I left Bunkie in the
mid-1950's under the shadow of the “Owl'sNest” and having made it all the way to
the 10th grade after four years at Bunkie High. I have not been back
among my many Bunkie classmates until this reunion. Returning to Bunkie with my
wife, Silvia, for the 50's Decade Reunion was an event that we looked forward to
with mixed feelings: Silvia knew absolutely nothing about this particular period
of my life and I envisioned a welcome return to a life I had left far behind.
It didn't take
long for Silvia to realize that Bunkie lived up to its reputation as being one
of the truly two best spots on “Topside of God's Green Earth.” The words “one of
the two” is inserted because the village of Zermatt, Switzerland, where we were
married, shares this special attribute. In this respect, I want to thank
everyone for the warm hospitality and heartfelt welcome given to her.
We first learned
about the 50's Decade Reunion during the annual Louisiana Mardi Gras celebration
that was held in February at Washington, D.C.
Don and Jackie Hines, who invited us to the Mardi Gras party, asked Silvia and
I to visit them while the Louisiana Legislature was in session. He said we
could do this either before or after attending the reunion. Arriving in Baton
Rouge at the Capitol around noon on Tuesday, April 20, Don not only introduced
us to the body of the Louisiana Senate, (thank you, Don!) but more importantly,
to the Mayor of Bunkie, Gerard Moreau. Gerard, displaying a unique and
remarkable personality, became an instant and open friend to both of us,
reminiscing about people that we knew in Bunkie and remarking that he was
eagerly looking forward to the 50's Reunion Decade which was just a couple of
days away. Afterwards, he proudly gave us a complete tour of the historic
State Capitol Building and his presence at the evening events that we attended
with Don made the occasions very enjoyable.
next night, in the music room at the Bailey in Bunkie, he discarded his Mayor's
hat and became citizen Gerard Moreau. Dancing with Silvia, I noticed a
movement on three of the glass framed windows of the door leading to the outside
patio - it was Gerard with his face pressed on the middle window holding two
giant bullfrogs against the two immediate windows next to his face and motioning
for me to tell Silvia to turn around. “My God,” I said to Silvia, “look at
the door!” She took an extra step and jumped backwards - never before
seeing such a sight decorating a window! Gerard, with a big grin, invited
us to the patio outside the room, and explained to Silvia the culinary pleasures
of bullfrogs and how to catch them. It was indeed a remarkable way to
close out our first day in Bunkie.
Bailey Hotel, like a diminishing dream, is one of the few remaining icons of
Bunkie. In the unique Southern tradition of fine hospitality, the Bailey
surpassed even that well-known Southern reputation. Upon our arrival, Pat
Barone warmly welcomed us and took care of every request we had. However, the
one thing that she could not control was the trains and their loud horns that
kept us awaken most of the night. The last time I remember the train horns of
Bunkie was during Conrad Goette's English classes on the third floor of Bunkie
High in the 1950's.
Prior to our arrival at the Bailey, an absolutely
beautiful bouquet of flowers was placed in our room by Ina-Claire Marchive.
(Thank you very much, Ina-Claire - what a nice welcome to Bunkie!) Our room was
223, on the top floor at the corner, which gave us two windows for a better view
of our immediate surroundings, including the laziness of Bayou Huffpower that
was superb. Before leaving in the evening to visit family friends, we met the
first of the many Bunkiens that would be arriving for the 50’s Decade Reunion –
Ronald Sawyer. He hadn’t changed much, except that he seemed taller.
The next morning, I left alone to pick up the
“Welcome Package” at the Haas Auditorium that contained the tickets to the
three-day event. The first two people I met were Mickey and Bill Hunt - yes,
Bill Hunt, in person. His recent article, “Yes, I Remember Bunkie” published
on Bunkie.com, was one of the best that I have ever read about Bunkie during
that particular period of time - the 1940's/1950's. His friendliness and
outward greeting was the same that it has always been. When you talk about
Bunkie, you have to mention Bill. His remarks are always interesting. I
commented about a relative of his that was a neighbor of mine when I lived in
Texas 50 years ago. Bill’s outstanding personality is one of the several
reasons that he will forever be remembered in Bunkie. Next, I talked to Hugh
Bradley and Bubba Davis just before entering the Haas Auditorium.
