Remembering Bob & Betty…and a Ring

This week marks the fifth anniversary of the death of my parents.  It was five years for my mom yesterday – January 19 – and my dad’s anniversary is on the 24th.  I thought I would write something about them today, so that’s what I’m doing.  But I thought I’d write about a previous anniversary.  My parents were married on November 1, 1952, in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  Their 25th anniversary was in 1977, but this photo was from two months later.

Betty Lou Bucklin Landry and Robert Joseph “Bob” Landry, Jr. at 758 Lucy Street in Jennings, Louisiana, on Jan. 4, 1978.

And even though I took these photos myself with my new Canon TX camera that I got the Christmas of 1977,  I don’t think they are all that great.  But my memories of the event are what convinced me to post these photos.  The photos were taken on January 4, 1978, in the den at our home in Jennings.  I was a junior in high school, so I was still living at home.

The photos show many details that were commonplace in the Landry household in the 70s.  In the foreground are two chairs that were “purchased” at the S&H Green Stamp store.  They were foldable and stackable.  They used to be our dining room chairs until we upgraded to wooden chairs with a matching table.  We probably did that around 1973 with money that my dad inherited at the death of his mother.  It also helped to pay for the paneling and carpet in the living room.   You gotta love the 70s!  You can see the wooden table and chairs in the second photo if you know what you’re looking for.  A hint:  there is a box of Cheerios on the table!

The other thing to note is the yellow National Geographic magazine sitting on the speaker between mom and dad.  We always had a subscription to this magazine.  On the other side of this room, there were some shelves in the corner.  On a few of these shelves were the National Geographic magazines that were collected all the way back to 1958 or so.  I just knew that if they were from before I was born, they were old.  I think the speakers were relatively new as well.  My dad and Uncle Johnny built a cabinet for a stereo system in the living room.  But we were really fancy and ran some wires under the house so we could have sound in the den as well.  If only we had a remote control for the TV!

My mom showing off her sparkly new diamond ring to my sisters Jamie and Karen.

Now let me tell you what is going on in these photos.  When my parents’ 25th anniversary was coming around, my mom made some subtle hints that she would like a diamond ring.  When my parents got married, they exchanged wedding rings and they were both gold bands.  Later on, my mom bought a ring that had two tiny diamonds on it for herself.  But she decided that she wanted a ring that had a diamond in it that she could see without her reading glasses. 

Well, their anniversary came and went on Nov. 1, 1977, and there was no ring.  I guess her hint was too subtle for Bob Landry.  I’m sure he got her something for their anniversary, but it wasn’t a ring with a diamond on it that she could see without her readers.  That was a very specific desire of hers.  She let him know that she was disappointed that it hadn’t happened.  And since we were making the big bucks from our singing engagement at Shakey’s Pizza Parlor in Lake Charles, she knew that he could afford it.

My dad eventually got the hint.  He went out and bought my mom a ring from Gem Jewelers in town.  On January 4 (not any type of anniversary or birthday) he surprised her with the ring.  He must have let me know about it beforehand, otherwise I wouldn’t have the picture of him surprising her.  You can see that there is a glass sitting next to her, as well as a Harlequin romance novel.  My mom liked to read those books.  (As you can see from the second photo, my sister Karen did, too.)  So my mom was sitting on the couch in the den reading her book and drinking a refreshing beverage when my dad sprung his surprise on her.   She was smiling really big and looking down at the ring with her reading glasses in that first photo.  I was across the room so I could sneak the photo.  That’s my excuse for why the photo isn’t so great.  But I still love it.  It’s so candid – my favorite kind of photo.

You can see that she removed her glasses in the second photo.  She was checking to make sure she could still see the diamond without the glasses.  It was a great success.  She approved.  Jamie and Karen had to check it out as well.  I’m not sure what size it was, but that’s not really so important.  My mom wasn’t a demanding or extravagant person, but for some reason this was something that she really wanted.  My dad was glad that she liked his choice.   So we’ll call it a delayed – yet satisfactory – 25th anniversary gift from my dad to my mom.

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