Grandma Myrtle the Aviatrix

My grandmother Myrtle Sylvia Phenice Bucklin in June of 1963 in Hathaway, Louisiana.

This is Myrtle Sylvia Phenice Bucklin.  Aviatrix supreme.  Flying ace of the Phenice flock.  Not really.  I just like this whimsical looking photo of my mom’s mom.  I always thought my Grandma Bucklin had a humorous streak and this photo proves it.  Not that she didn’t have a stern streak, also.  Many of her former students have attested to that claim.  But this photo of her is a favorite of mine because of a few things.

It reminds me of the days when I was really young.  We would drive out to the country and visit my grandparents (and sometimes our cousins) in Hathaway, Louisiana.  That area is prairie land and has been since my ancestors homesteaded there in the latter part of the 19th century.  It’s very flat with not many trees around.  You could see the line of rain coming from out in the distance.  The haze of the sky in this picture reminds me of that.

Some of my earliest memories of going to their house out in the country has to do with airplanes.  My Uncle Austin has always had a fascination with airplanes.  His room had model airplanes hanging from strings.  I don’t know if he was there at the time or if he had moved away and was traveling the globe, but I definitely remember his room.  And I’m sure that’s where the plane in this photo came from.  I would assume that the goggles came from there as well.  Uncle Austin now lives in the War Vets home in Jennings and there are airplanes hanging from the ceiling of the hallway to his room.  It so reminds me of my memory of his room back then.

But the best part of this photo is the whimsical smile on Grandma’s face.  With a tilt of her head and her sassy stance, it makes for a charming photo.  I’m not really sure what she is doing with the plane.  I can just imagine her shouting “Prepare for takeoff!” followed by her hearty laugh.  She’d give that plane a good heave into the sky.  Then a prairie wind would carry it away as we’d sit by and admire it flying and looping through the air.

After a moment of being mesmerized by the spectacle, we’d ask Grandma how she did that.  But she wouldn’t be anywhere we could see.  How could that be?  We could still hear her laugh echoing through the sky!  But then we’d realize that it wasn’t an echo, it was Grandma flying around in that plane and laughing.  As she’d fly over us, she’d smile down at us and shout, “Let your imaginations soar!”  She’d disappear in the distance with her laughter drifting back down to us.


  • The old photo of Grandma reminded me of this other photo I had in my photo album. Had to scan it and share. It’s from 1961, but this time it is Rob with the plane, Jodie, Van with the goggles, Karen, and Al Landry.
    Landry family visiting Grandma and Grandpa Bucklin

  • Julie Phenice Campbell (daughter of Myrtle's brother Warren)

    My brother, Kevin, and Austin used to build airplanes together. They would build planes with small engines that had hand controls attached with string.

  • Mary Bucklin Long (daughter of Austin)

    I have tons of pics of their control line planes…. he used to take me with him when he’d fly and I’d get dizzy spinning in circles 🙂.

  • Sharon Williams Andrew

    That photo of your Grandma Myrtle is magical.

  • Shelly Russel (daughter of Myrtle's sister Grace)

    I love this picture of Aunt Myrtle! She was always a hoot! I can still hear her hearty laugh.

  • Diane Phenice Prejean (daughter of Myrtle's brother Henry)

    Love it! I remember Austin’s room too! He had so many planes!

  • Charla Seal Quaranta (granddaughter of Myrtle)

    I love this picture of Grandma!! ❤ 🛩️✈️🛫🛬

  • Melissa Bourgeois (granddaughter of Myrtle's sister Marguerite)

    This photo is everything 👊🏼✌🏼

  • Rhonda Effron Brown (granddaughter of Myrtle)

    It’s funny because I definitely remember his room and its location in the house but the only airplanes that I had remembered were great drawings. Maybe grandma took the models down before the whole herd of grandkids showed up for the holidays to prevent temptation

  • Darla Hill Wilson (daughter of Myrtle's sister Marguerite)

    I too remember Austin’s room and Aunt Myrtle’s laugh! Loved her so much. The picture is fantastic and so is your imagination and writing ability!

  • Warren Hill (son of Myrtle's sister Marguerite)

    Wow! She sure could sing. Oddly, one of my favorite memories was the smell of the damp sawdust around the nursery plants.

  • Loris Woolley (daughter of Myrtle)

    I’d never seen this picture of Mama before, but she looks just like she did so many times when she would act silly. Cute picture of the Landry kids, too!

  • Patricia Hill Bennett (daughter of Myrtle's sister Grace)

    Loved visiting aunt Myrtle.

  • Doris Bucklin Lawson (daughter of Fred's brother Roy Bucklin)

    I remember the planes in Austin’s room!!

    Aunt Myrtle was my third grade teacher. She would lead us in singing every day before we got on bus for trip home

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