I believe the first person I met upon entering
the old music room was John ‘Cut-Cut’ Clarke. John hasn't changed at all, and
for sure he does not look fifty years older from when I last remembered him in
the mid-1950's. For those of you who do not know how John got the nickname
Cut-Cut, here it is: John, an extraordinarily excellent pool player, was famous
for seemingly always “cutting” the balls into the center pool table pockets and
soon acquired the name of “Cut” for continually exhibiting this particular
skill. The double "Cut" derived when those watching him would begin shouting:
“cut the ball, Cut,” thus “Cut-Cut.” Then along came John's lovely wife,
Lynette. She is the same exciting person that she has always been and still
retains her immensely attractive smile. I think that Lynette was three years
behind me in High School. Lynette and John really enjoyed the Decade Reunion
that, I took care of the reason for being at the Haas Auditorium - obtaining the
Decade Reunion welcome kit - which I received from Paul and Anne Plaisance who
were sitting together at the first table upon entering the room. Anne asked if
I wanted to keep the CD that was enclosed in the welcome package that Bobby
Richardson had recorded for all the participants for the Decade Reunion. “Only
if some of the songs of Hank Williams are included,” I replied. When she found
that his songs were there, I readily accepted the CD. Thanks, Bobby - on our
two-day drive home, we listened to your CD regularly. It contains wonderful and
very well programmed music from the 1950's.
Anne and Paul looked great. How can anyone say that
beautiful Anne is not as lovely as ever? When reviewing the talent that Bunkie
has produced over the years, Paul and Anne rank among the best. They could
easily be Mr. and Ms. Bunkie. Paul is one of only two Bunkiens from the Decade
of the 1950’s that was promoted into the Senior Executive Service in the Civil
Service of the U.S. Government - a rank equal to that of a General.
It was time to go back to the hotel for Silvia. Upon
returning to the Auditorium, we first met Alice Holland. Alice has always been
special. Has anyone ever seen Alice Holland without a smile that doesn't light
up the room? When we played baseball next to where she lived 50 years ago, she
had the same refreshing smile! As Alice had visited with us in Bangkok,
Thailand about 18 years ago, I reintroduced her to Silvia and she remembered the
visit to our high-rise apartment. Alice invited us to view the inside of the
refurbished Haas Auditorium. What a magnificent sight that was. In observing
the wide-open space, it was hard to believe all the hours and days that that
everyone from Bunkie High spent at that place. In our memory, the Haas
Auditorium is still the “heartbeat” of Bunkie. Thanks, Alice, for the tour.
At this time, a very good Eola friend was standing
near-by, Glenda Boone Roberts and her husband, Roy. It really is a small world
- Roy and Glenda live in Victoria, Texas - which is just a short distance from
where I lived when I was completing high school there in the 1950's. Always
attractive, Glenda is wonderful to be around, as is Roy. We were with them
constantly for our four days in Bunkie - both at the events and at late evenings
in the Bailey Hotel dance room. We certainly had good times together.
reminded me of something that I had completely forgotten - the time that I put a
dead bird behind a picture in Mr. Kirby Tyrone's English literature class.
However, there is more to the story: Arriving in the classroom a couple of
minutes before the beginning of class I was standing by one of the open windows
and spotted a dead bird near the sidewalk. As Bootsie Davis was nearby, I got
his attention and asked that he throw the bird up to me on the second floor. As
he was in the process of throwing it to me, Mr. Hatley, looking out of the
window of the Music Room in the Haas Auditorium, noticed Bootsie throwing the
dead bird into Mr. Tyrone’s classroom. He quickly walked over to report this to
Mr. Massey, the Principal, and en-route to his office called out to Bootsie and
demanded that he come with him to the office. Shortly thereafter, the three of
them, Mr. Massey, Mr. Hatley and Bootsie, arrived at the door of Mr. Kirby
Tyrone’s classroom. That’s the reason that the bird was behind the picture on
the wall – I put it there when I noticed Mr. Hatley hastily walking towards the
school with Bootsie in tow. To Mr. Hatley’s utmost consternation, neither he,
Mr. Massey or Mr. Tyrone could find the dead bird. This was in 1952.
