H. C. and Daisy’s Family Circa 1941

Harry Clifton and Daisy Keys Phenice with their family circa 1941 in Hathaway, Louisiana.

Eight years ago I shared a photo with the same people on the same day.  It’s one that I’ve seen my whole life.  It belonged to my mom (Betty Lou Bucklin Landry) and she wrote on the back of that one that the photo was taken with her first camera.  I’m assuming that this photo was taken by the same person with the same camera.  The people in the photo didn’t move much from one shot to the next.  Maybe they saw this one in their phone and suggested taking another one because my grandmother (Myrtle Sylvia Phenice Bucklin) has her eyes almost closed.  She’s got pretty eyes and a pretty smile, so that would be understandable.

But it’s not accurate, because people didn’t have cameras on their phones back then.  If they did have a phone, it was locked to the wall and they had to get the operator to place a call for them.  Even when I was a kid, my grandmother’s telephone line was on a party line.  We could pick up the phone and listen in to other people talking!

So for whatever reason, they took at least two photos of this same pose on that faraway 1941 day in Hathaway, Louisiana.  I’m glad they did, because I like them both.  I got this one from Aunt Loris recently.  (Thanks again!)  It’s a little clearer than the other one.  Of course, this first version I’m posting has been edited and enhanced.  Some of the Phenice sons on the back row don’t look exactly correct because of the original blurriness.  But the ones in the front look sufficiently like the actual person, so it makes the photo more pleasing to my eyes.  Oh, yeah, it’s also cropped into a square and the subjects are centered better than in the original.  

Original version of the photo with just a little removal of dust and scratches.

In front on the left is my Grandma (Myrtle) who doesn’t look very happy in this photo.  In the other photo she looks much happier.  I don’t know why.  Next to her is the youngest daughter Marguerite.  She would be about 23 years old in this photo.  To the right of her is Grace, the oldest daughter.  She was 38 years old at the time and Mrytle was 35. Daisy Keys was born in England in 1876 and she married Harry Clifton Phenice in 1900 in Louisiana.  He was born in Butler, Pennsylvania, (made famous this week) in 1874 and moved to Louisiana as a 24-year-old.  All of their children were born in Louisiana.  On the back row we have Warren, 25; Henry, 32; Sylvan, 40; and Orville, 30.

On my post from eight years ago, I said that sometimes when I clean up photos it takes away some of the charm.  For some reason I don’t feel that way with the editing on this photo, even though it’s a more pronounced change and some of the people don’t look exactly like themselves.  So for you purists out there ( and I know you’re out there!), I’m posting the unenhanced version in all of its blurry, lopsided beauty.

Do you have a preference?

When Mee Maw Played With a Calf: Intro to Box 301

I’ve been getting so many new photos lately.  They are not actually new photos, because some of them are very old.  But many of them are new to me, so they’re giving me all kinds of ideas for future posts for this family history blog.  A few weeks before I got these photos from three different sources, I was having some difficulty in thinking of topics on my Thursday nights.  First I got some old Patureau photos that included some photos of my dad as well as older photos of cousins from that line.  Then my mom’s sister sent me some photos of the family that I’d never seen before.  That’s always a plus.  The most recent photos came from cousins on my dad’s side of the family.  They included photos of my paternal grandmother and grandfather.  Some of these photos were obviously from the same date as other photos I have written about.  But more exciting to me were the new photos of Mee Maw’s dad’s family.  One of them was an old tin type that wasn’t labeled.  That didn’t stop me from figuring out who it was.

Zita and Erie Patureau with a calf. Behind them is Clifford Clements. Taken in Lafayette, Louisiana, in July of 1921.

As wonderful as those photos are, they will have to wait for another time.  Except for this one of Mee Maw with a calf.  It called to me too strongly to ignore, similar to a previous photo taken on the same day did to me in 2016.  It’s probably because it’s another sweet photo of my paternal grandmother around the time that she became engaged to be married.  Maybe she is just happier than usual.

