Betty Lou in Grade Two

Betty Lou Bucklin in 1940 in Hathaway, Louisiana.

Here is a photo of my mom from 1940.  It is the second grade school photo from the 1940-41 school year when Betty Lou Bucklin was a student at Hathaway High School.  Was it called Hathaway High School even though you were going there in the second grade?  That just sounds weird.  But I’ve never heard it called anything but Hathaway High School.

I like this photo of her, but I always wonder why she wasn’t smiling.  She was halfway smiling in her first grade photo.  Now that I say that, I realize the same thing about my own first and second grade photos.  I was smiling in the first grade and not in the second.  I never really wondered why I wasn’t smiling, even though I have no idea why.  Is second grade a difficult year for people?  But then again, my mom wasn’t smiling in her photos for the next few school years .  Lately I haven’t minded, because they work much better for animated photos that freak people out.

My mom was a blond back then, as were her younger sisters.  I think she got that from the Hine line of her family.  Her father was Fred Bucklin.  Fred was the son of Addie May Hine.  The photos of Grandpa when he was a child showed that he had the blond hair as a child also.  He would have been called towheaded. Like most towheaded children, their hair darkens as they get older.  In other photos that I’ve posted, you can see that the trait was common with his Hine cousins as well.

When you look at old photos of Addie, you can see that her brothers had light hair as children and it got darker as they got older.  So I say that the trait has been passed down by the Hine line of the family.  But I guess it might have come from the Stanbrough side.  Addie’s parents were George Hine and Sue Stanbrough.  I only have photos of them as adults and I don’t have many photos of their siblings.  But I still tend to think that the trait came from our German Hine line.

Even though her hair got darker as she got older, my mom said that her hair would lighten when she would be out in the sun.  She had brown eyes, but they weren’t dark brown.  They were light brown and when she had highlights in her hair from the sun, people used to tell her that she had golden eyes.  I have to admit that I did edit this photo and one of the things I did was to lighten her eyes.  They looked so much darker than what I remember her eyes looking like.  So I think it reflects what she really looked like back then.  I hope you like it.

Addie and Her Children Circa 1949

I have a few photos of my great grandmother Addie with her children.  I don’t have a really good one of them, but I’m still surprised that I’ve never posted one of them.  I did post one of her surrounded by her children at the grave of her husband Lou, but that was more about his death.  There is nothing cheerful about it.  And rightfully so.

Addie Bucklin and some of her children circa 1949 in Hathaway, Louisiana.

Not that this photo is so cheerful.  But it’s a decent photo of Addie with some of her children.  So let me tell you more about Addie.  She was born Addie May Hine on Sept. 23, 1876, in Noblesville, Indiana.  She moved with her family to Louisiana in 1894 when she was 18.  

I think she may have done odd jobs to get spending money, because she ended up helping Mrs. Mary Ann Bucklin (born McGrath) with chores around her house.  Mrs. Bucklin’s youngest son by the name of Louis Charles was a few years older than Addie and they became fond of one another.  They ended up getting married on June 12, 1898.  They are my mom’s paternal grandparents.

Addie and Lou ended up having twelve children together.  Their fourth child Paul was born in 1903, but lived a short life.  Their fifth child Carl was deaf and may have had some other disability and he didn’t show up in many photos.  Their 10th child was Robert and he died in 1944 when he was almost 33.  I think this photo was taken after that point.  Louis died in 1927.

So I’m thinking that this photo was taken around 1949.  It looks semi-posed and everyone was trying to deal with the wind and the sun.  On the far left in the billowing white dress is Edna Bucklin Keys.  She was the ninth child and the middle daughter.  Next to her is Ralph Bucklin.  He was the third child, yet the first one to have a child of his own.  The next person in the photo is great grandma Addie.  If I have the date correct, she would be about 73 years old in this photo.  I remember Mama talking about her having dark hair even when she was elderly.  Behind Addie may be her son Fred Bucklin, my grandfather.  It’s difficult to tell from this small, somewhat blurry photo.  He and his twin brother Clarence were the seventh and eighth children of Addie. 

The next person in the photo is Ruth Bucklin Bruchhaus.  She and her twin Roy are the last two children.  Roy is standing next to her.  Or is that Leo?  Or is that Leo standing between and behind them?  Or is that one Clarence?  One of the brothers is missing and I’m not sure which one it is.  Maybe this is why I don’t post photos of Grandpa and his brothers.  It’s bad enough that he has an identical twin and I can’t tell them apart.  I do know that the brother on the far right is Herbert.  He was the sixth child of Addie and the middle son.