Next, we talked with Richard Roy, Bobby Richardson
and Shang and Canoe Lutz. Even after 50 years, they were easily recognizable.
I told Richard that I was on his father's school bus in 1952 when the police
stopped it and asked me to come along with them and go to the Parish Courthouse
in Marksville to question me about the "Owl's Nest". Richard said that his dad
had never told him that. This was a real credit to his father as I had asked
Mr. Roy to keep this to himself when I departed the bus. Bobby Richardson was
on our baseball team when we played Morrow a couple of times and Shang was on
our Eola Bulldogs softball team in 1948. Because of his immense presence, I
told Shang that I guessed that the band would stop playing for a moment when he
entered the room!! Canoe was several years younger and he is as friendly as
Now, it was about 12:00 o'clock and since we had not
had breakfast, I asked about places to eat. John Clarke recommended the Dugout,
and before I realized it, Silvia and I, along with my brother Kelley, were on
our way there. However, before we left, I asked Paul Plaisance if he kept a
cooler of beer under the table where he was sitting. No, he said and Anne,
sitting just next to Paul, replied that if I wanted a beer I would have to come
to 800 Beech Sreet between 3 and 6 in the afternoon. I told her that we would
After lunch at the lively Dugout, Silvia and I
dropped Kelley off at the Haas Auditorium and we went downtown for a stroll down
Main Street. We visited three places - Parrino's Drug Store, Griffins Antique
Shop, and the outside garden shop next to the railroad track, a place called
Gibko. All of the people at these places commented about the interesting people
that were returning for the Decade Reunion.
Around 4 p.m., we drove to 800 Beech Street for our
pre-arranged get-together with Anne and Paul Plaisance. Arriving at the front
entrance to their early 1900 home that was splendidly redone, Anne, with a large
smile, commented that our visit must be “formal” since we were arriving at the
front door. Anne invited us for a tour of their home that we thoroughly enjoyed
and she excitedly described the ways and means of improving their one hundred
year old home. With a wide selection of beer to choose and enjoy, we covered a
wide range of subjects. I have to say that Paul has an unusual in-depth
knowledge of current international events, country by country, particularly in
the Middle East. Anne and Silvia enjoyed their visit together. It was a warm
and wonderful hour that we spent with them. Being in their company is always a
special event. We returned to the Bailey and rested for a while before arriving
at the Haas Auditorium for the Cajun Crawfish Boil around 7 p.m.
The first Bunkiens from the 50's we met that evening
were two very close friends - Lucille Carter and Catherine Nettles. How
wonderful they looked! I was in the first grade with Lucille at St. Anthony's
about 65 years ago, and I have to say that she still has that distinct “Carter”
look. I would have recognized her anywhere. It was a pleasure talking with
Lucille after all these years. Her father was my godfather.
Silvia commented that Catherine Nettles had the most
clear sparkling blue eyes and lovely smile. About this time, an old friend from
Eola, M.C. Lutz, appeared in front of me. “M.C. Lutz,” I said. The first thing
he said was for me to go over to that corner, about 45 feet from where he was
standing, and went through the motion of pitching softball. Yes, he was the
pitcher and I was the catcher in those wonder days of 1948 when Eola had a
softball team - the Eola Bulldogs. M.C. said the LaFleur's and Lutz's comprised
six members of the team, with a big M.C. Lutz laugh. It was simply great seeing
M.C. after all these years. M.C. was not a leader; he was the leader.
We all knew that. I told him how much I appreciated the effort and time that
his father spent with us during our young years in Eola. At this time a very
attractive Pat Feazel Lutz appeared and gave us a gracious greeting. She looked
lovely. Unfortunately, a photo was taken with M.C., Pat, Silvia and I - that
left our heads off - and no trick in the world can re-create it to include our
heads! Sorry, M.C. - we'll try harder next time. I really enjoyed seeing M.C.
Simultaneously, Burton and Lloyd Newton were at our
side. Burton replied that because I immediately said his name meant he hadn't
changed at all! I also thought that Estelle looked tremendous. Burton and I
used to open the grate of the gas heated floor furnace at St. Anthony's on
orders of the Nuns - presumably to give a lesson to some of the students that
did not follow the instructions of the teachers. Lloyd, as always, remains
Lloyd - a complete gentleman, friend, and excellent companion over the years.
