I thought I’d write a story about my sister Jodie since today is her birthday. She was born 68 years ago today, but only lived for 36 years. When I realized that it was her birthday, I decided to write a post about her. I then remembered this photo that I had worked on a few weeks ago. It’s a fun photo of her from 1970 and it brings up so many memories for me.
It’s a photo of her playing the guitar in the den of our house at 758 Lucy Street in Jennings, Louisiana. The guitar was my dad’s and it usually would hang on the back wall next to the ukulele that you can see behind her. She’s sitting on a rattan chair that we had back then. On the other side of the room was a matching couch. In the middle of the room was the pool table, which you can see the edge of in the photo.
It was around this time that things were changing in the Landry household. Before this time, the family consisted of Bob, Betty (nee Bucklin), Jodie, Rob, Karen, Al, Van (me), and Jamie Landry. We all lived together in a three bedroom house with one small bathroom. Around this time we started to accept others into our circle. Mainly I was thinking about Jodie’s boyfriend at the time. She started dating him sometime around her junior year in high school. I call this post “A First Date” because I remember her first date with him. But I don’t think it was her first date ever. Since her boyfriend at the time is still alive and I don’t have permission to identify him, I’ll just refer to him as FD (First Date).
Let me set up the scene. Before this first date occurred with FD, there had been a thunderstorm or heavy rain in the area. The only reason I know that is because of what happened when we had heavy rains on our street. We had a ditch across the front of the yard and it would be full of water after a rain. So I used to go out and play in the ditch and catch little crawfish. I had two hard, clear plastic containers that we had gotten at Christmas time. They were just the packaging for gyroscopes that Al and I had bought each other without the other one knowing about it. They worked perfectly for keeping crawfish. So I had a few crawfish in the two containers and I left them at the end of the sidewalk at our house. The sidewalk was from the front door to about six feet from the edge of the road.
This was on the day of the first date. I must have known about it because Jodie was getting ready for it and we all knew what was going on in our house. So FD came to our house to pick up Jodie. He must have come in the house and talked to my parents. Then he walked Jodie out of the house through the side door. At least that’s what I picture now. And then something got into me to say something encouraging to the departing couple. So I opened the front door, leaned out, and shouted, “Y’all kiss!”
I never really knew what Jodie or FD thought about this. I’m sure my sister was somewhat embarrassed that her bratty younger brother would do such a thing. I probably thought it was funny at the time, and it still makes me laugh to this day. Maybe it helped them break the ice if there was any ice occurring. Funnily enough, it didn’t scare him away. I would think it would be intimidating to meet a family of eight people who are a tight knit family that aren’t used to “intruders.” Maybe he didn’t see it that way. We weren’t scary people, after all.
Anyway, at the end of the first date I wasn’t there to grill them or inquire about details. I was probably asleep in bed or something. So I woke up the next morning and decided to go check up on my crawfish. Can you imagine my disappointment when I discovered that they were gone? Gone! And the containers that they had been kept in were broken! Why would someone do such a horrible thing to a young innocent boy in the small town of Jennings? It was criminal!
I went and told my mom about it and she let me know that it wasn’t done maliciously. When FD had brought Jodie home from their first date, he walked her from his car to the house on the sidewalk. And we all know what was sitting at the end of the sidewalk – my crawfish. He didn’t see them in the dark and stepped on them and sent my crawfish scattering. At least that’s what I’ve always told myself. I never looked too closely to see if there were any little carcasses from any injured crawfish trying to crawl to safety. So the crawfish fled back to their little crawfish families and I got over the loss of their company.
So Jodie and FD started dating and I think he may have even taken this photo. He was a guitar player and a singer, so he got along well with the rest of us. I remember a lot of singing, fishing, and making ice cream with the family during that time. It was the first step in the move to a wider family group. They didn’t stay together, but it was the start of a change that led to brother-in-laws, sister-in-laws, nieces, nephews, and more.