There.  I’m done.  I think the wind got in my eyes.  That’s what I’m blaming my confusion on.  Or maybe it was the sun.  Again, I am relying on cousins to help me out with the identities on the uncles in question.  Thanks in advance.

A Happy Story About Joe Bucklin

Kat and the Hat

That’s right.  Today I’m writing a happy story about Joe Bucklin.   Joe was the brother of my great grandfather Louis Charles Bucklin.  Two of Louis’s sons were Fred and Roy Bucklin.  Fred had a daughter named Betty Lou, who was born on May 20th.  Roy had a daughter named Jeannette, who was also born on May 20th.  My mom was Betty Lou and she was several years older than Jeannette, who was the mother of Kristi.

Kristi is the reason for this happy story of Joe Bucklin.  She has a friend – a friend named Kat – and Kat had a hat.  It wasn’t just any old hat.  Well, it was an old hat.  It was a very old hat.  And Kat had the hat, but she didn’t remember how she came across the hat.  The hat was interesting, because it had a name in the hat that reminded Kat of Kristi.  She knew that Kristi’s mother was a Bucklin.  Likewise, the name in the hat of the friend whose name was Kat was that.

What am I doing?  This story’s getting twisty, so let’s get back to Kristi.  Kristi heard from Kat about the hat.  She was wondering if she knew her history to possibly solve this mystery.  She wondered if Kristi knew who J. C. Bucklin was and if she had ever seen the hat.  Kristi didn’t have a clue, so she asked the son of Betty Lou.

Joe Bucklin with his hat circa 1909 in Jennings, Louisiana.

I recognized the name and the hat immediately.  I was so excited to see it.  Of course it was Joseph C. Bucklin!  He always looked so dapper in that old hat.  Of course, it wasn’t an old hat when Joe wore it.  It was probably very stylish.  He and his brother Edd had a clothing store in downtown Jennings, Louisiana, in the early 1900s called Bucklin Bros.  One of the things that he sold in the store was Stetson hats.  You can see that listed in this article from 1912 in the Jennings newspaper.

Bucklin Bros. of Jennings, Louisiana, in 1912. From the Jennings Daily Times Record of Sept. 21, 1912.

I was excited to find this photo of the interior of Bucklin Bros. store from over 100 years ago.  I had seen a version of it previously and all it showed was a big blob of black.  This is much better.  There are lots of shelves and display cases for those Bucklin brothers to display their merchandise.  Uncle Joe and Uncle Edd had it going on for a while there.  And to think that a piece of that history has survived until now.

I wish I knew the story of the hat.  And how Kat found the hat.  Joe moved from Jennings a few years later with his third wife.  She had been a milliner.  How about that?  She sold women’s hats.  They moved to Florida in 1915.  I found another newspaper article that published a letter he wrote that said he had settled in his new home on January 11th of that year.  I wonder how that hat made its way back to the Jennings area?  It wasn’t a family member that had possession of it all those years.

It was a woman named Kat that had the hat.  As a matter of fact, I’ve told you that.  You also know that it belonged to Joe,  an uncle of mine, to Lou he was Bro.  But now that hat has a new place to be:  Kristi is posting a package for me!




I’ve previously written two sad stories about Joe Bucklin.  There are lots of tragedies in his life and those stories are not as lighthearted as this one is.

A Very Sad Story

The Sad History Surrounding Joe Bucklin

Pluto and Betty Lou: The Prequel

Robert Joseph Landry, Jr. and Betty Lou Bucklin in June of 1952 in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

I had another topic that I was thinking about writing tonight, but when I sat down to start, I changed my mind.  I decided to find something from the time when my parents were together but not married.  There aren’t many photos from that period, because they didn’t have an extended engagement.  Comparing that short time to the 64 years that they spent together explains why most of their photos together were taken after they were married.

Before they were married, my dad was known as Pluto Landry and my mom was known as Betty Lou Bucklin.  But after they were married, it seems that people usually referred to them as Bob and Betty.  Even when referring to each other, my dad would call her Betty and my mom would call him Bob.  Of course when they were talking to each other, they called each other Honey.