Lloyd thanked me for sending him some Christmas cards from far-away-places years
ago. He certainly has a good memory. Lloyd and Nancy Jo invited us to their
home on Bayou Boeuf for Friday afternoon, but we just could not make it.
Seeing Jackie and Bobby Rachal was an exceptional
moment. Again, 50 years plus have passed since I was in their presence. Jackie
and Bobby remain a very attractive couple. Doris Townsend, Marion and James
were there too. They are indeed lifelong friends. All those school bus rides
with M.C. and his brothers, and with Doris will never be forgotten. Marion and
James - they looked strong and tough, just like their father, Mr. Gus. I have
to say that when Mr. Gus spoke while supervising the construction of board roads
in the woods and swamps in a hundred mile radius of Bunkie, an immediate
reaction always followed. It was great seeing James and Marion - two
outstanding brothers from a remarkable family.
About this time, P. T. Palermo was at our side
talking about our days working in Bayou Gauche, in southern Louisiana during the
mid-1950's. Then he started laughing and we re-lived the ride from Bayou Gauche
to Bunkie in his brand new red Ford when he was on Fatty Candella's orders to
get Dooley Wolf in Bunkie by 7:00 p.m. for an important softball game. It was a
trip that is remembered to this day because Dooley had a problem and Leo
Godchaux had a paycheck. P.T., following Fatty's orders, was determined to be
in Bunkie for the 7:00 p.m. softball game. To accomplish this feat for the
180-mile trip from Bayou Gauche, P.T. decided that there would be no stopping
whatsoever for the trip to Bunkie.
It didn't matter to P.T. that Dooley had an urgent
call of nature while on the road between Krotz Springs and Bunkie. Leo Godchaux,
being extremely frightened by P.T.'s 80+ MPH driving had taken off his shoes and
inserted his bi-weekly pay check into his shoe because, he said, “if we have a
wreck, my Mama would find my shoes and the check would be secure.” Leo was
sitting on the back seat between Dooley and Sam Lindsay, and I was on the
passenger side of the front seat and Len Brown was in the middle position.
Dooley really had to relieve himself and I offered my large .25 cents potato
chip bag, a very large bag in those days. Dooley completely filled it and
instead of just throwing it out of the window, he gave it a sort of backward
swing, across Leo, so it would easily be ejected from the red Ford automobile.
However, it burst directly over Leo and completely filled both of his shoes,
causing significant damage to his paycheck. To say the least, this was not an
enjoyable ride for Leo. P.T. accomplished his mission and Dooley was in Bunkie
for the 7:00 p.m. game.
now, time was passing and seemingly everyone was just about finished eating
crayfish and we were still talking. We helped ourselves to a huge serving and
sat next to Bill Hunt and Eddie Grimshaw and his wife, Tina. I had forgotten
how to eat crayfish - can you believe this? Bill Hunt, thankfully, demonstrated
the procedure to Silvia and me. Eddie Grimshaw had a look of genuine surprise
when he realized that I really did not know how to extract the meat from the
tail of the crayfish! Our only comment was two words: “Unbelievably
finishing, I approached Don Fletcher and Anita because I wanted to tell them how
happy we were to attend such a well-organized event that everyone was enjoying.
I mentioned to them their efforts were appreciated by all in attendance. He
surely was enjoying himself as was his gorgeous wife, Anita. Thank you, Don and
Anita for this remarkable event!
time we talked with Billie Jon and Oliver, Tooney and Ralph Goudeau, Barbara
Michel, Barbara Franks, Mercedes Aymond, Marie Lipoma, Stella Landry, Claude and
Cecilia Ferguson, Barbara Dee Bordelon, Harold Brown, Fred Vollman, Ralph
Crouch, and Paxton McCoy. Paxton noted that he had a relative in Texas where I
used to live and I replied that yes, I knew that - his aunt lived next to the
house where I was living - really a small world. How tall are you, Ralph
Crouch? I mentioned to Gerald Dubroc and his pretty wife, Diane, that I had
talked with a relative of theirs, State Representative Ronnie Johns while in
Baton Rouge just a couple of days earlier with Don Hines.
