Our Myrtle the Student: Year One

I thought I’d follow up last week’s post about my paternal grandmother in school with the same kind of post about my maternal grandmother.  After I found those photos of my paternal grandmother Erie Patureau at SLI (Southwestern Louisiana Institute in Lafayette), I decided to look for something similar for my maternal grandmother Myrtle Phenice. That’s because I knew that they had both gone to the same school and became teachers after they graduated.  They were not there at the same time, because Erie Patureau was eleven years older than Myrtle Phenice.

First year class of SLI in 1926 includes my grandmother Myrtle Phenice.

So I looked and I found.  There was a scanned copy of the 1926 yearbook from SLI, or L’Acadien as it was called.  On page 54 of the book was a photo of the first year class.  I’ve looked through the photo and have not been able to pick her out of the group of students.  The class membership certainly increased since the time that Erie was a student!  I know she is in the class, because she is listed in the class a few pages later.

When I was looking through these yearbooks, I found it interesting to see other names that I recognize.   In the first year class Myrtle Phenice is listed on page 58.  In the same class, but on the previous page, is listed Thornwell Fay Landry.  You probably don’t recognize the name, but I do.  I’ve shared a photo of him before, because he is my father’s first cousin.  Their fathers were brothers (Robert Joseph Landry AKA Pee Paw & Louis Joseph Landry AKA Uncle Louie).  He was also Erie’s half first cousin because their mothers were half sisters (Marie Therese Landry & Clemence Babin AKA Aunt Clem).

Naomi “Sis” Landry on bottom right.

Too bad they didn’t do individual photos for the freshman class.  I would have been excited to see a photo of my Grandma that I haven’t seen before.  They did have individual photos of the upperclassmen.  And who was in the class above them?  None other that our Landry cousin Sis.  I have mentioned her before.  She made a video about Landry family history with my dad in about 1990.  She identifies a lot of family members in some of those old family photos she had.  But her name in the book is shown as her real name Naomi Landry.  She looks pretty stylish in the photo of her.  Not the much older lady I know from the video.  She was the sister of Thornwell Fay.   So even though they were more than twenty years older than my dad, they were still first cousins.  That’s because Pee Paw was the youngest of all of his siblings.

The other person of interest that I found in the yearbook wasn’t a family member.  That’s not entirely accurate.  The person I’m talking about is Paul Edwin Marionneaux.  He was also in the sophomore class, but more importantly he is my 7th cousin.  While that seems like a pretty distant relative, his daughter is a friend of mine and we have common DNA according to 23andMe.  And even though her father is about the same age as my grandmother, she is younger than I am.

When I was growing up, I never imagined all of the connections that the older generations might have had.  Just this yearbook shows that my grandmother’s path crossed some of my dad’s cousins’ paths.  And one of those distant cousins had a daughter that I am friends with now.  Things like this make you say, “It’s a small world.”  I’m sure I’ll find more connections like this as I continue to explore my family’s history.

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