So the prequel to Bob and Betty is the story of Pluto and Betty Lou.  I’ve mentioned previously that they first met in 1950 when my mom went to a Solo and Ensemble Music Festival at LSU in Baton Rouge.  She was looking for the right building to go to, and he was a student there in the band and he was more than willing to help that pretty young baritone player from Hathaway find her way.

Daddy was studying music education at LSU, but then McNeese went from a junior college to a four year college.  So he went back to school in his hometown of Lake Charles to get his bachelor’s degree.  He was the first music student to give a senior recital and he was in the first graduating commencement at McNeese State College on May 26, 1952.

But his senior year of college was a special one.  Betty Lou Bucklin graduated from Hathaway High School in 1951 and she decided to attend McNeese as well.  And since both of them were in band and played the baritone, it was inevitable that they would meet.  Of course my dad had seen a list of the new band members and recognized my mom’s name and made sure to speak to her sooner rather than later!  It wasn’t long before they went on their first date.

I found out a few details about that first date after I posted a story a while back.  I mentioned the name of Harvey Prejean, who was a friend of my dad’s from high school.  Come to find out. my mom and dad’s first date was on a double date with Harvey.  It also happened to be the first time both my mom or dad ever ate pizza.  That sounds like such a commonplace food to eat nowadays, but I suppose it wasn’t back then.  Or maybe my parents led incredibly sheltered lives!  They obviously liked pizza, because our family used to sing at a pizza parlor and we’d eat pizza all the time.

But then trouble between Bob and Betty developed.  Not really, they never had a troubled relationship.  My dad was brought up Catholic and he was devoted to that denomination.  When he found out that my mom was a Methodist, he decided to call it off.  According to my mom, he had been burned by some other non-Catholic girl and wasn’t keen on trusting another one.

They went a short time without seeing each other.  Of course they both played baritone in the band and saw each other every day.  My dad soon realized that he did not want to live his life without that sweet girl from the country.  My mom agreed to becoming a Catholic so they could get married in the Catholic Church.  Interestingly, mom’s older sister Sylvia also was seriously dating a Catholic man and she too decided to join the Catholic Church.  They went through the education and rites together.  When it was time for them to choose godparents, they asked if they could be each other’s godmother.  Strangely, it was allowed. 

So my mom became a Catholic and my parents were married on Nov. 1, 1952.  So began the years of Bob and Betty.

Grandpa Bucklin Played Basketball

Basketball players in Elton, Louisiana, in 1925 include my grandfather Fred Bucklin and his twin brother Clarence.

I don’t know what to write about these photos.  I just like them a lot.  I didn’t realize that I was repeating a recent theme until I was well into editing these photos.  It was just this month that I wrote about my Landry grandfather playing a sport and now I’m talking about my Bucklin grandfather doing the same thing.  Well, not quite the same.  Pee Paw Landry was a baseball player and Grandpa Bucklin played basketball.  While Pee Paw was a semi-professional baseball player, I don’t know how serious of a player Grandpa was.  I just have a few photos of him playing basketball and don’t remember any stories about his early years of playing the game.

But who cares how serious of a player he was?  Look at this photo!  It’s an action shot from almost 100 years ago.  That’s pretty cool.  I may have edited this photo a little, but I promise you that I did not add the basketball to the photo.  That would have been just wrong!  It doesn’t even look like the ball is going to make the basket, but that’s not important either.  It’s an action photo of my grandfather as a young man playing basketball with his brother and their friends.  I think it might even be my grandfather who is shooting the ball.  It’s a photo taken by his sister Edna (I think), so she would be focusing on getting photos of her brothers in action.

Player 1, Player 2, Fred Bucklin, Burr Dell Scott, Clarence Bucklin, Player 6 in Elton, Louisiana, in 1925. (Enhanced photo)

My grandfather’s name was Fred D. Bucklin.  He and his identical twin brother Clarence were born on October 2, 1907, in Roanoke, Louisiana.  The family lived in Prairie Grove, Arkansas, a few years and then moved back to Jefferson Davis Parish in Louisiana.  They settled in the Hathaway area.  Fred and Clarence went to school in Elton where they graduated from high school in 1926.

I had two different dates on these photos, though it looks like they could have been taken the same day.  I’m thinking that the 1925 date is probably correct, because it looks like it could be a school basketball team.  Yet schools in Louisiana weren’t integrated until much later, so I question that assumption.  It could be a few years later at some other city team or such.