I keep referring to her as Mee Maw, but back in 1921 she was known as Erie Patureau.  It would only be later that she would get married and my dad (Robert Joseph “Bob” Landry, Jr.) would be born.  Another photo from that day makes me think that the photos were taken in hopes of having an engagement photo.  That one was used for the post “Erie Alone” in 2018.  It was a somewhat serious photo, and her hand with her ring were on clear display.

But this photo is definitely not serious!  Erie’s sister Zita looks like she’s whispering in one of the calf’s ears, while Erie is holding the other one.  I suppose their friend Clifford Clements is helping to keep the calf posed for the photo.  Maybe Zita was humming to the calf to calm it.  As I’ve always heard, music soothes the savage beast.  Not that this calf looks savage in the least.  I’m sure she was very sweet.

At the time that this photo was taken, both Erie and Zita were schoolteachers in Lafayette.  Their dad Max had moved there with the family in 1912, where he set up a veterinary practice.  A few of the daughters went to college at SLI and became teachers.  There are a lot of teachers in the Patureau family.  In fact, Max Patureau’s great grandfather Leobon Patureau had been a schoolteacher in France in the 1780s.  He probably wasn’t the first, and I hear of more schoolteachers in the family from time to time.

I wonder if this calf was one of their dad’s patients.  I’m sure they must have treated it very well.  They wouldn’t want to mar their father’s reputation.  After all, I’m thinking they were Daddy’s girls.  Their mother (Marie Therese Landry) had died somewhat young (41 years old in 1909), so he was the one who was their primary caregiver.  And from all of the wonderful photos of Grampa Max that I’ve seen from Mee Maw’s collection of photos, I would think that Erie was a Daddy’s girl.

Box 301 was from my Aunt Wana’s attic.

PS.  The latest collection of photos is being called Box 301.  That’s because they were in a box, and the box had the number 301 written on it.  It sounds rather obvious, but I thought I’d explain it anyway.  It was found in the same attic that had the Tin Can Collection – my dad’s sister Wana must have gotten them from their mother.  Their sister Germaine passed her photos down to her daughter Daphne, and that group of photos is called the Secret Collection.  I won’t mention all of the collections here.

You will definitely be seeing more images from Box 301.

When Grandma Played a Man

Members of Raymond Methodist Church who put on a play circa 1946. (Raymond, Louisiana)

I’ve been planning on this post for a while.  I remember this photo from when I was a kid, because I thought it was interesting that my grandmother was dressed like a man and had a moustache and a beard.  That’s not the way she dressed when she was around us!  In fact, I don’t remember my grandmother wearing anything but dresses.  Both of my grandmothers, now that I think about it.  So seeing a photo of her dressed like a man was decidedly different.

The grandmother in question is my mom’s mom.  She was born Myrtle Sylvia Phenice on December 19, 1906, in Jefferson Davis Parish.  Her parents were Harry Clifton Phenice and Daisy Keys Phenice.  Harry was from Pennsylvania by way of Nebraska, and Daisy was from England.  So my grandmother was the first generation on my mom’s side to be born in Louisiana.  She got married to Fred D. Bucklin in 1930 and started a family.  So by the time that 1946 came around, they had all five of their children.

I mention 1946, because that’s around the time this photo was taken.  Even though I remember this photo from when I was young, I didn’t end up with a copy of it when I started collecting photos.  I got this copy in 2017 from my cousin John.  I just took a quick photo of it when we were visiting after the Keys Family Reunion that year.  It’s not a great quality photo, but I still like it a lot.  What kept me from writing about it was that I couldn’t remember the name of the character that Grandma played.  I’m pretty sure it was a comic piece but didn’t know much more about it.

Then a week or so ago I got a letter full of photos from Aunt Loris.  I wasn’t expecting that, but it was very welcomed!  I was especially excited about it because she sent me some photos that I had never seen before.  I’ll be sharing some of them in future posts, don’t you worry.  But what got me to finally post this photo was the fact that Aunt Loris had labeled it.  Not only did she know the name of the character that Grandma played, but she also knew the name of everyone that was in the photo!  The photo wasn’t a good quality and it was backward, so I went ahead and used the previous photo I got from my cousin.