It was nice to see Fred Vollman- both Silvia and I met his very, very
beautiful daughter about two years ago at one of the Mardi Gras events in
Washington, D.C., and we told Fred how pleased we were to meet her. Lillian
Barker spoke to us and said a few words about Ms. Finley's English class. Also
I had the pleasure of seeing Charles Ford. I enjoyed discussing with Bobby
Chatelain the art of hitting baseballs on the slate roof of his father's garage
that was near the St. Anthony's playground and how angry his dad was about his
slate top roof being constantly damaged.
Not long after finishing the crayfish, I noticed
someone looking in our direction -- it was Pam Biles. We shared a delightful
few minutes talking about our days at Bunkie High. I also told her that I
worked a couple of summers with her dad, Mr. Palmer Biles when he was a foreman
for the Townsend Brothers Construction Company. We also had a few exchanges
with her cousins, Dicky and Sara Biles. As we left to return to the hotel, we
saw Nicky Parrino and his wife and talked about how nice the Decade Reunion
event was. We said good night to Nicky and left for the Bailey. After, we
danced to the music of a wonderful band until it closed, which was around 2:00
a.m. Leaving the room, we stopped to talk with S.L. Campbell - whose great-aunt
Chris married Bill Hunt's great-uncle Jesse. They both lived in the same town
of LaWard, Texas where I lived in the 1950's. S.L., it was nice to see
We slept soundly - either we were extremely tired
after the day's festivities or the trains forgot to sound their warning horns on
Thursday night considering that we did not sleep at all on Wednesday night.
After visiting family friends during most of the day, we returned to the Bailey
before leaving for the 7:00 p.m. Cochon de Lait feast and program.
As it turned out, another great evening was already
beginning. Almost immediately upon entering the Haas Auditorium, we were
approached by Alice Ladnier Aymond and taken to the area where her husband, Dave
was located. We shared an exciting few minutes together and Dave Aymond is
still the Dave that I knew years ago. We talked about the foot race across the
Bayou du Lac Bridge that we had upon returning from a 4-H meeting in Marksville
in the late 1940's while we were students at St. Anthony's. We all remember
this because Dave won the race. Wonderful seeing you, Dave!
tall in front of us was the always-remarkable Boo Devillier - the same Boo that
I began the first grade with at St. Anthony's in the very early 1940's. He put
his two large hands on my shoulders and looking me directly in my eyes, said:
“Jerry, you're my hero!!” And when he was introduced to Silvia, he said
something quite different: “How did you manage to stay out of jail?” Then I
asked him why he had jumped out of the window when we were in the 4th
grade? Boo replied that he "was asked to sing!” Thinking about this, I guess I
would have done the same thing. Silvia told me that she thought Boo was the
best looking man there. I can't comment on that! We spoke with Boo's wife,
Jo-Ann who is still beautiful to this day. She said she remembered Silvia's
photo in the Bunkie Record when we were married. Jo-Ann, you have a
remarkable memory - that was 32 years ago! I asked Jo-Ann if Sally Reynolds was
present and then Sally joined us. They are two striking ladies.
The program was moving forward at a fast pace and we
found ourselves looking for a place to sit. The only remaining open seats were
on the last row - and we lucked up as my brother Dan was sitting there with our
very good friend, Alice Holland. It's always exciting to be with Alice - so
real and so natural. It's really easy to talk with her. Shortly thereafter,
Gerard Moreau asked me to join him and Don Hines for the unveiling of a plaque
that recognized Don's great efforts in sponsoring and overseeing the renovation
of Haas Auditorium. Later, Gerard also asked that I join them for a
photograph. Thank you, Gerard.
I was completely surprised when Don recalled the
“Owl's Nest” episode of 1952. The events regarding this experience forced me to
continue my high school education in Texas. I have to say that Don related the
background very accurately.
However, one memorable occurrence was not mentioned.