I need to mention some other family connections in this photo.  The guy standing between the twins is Burr Dell Scott.  Clarence would marry Myrtle Moon in 1928.  Fred would marry his own Myrtle – Myrtle Phenice – in 1930.  She was my grandmother.  Myrtle Moon Bucklin died in 1937.  She and Clarence did not have any children.  Burr Dell married Sadie Manuel around 1942.  They had three children together and then Burr Dell died in 1958.  Then Clarence and Sadie got married around 1960, and they had Carla a few years later.  (Thanks, Carla, for providing these great photos for me to use!)  The interesting thing about that is that Burr Dell was a third cousin of my grandmother Myrtle through her English Horsnell line.

So there you have it.  If you didn’t enjoy the family history tidbit, I hope you enjoyed the photos.  If you didn’t like the photos, maybe I can help out a bit by showing you a colorized version of it.  Here you go:

Colorized version of the old basketball photo.

There.  Everyone should be satisfied now.

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.

Bucklin Birthday Boys in 1982

Bucklin gathering in 1981 in Welsh, Louisiana.

Usually I try to share information when I write my weekly posts.   When I find some interesting information about different lines of the family, I’ll write up a story to share some of those discoveries.  This week is a little different.  I’m looking for information.  Mainly I’m looking for the names of the people in this photograph. 

I know a few of them.  I should!  They’re my maternal grandparents Fred and Myrtle Bucklin.  I also know that my grandfather Fred’s identical twin brother Clarence is in the photo. (Wrong!  I was corrected.  The Bucklin brother on the right is Fred & Clarence’s older brother Ralph.)  I think this is a family gathering to celebrate their birthday around 1982 (Cousin Carol informed me it was 1981).  I’m not even sure about that fact.  I’m not even going to guess whose house it was in. 

I suppose I’m actually looking for more information than I initially stated.  I want the where, when, and why as well.  I also want to know what the story is behind the wooden ducks that the boys are holding.  I know that my grandfather Fred had a hobby of carving and painting wooden duck decoys and wall hangings.  Maybe it was something both of them enjoyed and they were having a contest to see whose was the best! 

So what I know for sure is that in the center of the photo is my grandfather Fred D. Bucklin who was born Oct. 2, 1907, in Roanoke, Louisiana.  He was either the 7th or 8th child (Which twin was born first?  Add that to the list of things I want to know!) of Louis and Addie Hine Bucklin.  He died January 9, 1984.  To the right of Fred is (not) his twin Clarence.  As you may have guessed, he was born on the same day as Fred.  He died November 27, 1985.  My estimate of the date of the photo was based on the dates of their deaths.  Grandpa looks like the oldest I remember seeing him.  The photo probably wasn’t taken much earlier than this date.

Directly behind my grandfather is my freshman year of high school algebra teacher Mrs. Bruchhaus.  Her real name is Shirley Petree Bruchhaus.  She was married to my mom’s first cousin Laurence Bruchhaus (1936-2011) of Elton.  I’m pretty sure that is him directly behind her to the right.  The only other person I’m sure about is my grandmother who is standing  up on the far left.  She was Myrtle Sylvia Phenice before she married Fred in 1930.

Numbered photo to help with identification.

So to keep all the names straight, I’m posting this photo with numbers for everyone.  I started with Grandpa and Grandma as #1 and 2.  (Ralph) is 3, Shirley is 4, and Laurence is 5.  Hopefully all of the numbers will be associated with a name rather soon.  So if you are reading this when I first posted it, there won’t be any other names revealed.  But if you are reading it later – like after a few days, years, decades, or centuries – there should be an update with names.

Thanks in advance to everyone who is able and willing to help.


May 8, 2021 Update

Success!  My second cousin Carol had most of the answers about this event.  It was held at her mother Helen Bucklin Taylor’s home in Welsh, Louisiana.  Helen was the daughter of Fred’s older brother Ralph.  It was on the occasion of Fred and Clarence’s 74th birthday in 1981.  I’m not going to change the title to keep links working.  I will tell you who all the identified people are and their relation to my grandfather Fred.