The photo was from the late 40s (I gave it estimate of 1946 when comparing it other photos of the same people.) and it was of members of the Raymond Methodist Church who put on a play.  I’ve seen a lot of the names before, because Mama, Grandma, and many members of their family attended that church.  My grandfather’s mom was also a member.  So there’s a lot of history shared in that small town church.  I won’t tell you all the history (because I don’t know it!), but I will share with you all of the names of the people in the photo.

From left to right, we have Jay Jester, Grace Bolles Jester, Buck Jester in overalls, and Anne Jester next to him.  Then, in the role of Saul Silverstein we have Myrtle Bucklin, my dear grandmother.  She’s wearing a man’s suit, a moustache, and a beard.  She went all out!  Continuing to the right we have Sally Marshall, Vivian Jester, Harold Brown (in the Lafayette shirt which helped me to determine which image was backward), Millie Compton, and Jesse Compton.  I don’t know the connection of all of the Jesters in this photo.  Nor do I know the connection between the Comptons.  I don’t think they are related to us.  They were members of the church family.

It’s so nice to receive unexpected treasures in the mail.  It was the second package I’ve received lately with old family photos.  The other one was from my dad’s side of the family with lots of photos of Patureau family members.  Then last weekend I was able to get my hands on some more old family photos.  Keep them coming!

My Dad’s Mom Was a Patureau

1997 Patureau family reunion in southern Louisiana.  I see my dad’s white curly hair.  He is standing to the left in a blue shirt.

Recently a Patureau cousin sent me some old family photos.  (Thanks, again Craig!)  Most of the photos were of second or third cousins from the various Patureau family lines.  I talk about the Patureau family frequently on these blog posts.  That’s because there’s so much information available about them.  Maybe it’s because there are so many of us around.  They have traditionally had large families and there have been one or two serious family researchers in every generation of the family.  Maybe not in every family line, but there have been a few.  

1996 Patureau Family Reunion – my dad is sitting at the table to the right talking to a cousin.

The Patureau family came from LaRochelle Chalais, France, in 1840.  It consisted of the 40-year- old Pierre Ferdinand Patureau, his 39-year-old wife Anne Rose Machet, their 16-year-old daughter Victorine, their 14- year-old son Ferdinand, their 13-year-old son Abel, and 12-year-old Elisa. 

It was only the two oldest that had any children.  Victorine ended up settling in east Texas, while Ferdinand had his family in Plaquemine, Louisiana.  Through eight of their fifteen or so children, he and his wife Emma Landry had at least 75 grandchildren.  And many of those grandchildren had large families as well.  There are well over a thousand descendants of Ferdinand and Emma.

Patureau cousins – Therese Mouton, Merlyn Patureau Pays, and Maureen “Totsy” Patureau Conaway in New Orleans, Louisiana.

So it makes sense that they’d want to have a Patureau reunion every once in a while.  I know that I went to one in the 1970s in Duson, Louisiana.  I don’t know if it was for all of Ferdinand and Emma’s descendants or if it was just through their son Vincent Maximilian.  I descend from him and he was known as Grampa Max, though he is my great grandfather.  My dad was Bob Landry and he was the son of Max’s daughter Erie Patureau Landry. 

Max’s daughter Emma had a daughter named Therese Mouton, and she was the one that had the get together in Duson.  I’d like to see photos of that reunion.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen any.  I’m glad that one of the new photos I recently acquired was a photo of Therese – our family called her Tez – with some of her Patureau cousins.  She was good about visiting cousins all across southern Louisiana.  She made quite an impression and the stories about those visits are still being told today.

1997 Patureau Family Reunion possibly at Oakdale, Louisiana. My dad is to the far right. Across from him is Linda Cansler, another Patureau family researcher. I’m sure there was a lot of family history facts being thrown around.