While Sammie Guillot and I were inside the "Owl's Nest" early one morning around
2:00am, the windows had fogged-up and upon hearing a noise outside the front
entrance door, I took my hand to clear the humidity on the window pane so I
could look outside and see what the noise was about. While doing this, a
policeman, standing directly opposite me, outside the front door, was doing
exactly the same thing, on the same window! We were eyeball to eyeball and I
blinked. "Sammy, we have to get out of here - now"!! Always keeping an escape
window open, we ran through the building to the back room and I jumped through
the top section of a double window at the back of the building. Sammy quickly
followed, but got tied up in the window shade string that was attached. When he
finally cleared the window, the string was wrapped around his neck with the
shade attached - he looked like Superman running as fast as he could from the
building towards Bayou Huffpower!
Time does make for a change. No one was clapping
their hands at that time back in 1952 when this incident played-out. Thanks,
Don, for the recognition and the kind words. I really do appreciate your
Following Don’s speech, Jesse Baker came and sat next
to us and made a few comments about the “Owl’s Nest.” Jesse looks the same as
he always did – if he didn’t have a beard he would appear to be exactly the same
as the photo in the 1954 Bunavola.
Sharpe stopped by and wanted to know why my hair wasn’t black anymore, and that
it was more the color of his – pure white. My comment to Mr. Sharpe was that he
was the teacher that I most remembered at Bunkie High, and he wanted to know how
did he obtain that distinction? My response was that on the first day of the
first class that I had with him which was typing, he instructed us on how to
dispose of a sheet of paper. His instructions were not to “crumble” the sheet
of paper, but to insert the paper into the wastebasket without bending, folding
or crumbling it. This way, according to him, you could put a thousand sheets of
paper in a wastebasket instead of a limited few sheets. Mr. Sharpe remembered
this, and replied that he made sure that everyone followed his instructions on
how to dispose of a sheet of paper. That’s what I remember about Mr. Sharpe.
This was in 1950.
Listening to the fine evening program describing each
class from 1950 - 1960 was rewarding as the remarks by the speakers brought back
many memories. This event was very well presented, and everyone appreciated the
efforts of the representatives of each class.
We returned to the Bailey and along with Glenda and
Roy, and Judy and Marvin Thevenot, danced until the place closed around 02:00
a.m. Again, it was a wonderful way to complete a day celebrating the Decade
Saturday, April 24
After visiting with family members and my godmother,
Mary-Virginia Melancon, who always seem to be looking remarkably splendid,
Silvia and I arrived at Jackie and Don Hines' residence. Jackie had prepared an
interesting and tasty assortment of Hors d'Oeuvres that was served with Chianti
Classico Argenina, a smooth red Italian wine from Tuscany that Silvia presented
when we arrived. While enjoying the moment, we reminisced about memorable
events from our High School days in Bunkie.
I recounted to Don and Jackie that I
remembered the first day that Don walked into Bunkie High School. It was in
late summer, 1949 and Don and I were looking for Mr. Edwards' civics class. We
both had the distinct honor, along with our other classmates that happened to be
in this particular class - because this was the first day of the first class
that Mr. Edwards instructed during his several years in Bunkie. After
introducing himself, he talked about developing a winning football team and a
winning team comes from students with good grades and good attendance records.
Mr. Edwards told our civics class that every member of his football team must
know what the Motto of the United States is because the Motto of the United
States would, in a general sense, apply to his football team.
Then Mr. Edwards asked the question: What is the
Motto of the United States? No responses. Then he asked everyone to reach in
their pockets and look at their nickels -- because the Motto is written on the
"tails" side of the nickel. I have to admit that I had the unique pleasure of
responding to the first question that Mr. Edwards asked during his several years
at Bunkie High. Searching for a nickel in my pocket, I quickly raised my hand
and he proudly asked me my name. OK, "Jerry, tell the class what the Motto of
the United States is" -- "Mr. Edwards", I replied, "my nickel has five cents
written on the 'tails' side of the coin"!!
mentioned to Jackie that I remembered how beautiful a bride she was when they
were married in Marksville in 1957. Silvia recalled the magnificent Mardi Gras
parties in Washington the last few years and how much we enjoyed being with them
for the celebration. Jackie and Don gave us a tour of their well decorated home
both inside and outside. It was a most relaxing evening. We soon departed for
the Haas Auditorium.