#1 was already identified as Fred D. Bucklin himself.  #2 is his wife Myrtle.  #3 is not his identical twin brother Clarence after all!!  You can not be more surprised than I am.  I spend a lot of time looking at old photos and trying to identify people.  There was an older photo of Ralph that was identified as Fred, but I’m pretty sure they were wrong.  The Bucklin brothers bore strong resemblances to each other.  I am now questioning my powers of deduction.  #3 is Shirley Petree Bruchhaus.  She was married to #5 Laurence Bruchhaus.  Laurence was the son of Fred’s sister Ruth.  #6 is Helen Bucklin Taylor, daughter of Fred’s brother Ralph.  #7 is Fred’s sister Ruth Bucklin Bruchhaus.  #8 is is Julia Fraser, daughter of #9 Carol Taylor Fraser (daughter of #6). #10 is Lottie Mae Fraser is Carol’s mother-in-law.  #11 is Lauren Bruchhaus, daughter of #3 Shirley & #5 Laurence.  #12 is Kent Taylor, oldest child of Ronnie Taylor and grandson of #6 Helen.  #13 is William Charles Bruchhaus, better known as Buddha, husband of #7 Ruth.  #14 is Frank Keys, husband of Fred’s sister Edna Bucklin Keys.  #15 is Fred’s brother Herbert Bucklin.  #16 is Fred’s sister Edna Bucklin Keys.  #17 is Dora Koll Bucklin, wife of #15 Herbert.  #18 is Pat Peterson Bruchhaus, wife of #19 Harley Bruchhaus, son of #7. #20 is David A. Fraser, husband of #9 Carol.  #21 is Rev. William Fraser father of #20.  #22 is Norma Walker Taylor, wife of #23 Ronnie Taylor.  He is the son of #6 Helen. #24 Stuart Taylor and #25 Laura Taylor are the children of #23 Ronnie and the grandchildren of #6 Helen.

Thanks to cousins Carol Fraser and Kurt Bruchhaus for providing the names.  We’ve still got one more to go!


Mom’s Memories P. 18 AKA Playing the Piano

I thought it was time to shine the spotlight on my mom again.  So I went to her little handy dandy memory book that she kept in her later years.  I decided on the topic of playing the piano because I always think of my mom as a piano player.  I also somewhat recently edited a photo of her playing the piano.  At least I think she is playing the piano in the photo.  Either way, it’s a photo that I like of her that is ready for sharing.

P. 18 of Mom’s Memories

As you can see here on page 18 of Mom’s Memories, she first began taking lessons from a Mrs. Leech in Jennings when she was in the 3rd or 4th grade.  That would be around 1942.  She says that that is when she learned hand positions and fingering.  She said that later she took from Henry Gillet in Welsh.  She learned to play Beethoven’s 5th Symphony and she was one of the top three in the class.  I remember her talking about her piano playing.  She said that her instructors encouraged her to continue with her playing and to take it seriously because she could really put her feelings into a piece of music, which many people can’t do.

Betty Lou Bucklin Landry circa 1964. Edited photo.

My mom continued playing piano and when she went to school at McNeese College, she majored in music.  I don’t know if she took piano classes or not.  I always assumed that she was more interested in her baritone playing.  But mainly she got more seriously involved with fellow baritone player Bob Landry.  She left college and pursued a family instead.  She continued to play the piano when we were kids.  We thoroughly enjoyed when she played and sang “Boop Boop Did’m Dad’m.”  I wish I had a recording of her performing that song.  It was such a playful rendition.  I’m pretty sure my siblings and probably some of my nieces and nephews have started humming that song as they read about it!  It’s a catchy little tune!

She was also the piano player for our family band during the 70s and 80s.  Our most notable gig was playing as the Landry Family Band at Shakey’s Pizza Parlor in Lake Charles from 1976 to 1981.  She mainly played chord piano as accompaniment for whoever was singing the song.  I think she picked that up from her mother (Myrtle Phencie Bucklin) and maternal grandmother (Daisy Keys Phenice).  They would do the same thing for family get togethers in the more distant past.

Aug. 2015 at Brookdale Assisted Living in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

My mom continued to play the piano for the rest of her life.  She would play almost every day.  Evidently she got great enjoyment from music.  It was a concern when my parents needed more care and went into Assisted Living.  We were happy to know there was a piano at Brookdale Assisted Living and it was part of the reason they went there.  This photo is a picture of them singing and playing the piano on their first day there.  As you can see, it looks like everyone is having a jolly time.

So there it is.  A glimpse into the life of Betty Lou and her piano-playing fingers.  I hope you enjoyed it.  I did.

Dreaming of Easters Past

Last night I had a dream.  I was at work and someone said to me, “Tell me about your fifth Advent.”

I replied by saying, “Boy, that’s an odd question.”