I also went to a Patureau reunion in 1993 at the home of Pat and Lora Patureau in Baton Rouge.  Tez was at that reunion, too.  I didn’t hang around her too much, because it seemed like I was cramping her style.  She treated me like I was the strange one!  There had been a 1992 reunion, but I don’t think any of the Max Patureau line was there.  I don’t think I went to any other Patureau reunion in the 1990s.  I don’t even remember hearing about them.  There were several more that I heard about that happened in Bayou L’Ourse.  I heard about them from Craig and Byron and Dana, some cousins I keep in touch with.  

So when I got that big batch of photos a few weeks ago, I went through them looking for anyone familiar.  Fortunately, many of them were labeled with people’s names.   Very nice.  I recognized many of the names, though I didn’t know them personally.  When I saw some photos of Patureau reunions in the 1990s, I looked at those closely. 

I didn’t know if my dad had gone to any of them, but he was very interested in family history.  It makes sense that he would have gone to them.  And sure enough, I found him in three different photos at two of the Patureau reunions.  Besides liking to visit with family and have a good time with them, he also enjoyed all of the history of the Patureau family.  I can see his family history book in his lap that he brought to any family get together.  I’m sure he enjoyed talking with Linda Cansler who was another Patureau researcher.  Why wouldn’t he?  He was a Patureau!

The Keys of Trekking

Watercolor painting by Arlene Keys Ware

Interesting title, right?  I would have had the perfect photo for it if I hadn’t made a bad choice a few years ago.  How could I have been so shortsighted? 

The topic came about as a result of the family reunion I went to last weekend.  It was for the Keys family in southern Louisiana.  My great grandmother was Daisy Keys, and she came to the United States from England in 1887 when she was just eleven years old.  The reunion was for the descendants of her and her four siblings.  It was a nice event.  I was able to see some family members that I was hoping to see.  I received some positive (and negative) feedback from the writing and photo editing that I do for these blog posts.  But I also heard some sad news.  Two of my mom’s first cousins had passed away earlier this year.

I try to keep up with the goings on of my closest relatives, but I do not always succeed.  I’m kind of surprised that I hadn’t heard about not just one, but two of her cousins.  Especially since they lived in Lake Charles and I have lots of family in Lake Charles.  But then again, most of those relatives are on my dad’s side of the family.  The two family members who passed away were Arlene Keys Ware and her brother Melvin Keys.

Some of you might be wondering how my mom could have a first cousin with the last name of Keys, when her grandmother was a Keys.  Wouldn’t her first cousins more likely have the Bucklin or Phenice last name like her parents?  That would usually be correct.  But Arlene and Mel were not first cousins to my mom through the Keys side of the family.  Their mother was Edna Bucklin, who was the sister of her father Fred.  We saw a picture of them just last week on my blog post!  I didn’t realize the connection until just now.  So Fred married Myrtle Phenice and Edna married Myrtle’s first cousin Frank Keys.  Arlene and Mel were not just first cousins, they were second cousins as well.

Arlene was the younger of the two.  She’s one of the few of my mom’s first cousins that I remember from far back.  That’s probably because when she was in high school, she went to LaGrange High School when my dad was the band director.  She was in band, so she knew him pretty well.  Plus, she was the drum major for the band.  I have some old photos from back then that I had intended on going through to see if she might want any.  I never got around to doing it.

I always enjoyed talking with Arlene at family get togethers and such.  I was also a fan of her artwork over the past few years.  She was a wonderful water colorist.  I wish I had some of her work.  I have some digital copies of several of them, so that’s sufficient.  I had been hoping to see her at the reunion.  I didn’t realize she had passed away.

I was also hoping to see her brother Mel there.  I was wanting to possibly remedy the mistake I had made a few years ago.  It was at the 2017 Keys Family Reunion.  That was the first time that I was aware of Mel Keys being at a family reunion.  He probably had been to some in the past and I didn’t really pay attention to him.  I didn’t know anything about him.  But a short while before this reunion I had been given some interesting information about him.  Let me give you the back story first.

