Betty Lou’s Birthday 1978

Betty Lou Bucklin Landry playing the guitar at 758 Lucy Street in Jennings, Louisiana, on May 20, 1978.

Today is my mom’s birthday.  She would have turned 88 today if she were still alive.  Happy birthday, Mama!  I figured that I couldn’t let that event go unwritten since her birthday fell on a Thursday this year.  My Throwback Thursday had to be about her birthday.  What else would I write about?  Since my grand nephew Henry was born on the same day of the month, I will send out a “Happy Birthday, Henry!” as well. 

But May 20th was always about remembering my mom, who was born Betty Lou Bucklin in 1933.  So when I thought about posting a photo about her birthday, I thought about the photos I took on her birthday in 1978.  It was a Saturday in Jennings, Louisiana, and the family was focused on Mama.  My sisters Jamie and Karen and I were making a birthday cake for her.  At least I think I helped.  The photos only show Karen and Jamie working on the cake.  I was capturing the event on my camera for posterity.  I knew that someday I would want to post these photos on a blog about my family!

Jamie and Karen decorating mom’s birthday cake.

Baking her birthday cake was not the first time we cooked something together, nor probably the last.  It seems like sometimes, though, it never really worked out right.  An ingredient would get left out because one of us thought the other added it.  Or someone mistook tsp (teaspoon) for Tsp (tablespoon) on a recipe and put way too much salt in the spaghetti sauce.  I don’t remember that being the case with this cake, so it probably tasted as good as it looks.  Not only that, I would have written about that in my journal. 

Mom looking happy with the corsage that Daddy got her for her 45th birthday.

But I did write a few things about that day, so I’ll share them.  It goes something like this:  “Saturday May 20, 1978 – Mamma’s 45th Birthday.  Jamie and Karen made a pretty cake for Moma and took some pictures of it.  I took some of her playing guitar and singing.  Daddy bought her a corsage and put it right under the air conditioner.  Mamma walked in and fooled with the air conditioner and didn’t see it.  Then Dady gave it to her.  Mamma then let me take a picture of her.  It’s terrible.  On the way to Shakey’s I took pictures of a barn.  When we were on our first break, Coco came in.  Daddy was the first (guy) to ever kiss her, and when he did, he said, ‘You can tell you’ve never been kissed before,’ and she was embarrassed.  She is very nice.  I liked her. I talked to her and Aunt Germaine all night…We ate the cake after we finished.  It was good.”

How is that for a remembrance of my mom’s birthday?!  Talking about some other girl that he kissed in his youth!  I thought it was a funny story then, and I find it humorous now as well.  You can also see that it was Karen and Jamie who made the cake.  I was just the documentarian.  I also find it odd that I write my mom’s name a variety of ways and I misspelled Daddy.  What’s up with that?  My grandmother Myrtle would definitely not approve!  I must have written the journal entry a few days after the fact, because I wouldn’t have known the results of the photo that I took that day until after I got the film developed.  The photos are actually scans of slides.  That’s why there is a rainbow effect in the upper corners. 

I really like the top two photos.  They show the way the house was decorated in the late 70s.  Two of mom’s paintings are hanging prominently on the wall behind her.  She is sitting with two “furries” on the couch.  A “furry” was a blanket that she made out of faux fur material.  She made lots of them.  All of her children and children-in-law have at least one.  They are nice and cozy on a cold day.  Also note the macrame hanger in the corner.  In the photo of Karen and Jamie you get to see the kitchen decor, including the vomit bowl in the background.  (No description necessary.)  I think the canisters were painted by my mom as well.  Those must have been done in her tole painting phase.  Tole painting is a folk art of decorative painting of wooden utensils, objects, and furniture.  We all have pieces of those items as well.

So there you have it – a trip back to 1978.  Actually I’ve had a few trips lately back to 1978.  Last week I shared a selfie I took, and last month I shared a photo of Karen.  Back in December I shared a photo of my three sisters from that year, too.  It wasn’t intentional.  You just never know what year this time machine will bring us back to from week to week.  Thanks for coming along on the ride.


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