“Is that too personal?” he asked.

“No, it just wasn’t expected.”  I knew that he was talking about my fifth Easter, which would have occurred in the spring of 1965.  Yes, I know that Advent is the season before Christmas and Lent is before Easter, but in my dream it made perfect sense to me.

The Landry siblings in 1965 with our Easter loot.

When I woke up I tried to remember what my fifth Easter looked like, but I couldn’t quite picture it.  The picture that came to mind was a photo of me when I was actually three years old.  So I went to my computer and found the photos from my “fifth Advent.”  The photos in question are from April 18, 1965, in Jennings, Louisiana.

I had previously edited this photo with the idea that I would share it on a Throwback Thursday.  But then my dream intercepted that.  I’ll go ahead and share it since it is the Easter weekend.  This is a photo of me and my siblings sitting around the dinner table that we had back then.  From left to right is Jodie, Al, Jamie, me (Van), Rob, and Karen.   This was in an old two story house that we rented the first two years we lived in Jennings.  It was on Highway 26 just north of Interstate 10.  Recently after this we moved into town at 758 Lucy Street. 

Betty Lou Bucklin Landry on April 18, 1965.

This is the other photo that I have from that 1965 Easter.  I really liked the look of this photo, but it needed to be cleaned up and enhanced.  So my dream inspired me to finally get around to fixing it up.  In the words of Brett Waterman, “Do you like it?”

This is my mom when she was just a few weeks shy of her 32nd birthday.  Betty Lou Bucklin from Hathaway, Louisiana, married Robert Joseph “Bob” Landry, Jr. on November 1, 1952, and the rest is history.  They had six children in their first ten years together and the fifth one was me.  You can see that she was wearing her finest Easter dress.  As appropriate for the time, she was wearing head covering since we were going to a Catholic mass.

You can also see a painting that she had painted a few years before.  When they were first married, they moved to California in the Mojave Desert.  At the edge of the Mojave Desert, where it meets the Colorado Desert, is Joshua Tree National Park.  It was definitely a different environment than the small Louisiana town that she grew up in.  It obviously inspired her to paint that unique landscape.  The painting was always displayed in their home and I’m not sure who has it now.  I’m sure it is still being enjoyed.

I was about to close, but then I remembered that I left something out.  Not really.  I had typed it all out and then hit “Control Z” to Undo, but this program doesn’t respond the same way as most of them do and it was all lost.  I had to redo a lot of what I had said.  What I left out was the fact that we were sitting around that old table with all of our chocolate Easter bunnies.  I think that was probably the last time that that happened.  Some of us probably graduated to World’s Finest chocolate bars at the next Easter.  I couldn’t find an Easter photo from 1966 to verify this.  Can you believe it?  I don’t have photo to document that event!  It’s a good thing my coworker in my dream didn’t ask about my Sixth Advent.  I wouldn’t have known what to do!

My Irish Roots in My Hometown

Mary Ann McGrath Bucklin was my great great grandmother. I estimated this photo was taken in the 1880s. This photo has been edited.

I’ve been thinking about my Irish roots this week, because yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day.  One of my classmates put a post on Facebook saying, “I’m actually part Irish from my dad’s mom!”  So I responded to her by saying, “I’m actually part Irish from my mom’s dad!!”  – which is true.  My mom was Betty Lou Bucklin, and her dad was Fred Bucklin.  Fred’s father was Louis Charles Bucklin and his mother was Mary Ann McGrath Bucklin.  When I looked back at my previous posts, I realized that I’ve been negligent of my Irish roots.  It’s been three years since I wrote anything about it.  I’ve been hoping to find the exact year of when they immigrated.  I was thinking that I would find that important morsel of information and write a nice post about it.  It hasn’t happened, but I shouldn’t let that keep me from writing about my Irish peeps.

When I responded to my classmate, I also realized that I usually overlook Mary Ann and talk about being a great great great grandson of Maria Ettadosia Mooney McGrath.  I just love saying that name.  But I want to talk a little about Mary Ann and what she did.  I’ve mentioned her in two other posts, but only in relation to her son Joe who had such a tragic life.  In those posts, her death is just one of the tragedies in his life.  I’m sharing a photo of her that I’ve shared before.  Even when I posted that photo of her before, it was in relation to finding out who Maria Ettadosia was.  So let’s explore Mary Ann’s life.