I am a huge Star Trek fan.  I’ve been a fan since that first Starship Enterprise was flying across our tiny black and white screen in Jennings, Louisiana.  I don’t remember watching entire episodes of the show when it first aired.  I seem to remember catching glimpses of it when I was acting as the channel changer.  My dad would tell me to change the channel, and I would follow through.  But when I saw that spaceship or Mr. Spock on the screen, I would linger as long as I could.  The first episode I remember watching was the one with the Gorn in it.  Remember, the big alligator guy that was fighting with Captain Kirk on a deserted planet?!  It is epic.  Like I said, I’m a Trekkie.

I really started watching the show when it went into syndication shortly after it was cancelled in the early 1970s.  I would look forward to watching it after I got home from school.  When I got a paper route around 1972, it messed up my Trek viewing.  I remember seeing the opening credits about “to boldly go where no man has gone before” and I had to boldly jump on my bicycle and bring the news to my neighbors.  No matter how quickly I delivered those papers, I at most caught a few minutes of the ending of the show.  

That didn’t stop me from being a fan.  I seem to remember dressing up as Mr. Spock for Halloween or something.  I carefully wrapped tape around my ears to make them look pointed.  I seem to recall my mom saying that I even shaved the ends of my eyebrows to make me look like I had pointed eyebrows.  Again, I have no photo to document that as well.  Just vague memories here and there.  I also remember when we got our first color TV.  The first show we saw on it?  You got it, it was Star Trek.  It was the episode where the space hippies were looking for love and paradise.  It was so groovy and colorful.

One of the things that people made fun of was the way that when an unknown crewmember (usually wearing a red shirt) beamed down to the planet with someone like Captain Kirk or Mr. Spock, you always knew that that person was going to die!  It seemed to happen frequently.  I remember thinking that they should let one of the main characters die.  They could bring them back the following week!  It’s fiction!  That way we wouldn’t know who was going to die when that red-shirted guy beamed down to the planet.  So you can’t imagine how happy I was ***  SPOILER ALERT*** when they killed off Spock in the second Star Trek movie.  Then they brought him back in the third movie.  It was just what I always wanted.  Those were the best movies ever!!!

July 1965- the day of completion of the Star Trek model in Burbank, California. From the left Vern Sion, Mel Keys, and Volmer Jensen.

Now I’m telling you all of this because of what I found out years later.  You have to see it in relation to my history with Star Trek and how that had started when I was a small child.  When I was watching the show all through the years, I wasn’t aware of the family connection I had with the show.  It wasn’t until around 2015 or so that I found out the amazing information.  Cousin Joseph was sharing old family photos with me, and he sent me a photo of some people on the street standing next to what looked like the Starship Enterprise.  I asked him what it was.  He told me that our moms’ first cousin Mel Keys had built the model of the Starship Enterprise.  The Starship Enterprise that had zoomed across my old black and white TV all those years ago had been built by my mom’s first cousin!!!

My mind was blown.  I don’t say that very often.  Actually, I don’t recall saying that about anything else in my life.  My mom must not have known this fact.  I would have remembered if she had said something like, “Oh, yeah, my cousin built that cool spaceship.”  Definitely I would have remembered that little juicy morsel of information.  But now that I know this information, I tell it to people all the time.  Especially if they are somewhat interested in science fiction.  Sometimes even if they’re not!  It’s just too amazing.

So when I went to that 2017 Keys Reunion, I saw Mel Keys.  I talked to him and let him know I was a fan of the show.  It was a pleasant little chat.  Later, though, people were taking photos of groups for the reunion.  My sister Karen and some cousins decided to get a picture taken with Mel Keys.  Not a group photo, they were each taking a photo with him.  I declined.  Can you believe it?  What was I thinking?  I didn’t want to bother him by getting a picture with him because of a model he made fifty years earlier.  What was I thinking?  Of course I did!  It was the Starship Enterprise that was used in the filming of that show!  I didn’t take the chance.

