the back of the house because there are several photos of the family taken there.  But this area does look like a back yard with fig trees and other plantings.  I can tell that it was probably winter, based on the bare branches of the fig tree.  The bare arms of my grandmother say that it wasn’t a particularly cold winter day.  If I knew the color of her dress, I would have used that in the title of this post.  But I’m not familiar with the dress and don’t remember seeing it.

I don’t know much about the photo, it would seem.  Yet I am still drawn to it.  I like her determined pose and the way she’s standing firm.  Most of the photos of her from this time period are group photos.  She’s either with her husband and her eight children, or she’s with a gaggle of grandkids.  There were new ones appearing every year.  So to have a nice, sharp photo of her all by herself is a gift. 

I share it with you.

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