Mary Ann was born in 1834 in Roscommon, Ireland.  She was the fourth of seven children of Edward and Maria Ettadosia McGrath.  The youngest sibling was born in 1838 in Ireland.  In Ireland at the time, potatoes were a large staple in the diet of the Irish people.  They would have some version of it for almost every meal.  So it’s hard to imagine the massive impact that a potato blight had on the population.  The Irish Potato Famine was in full force in 1845, when Mary Ann was not yet a teenager.  I talk about the tragedies that her son Joe had to endure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Mary Ann endured even more.  From 1845 to 1855 about a million Irish people died from starvation.  And just because the family survived, doesn’t mean that it was an easy time.  I wish I knew more about what they experienced. 

Besides the deaths from lack of food, almost two million people left Ireland in hopes of finding a better situation.  The McGrath family was included in this group.  They left Ireland and settled in Palmer, Massachusetts.  Like I said at the beginning, I haven’t been able to find out when they arrived in the US.  I know they were here by 1854, because that was the year that Mary Ann married James Bucklin in Springfield, Massachusetts.  It was the second marriage for James.  He was married to a woman named Rhoda Maria Gove and they had two children together – James and Mary.  Sadly, Rhoda died at the age of 26 in 1849.

So Mary Ann was 20 years old when she married 33-year-old single father of two James Bucklin on Sept. 21, 1854.  A year later they had a daughter named Jennie.  In 1861 Joseph was born.  At some point in the next few years the family moved from Massachusetts to Iowa.  They were there at least by 1864, because Edd Bucklin was born in Sand Springs, Iowa, that year.  Sand Springs is in Delaware County and the family stayed in this area for another 10 years.  My great grandfather Louis Charles Bucklin was born April 11, 1873, in Masonville, which is in Delaware County.

When the family moved south to Louisiana in 1884, Mary Ann was a 50-year-old mother of four and step-mother of two.  And she was a grandmother!  Jennie gave birth to a son named Clarence Kenyon in 1879.  She was married to another man named Ben Taylor by 1884, and they came down to Louisiana with the family.  Jennie had a daughter named Vera shortly after arriving in the south.  So Mary Ann had two grandchildren in 1884, but there were more to come through the years.

But now that I’ve got her down to Louisiana, I wanted to tell about her influence in my hometown of Jennings, Louisiana.  When we were kids, we used to go to the big library on Cary Avenue.  It is a public library and it is named the Jennings Carnegie Public Library.  I always liked that old, cool library when I was young.  It had such a soothing smell of old paper.  I wasn’t aware of its connection to my ancestor until I was older.  So when I went to my 40 year High School Reunion in 2019, I decided to look into the connection that I had heard about.  I arrived in Jennings a little earlier so I could go to that old library and see if there was any family history information available.

Newspaper article about the Jennings Carnegie Public Library mentions my great great grandmother Mary A. Bucklin.

Sure enough, there was.  I found a letter that was written to my great grandfather Louis Bucklin.  But more importantly, I found a newspaper article that talked about the founding of the library I had always been fond of.  It spoke about the Organization of the library, “The library society grew out of a society for mutual aid, social and intellectual improvement formed by the following ladies…” and the second person listed is none other than Mary A. Bucklin, my great great grandmother.

It looks like she was present at the first meeting which was held on January 24, 1885.  This is less than a year after the family moved down to Louisiana.  This must have been something important to her, because they didn’t live in Jennings proper.  They were homesteading north of Jennings around the Hathaway area.  She would have been taking a wagon into town and meeting with those other ladies to discuss ways to improve the area. 

I don’t know much more about her involvement, but I like the fact that she is linked to the beginnings of that old library I know so well.  She was also involved in the lives of her children and grandchildren who lived in the area.  Her son Joe lived in Jennings with his wife and two daughters.  But then his wife died in 1899 after giving birth to a son.  At the end of that year his 6-year-old daughter died as well.  Joe must have been having a hard time taking care of his infant son and other daughter, because Mary Ann went to live with them to help him out.  (James had died in 1890.)  

She was only able to help out for a few months, then she came down with the flu.  She ended up dying from that on April 10, 1900, in Jennings at the age of 66.  She is buried in an unmarked grave at the Jennings Greenwood cemetery.  That is another fact I  was unaware of when growing up in Jennings.  I’m glad to know about her connections to Jennings and I’m proud to be the great great grandson of Mary Ann McGrath Bucklin.  Erin go bragh.


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