But I was hoping to remedy that this year and go where I had not gone before.  Alas, it was not to be.  I was sorry that my mom’s first cousin had died.  I would have liked to have (boldly) gone to the funeral to be with the family.  In good Star Trek fashion, he lived long and prospered. 

Peace and long life.

Bucklin Twins in 1925

Bucklin siblings with friends in 1925 in Hathaway, Louisiana.

I know, I know. There are more than two people in this photo, but my focus is on my grandfather and his identical twin.  I always thought it was fascinating that my grandfather had an identical twin.  Wouldn’t that be fun?  I always thought it would be.  I suppose I had the next best thing with having several siblings and we weren’t really that far apart in age.  My younger sister and I would tell people that we were twins, and they believed it.  We were just playing around though.

My grandfather, though, had the real thing.  His name was Fred D Bucklin – the D did not stand for anything.  His identical twin’s name was Clarence Johnathan Bucklin.  Clarence had a middle name and a nickname – “CJ.”  They were born on October 2, 1907, in Roanoke, Louisiana.  The photo was taken around 1925, so they would be teenagers at the time it was taken.  

It looks like they were dressed alike, too.  That makes it even harder to tell them apart.  But I don’t think they wanted to help people tell them apart at the time.  They liked playing tricks on people about their identity.  At least that’s what my mom told me when I’d ask her about it.  She said that the teachers had a hard time telling them apart at school, so they’d give each twin a different color ribbon or arm band to wear.  That wasn’t very successful, because the twins would switch colors on the teachers and do what they wanted.  I think they were a bit of jokesters.  You can see that in this photo, where one of them is sliding his hat onto his sister Edna’s head.  She was two years younger than the twins.

My mom also said that they would pull a switch with her when she was younger, but she said it didn’t take her long to realize that it was her uncle rather than her father.  He probably had an impish smile on his face since he had pulled a fast one on her. Twins look very much alike, but there are details that you notice when you know them that helps you to tell them apart.   I would think that growing up in a household with one of them would make it easy to distinguish between the two of them.  I wasn’t there back then, so I can’t tell who is who in these old photos.  I’m not sure if there is a way to tell at this point.  I just know that the one with Grandma in the photos is my grandfather!

The interesting thing about identical twins is that their DNA is exactly the same.  If they did a DNA test, the results would show as ‘self.’  But they didn’t live long enough to participate in DNA testing.  But their daughters did.  My mom and her first cousin Carla both did a test.  When a person tests, 50% of their DNA comes from each parent.  Half comes from their dad and half from their mom.  Regular siblings have 50% from both parents, but it’s not the same pieces. Full siblings usually share around 50% with each other.  About 25% of what they have in common is from their mother, the other 25% is from their father.  If you only shared a father, half siblings would only have about 25% in common.  

First cousins share about 12.5% of their DNA.  Unless, of course, their parents are identical.  If they are truly identical, it would show up as though they were half siblings, which would be around 25%.  Well, the results of my mom and her cousin prove that Fred and Clarence were indeed identical.  Mama and Carla share 30%, which is on the high end of the scale for half siblings.  The only way that could have happened was because of the identical DNA in the brothers. 

Of course, if you just look at the photos of the two brothers you would know.  But it’s fun to see that a test can show that they were.  

SPEBSQSA Singers in Jennings Circa 1949

1949 Newspaper article about my dad singing in Jennings in 1949.

I found this article online last year and it surprised me a bit.  It is from 1949 and it is about a music group from Lake Charles visiting Jennings and performing for them.  I don’t know how the event came about, but it must have been sufficiently interesting enough to make it into the newspaper.  And I’m glad it did.

When I was growing up in Jennings, Louisiana, we did a lot of singing.  My parents sang, my brothers sang, and my sisters sang.  We all sang together.  We sang at home.  We sang at church.  We sang at school.  We even went to school during the summers so we could sing some more!

The main reason was because my dad was a band and choral director and my mom had majored in music at college as well.  When I saw this article, I was brought back to summer vacations when we’d all pile in the old Country Squire station wagon and head to Texas or the Gulf Coast.  That old car had a sticker on the back window, and it was for this group – SPEBSQSA.  We were so proud that we could quote and say it really fast.