In my opinion, Don Hines is the personification of
Bunkie; all of us in Bunkie, Avoyelles, the surrounding parishes and many others
throughout the state, recognize Don's many years of extraordinary contributions
to improve the conditions and health of the people that he represents. His
significant role as President of the Senate bodes well for the State of
Louisiana and particularly, Bunkie. Thanks, Jackie and Don, for working so hard
for all of us.
Arriving at the Haas Auditorium, we met two more
friends from many years ago: Hilda Firmin - still pretty as always, and Leo
Godchaux - my colleague from our summertime days of working in Bayou Gauche and
Paradis, Louisiana. Time has been good to both Hilda and Leo. It was
particularly nice to see both of them – but I didn’t have the heart to ask Leo
if he had a problem cashing his 1953 paycheck that he carried from Bayou Gauche
to Bunkie in P.T’s red Ford automobile.
“The Boogie Kings” were truly the kings of the
evening as their music was magnificent for this special occasion. I know my
limits - and I have to say that I immensely enjoyed the moment when Silvia
danced with Don Fletcher - doing the “Boogie.” The events of Saturday evening
were an unforgettable way to close out one of the most remarkable celebrations
that Bunkie will ever have.
As with the established pattern of the previous
evenings of ending the night, we went to the dance room at the Bailey but this
time the music was too loud and the crowd was too large. At 2:00 a.m., we
joined Judy and Marvin Thevenot for an early breakfast. Pauline, a superb
waitress, took very good care of us.
Sunday, April 25
On Sunday morning, my brother Kelley visited to say
good-bye. While he was there we took a few photos. We also said good-bye to
others: M.C. and Pat Lutz, Glenda and Roy Roberts, Bobby Richardson, Catherine
Nettles, William and Dickey Billeaud, Fred Rabalias, Franklin Kyle, Ardie
Keller, Coach Brister, and Judy Thevenot and her mom, who looked splendid.
After saying good-bye to the hotel staff, we visited with Gerard and Carla
Moreau and their children. Next, we went to L. F. and Ina-Claire Marchive's for
a delicious brunch which we shared their wonderful family members.
Our last stop before leaving Bunkie was to visit the
most special of all Bunkiens: Leodocia Pope. Few people have the will and
positive outlook that characterizes her astonishing personality. Leodocia is
the strongest person that the decade of the 1950's produced. Her special
determination and strength of mind represents a standard that few will ever
reach. Leodocia, we all love you and thanks for your magnificent contributions
towards making the Decade Reunion such a notable success. We know that you will
be home soon.
Speaking for myself, I just want to note that the
Decade Reunion was the ideal forum for which to return to Bunkie after being
away for more than 50 years. Like a happily ever-after ending, everything came
together to produce a perfect four days in Bunkie of fun, laughs, remembrances,
and a grand sense of “belonging.” I have previously commented in the Tattler’s
“Bunkien Birthdays” of Bunkie.com, that “All my heroes are from Bunkie and Eola.”
After this marvelous event, I can gladly say that all my heroes are still
from Bunkie and Eola.
Don, Anita, Leodocia and all the wonderful Bunkiens
that put this program together - many thanks.
And I must mention, also, that Silvia knows a lot
more about Bunkie’s wonderful hospitality than she did just a few short days
ago. She really enjoyed herself and was amazed with the charm and warmth of
everyone she met. Thank you, we surely enjoyed ourselves!
- This old photo was given to me by my Mother, Addelene Kelley LaFleur in 1975.
She noted that it was taken at the "Old Eola Schoolhouse". I came across it
recently and thought that I would forward it to you for entry in
your website. (My Mom listed the names on an attached paper. There is no
date on the old photograph). Perhaps someone will find it interesting.
Jerry LaFleur Left to right, top row: 1) Willie Solmon; 2) Camille Tifreau; 3)
Kate O'Quinn; 4) Cora Kelley; 5) Helen Vernon; 6) Ruth Prosser;
7) Miss Mary Tanner; 8) Gracie Bass; 9) ?; 10) Linnie Prosser; 11) Dick
Kelley; 12) Ogden Vernon.
Middle row: 1) Clarence Prosser; 2) Dave O'Quinn, 3) ?.