My dad’s belt buckle for many years.

I always figured that my dad brought his singing and barbershopping to Jennings for the first time in 1963 when we moved there.  But this article shows me how I wrong I was to assume that.  My dad had been to Jennings in 1949 with the barbershop group from Lake Charles!  From what I know, he started with that group in 1948 when he was just 19 years old.  He wouldn’t meet my mom – Betty Lou Bucklin from Hathaway – for another year.  She was still in high school at the Hathaway school.

It looks like my dad was part of a barbershop quartet as well as the choral group.  I know he would do that a few years later when he was in the Air Force.  Then when we lived in Jennings for those many years, he would always have a quartet.  He stayed involved with SPEBSQSA for the rest of his life, even after they changed their name.  He was a fixture at those barbershop conventions through the years.  They’d sing and sing and sing til all hours of the night in to the morning.

After many hours singing and woodshedding, he’d climb into bed to sleep.  As his head hit the pillow, he probably could still hear the sounds of “When it’s darkness on the Delta” or “When it’s sleepy time down South” in his mind.  The harmonies would quickly lull him to sleep.

Jennings barbershop chorus in 1968.

Grandma Daisy and Her Sisters

Ruth, Daisy (sitting), and Mabel Keys in 1894 in Louisiana.

I was determined to write a post about the Keys this week.  I looked to see if there were any photos that I haven’t posted yet, and I couldn’t find any.  I can’t let that stop me from writing about my Keys ancestors, especially since there will be a Keys Reunion in a couple of weeks.  It will be on June 15th at the Hathaway/Raymond Catholic Church Hall.  Ask me for more details if you want to attend.

So this week I will share a photo that I’ve shared before.  But I have improved the photo from the last time you saw it.  I got the original image from my Aunt Loris a few years ago.  It was just a snapshot of an old photo in a round frame.  The photo was cropped in a circle, so some of the details were missing.  

I worked on it to fill it in for a square photo.  I like the way it came out, except for the plant on the right side of the photo.  In my first edit, I cloned the bottom leaves of the plant and it went all the way to the top of the photo.  It looked like a small version of Jack and the Beanstalk.  I used it anyway, because I didn’t know what the original setup was.

Then I was looking through Edith Keys Segraves book about our Keys ancestors and I came across this same old photo.  But the version in the book has the curtains like you see in the right side of the photo I’m posting today.  So I did some blending and copying from photo to photo and came out with this better version.  I did this a few months ago and liked the results.  The original photo in that book also shows them all full length.  In other words, their feet are showing and so is the floor.  Maybe I’ll find a good copy of that photo and you’ll see this photo in yet another version!  Lucky you.

Maybe you don’t like this photo as much as I do, but I’m partial because the Keys sister in the middle is my great grandmother Daisy Keys Phenice.  She and her mother and siblings came to America from England in 1887.  They left during Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.  One of the things about this move is that it separated Daisy’s mom Martha Ann Cook Keys and her sister Henrietta Cook Keys.  It seems like they were very close.  They lost their father when they were young children and they later married two of the Keys brothers in England.  But this move to America put a big distance between the sisters.

Daisy and her sisters did not do the same thing.  They all settled in southern Louisiana.  Daisy was the oldest of the sister, having been born in 1876.  She was the third child, though.  There were two older brothers – Henry Alfred and Leonard.  They stayed in southern Louisiana as well.  Daisy lived in Hathaway, Louisiana, where she raised a family with Harry Clifton Phenice.  Ruth, who was born in 1879, married to Herbert Bryan and they raised a family in Jennings and surrounding areas.  Mabel, born in 1881, married to Abraham Miller and they lived in Kinder, Louisiana.  All five of the Keys siblings lived within 30 minutes or so from each other.  A much easier visit to make than crossing the ocean! 

Even though the subsequent generations have spread out to many states, I’m hoping to see a nice group of cousins at the upcoming Reunion.

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.

1 2 3 54