JOHN HAYDEL BUNKIE HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 1954



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 Random collection of Bunkie memories

  

1940 to 1950

 

·          The night Jitney Jungle grocery store burned down and my volunteer firemen father was up all night, sitting on the roof with a hose, being a hero.

 

·          The gunfight at the New York café where Curry Kojis, police chief, got his little finger shot off.

 

·          The New York café had a delicious ham sandwich for 25 cents that we saved up our money for

 

·          Working as a soda jerk at the drug store and giving my friends free sodas

 

·          Lash LaRue coming to town and me getting a picture with him.

 

·          Little Beaver (Robert Blake, who was later on trial for murdering his wife in Hollywood) coming to town and running around with the town hoods who all eventually ended up in jail for stealing bicycles. 

 

·          Digging behind the sofa cushions trying to find 9 cents to go to the movie, then spending all day Saturday there seeing double feature cowboy movies and a serial plus a cartoon.

 

·          18 mile trips to grandmothers in Plaucheville. My mother would fry a chicken for the trip I would bring a stack of comic books and a blanket. We would eat chicken and throw bones out of the window.  My father wouldn't stop for restroom breaks, we had to use a paper bag, which I always threw at passing cars, but we would stop at every bar on the way for a beer for my dad.  We always had a flat or two. My mother said the rosary the whole was so we wouldn't have more flats than spare tires. The trip usually took about 4 hours.

 

·          The Hot Tamale man with his little cart on Main Street.  We were convinced he made them out of cats.

 

·          Hiking to Prosser’s diary and hanging around all day. They didn’t mind. I was fascinated with the stainless steel equipment and pasteurizer.  Maybe that’s why I became a process engineer.

 

·          Hiking to the overpass by the Blue Moon and sliding down the Johnson grass on the side on pieces of cardboard.

 

·          Our Post Office box was Box 1. I thought we were special.

 

·          Dad buying a used house from Amarada Oil field and bringing it home on a truck. He added a couple of rooms himself and it served as a house.

 

·          The “maid” that lived with us when we had the feed store/flower shop.  When I was bad my father made her spank me because he didn’t have the heart to.

 

·          Living next to Dr. Melancon who let me read his encyclopedias and encouraged me to go to college.

 

·          Endless summers when we ran around shoeless and shirtless, climbing trees and constantly playing war.

 

·          Sneaking into Avoyelles Bank when they got the first air conditioning in town and hiding under the counter till they saw us and chased us out.

 

·          Playing war under the Bailey Hotel.

 

·          Camping with the Boy scouts where all we did was chop down trees and exchange misinformation about sex.

 

·          Initiation into the "Bailey Theatre Club”.  We had to sneak in on a Tuesday night (dish raffle night) during he War when there was a full house, and go to the first row and crawl under the seats, startling the patrons until we emerged at the back, completely black with filth.

 

·          Going to the depot to watch the train come in, for entertainment.

 

·          Mother teaching Lee Bailey how to cook.

 

·          Going to St. Anthony’s. The hurricane blew down the old church that had been converted into a cafeteria.  We had no school that day because of a religious holiday, which the nuns said was further proof that there was a God.

 

·          First Communion when we were lined up in the street at 6 AM in our white shirts and short pants, with our striped boxer shorts showing thorough, and Paul Plasiance being sent home because he told Sister that he had eaten a hamburger after midnight.

 

·          Getting out of class to go to altar boy practice and just goofing off, not learning anything.  Then when I had to serve the first time I realized I didn't know anything and I just froze. Jerome Kojis who was in the congregation leaped over the rail pushed me aside and took over, saving the mass. My parents were mortified. I was kicked out of the altar boys. So my father brought the nuns a fruitcake and poured a pint of 4 roses whiskey in it. I was reinstated.  The next day and the nuns asked for the recipe.

 

 

1950 to 1954

 

·          The big mystery of who painted obscene algebra equations on Mrs. Hatley’s car.

 

·          The midnight paintings of the Ag building, even polka dot.

 

·          Running the drive in theatre

·          Selling tickets

·          Running the concession stand

·          Running the projector, and skipping reels so we could go home early (no one complained-no cars moved after we closed down).

 

·          Working at Kelly’s studio for 8 cents an hour and getting paid not in cash but with overpriced broken cameras. The girl that worked there was married and her husband was in Korea and everyone was in love with her.

 

·          Summers working in the cornfields making hybrid corn for 50 cents an hour with my friends.

 

·          My father closing down the Oak Tavern every night then going to the Blue Moon till it closed.  He then would bring me a bacon and biscuit sandwich at 2 am and wake me up and make me eat it in my bed.

 

·          Eating Pool Doo (My father hated meatless Fridays). He was convinced that since Pool Doos could swim under water we could eat them on Friday and not go to hell.  They tasted like oily mud.

 

·          The two deaf linotype workers that lived in our garage apartment that worked for the Bunkie Record teaching me sign language.

 

·          Bamboo Drive in where we made at least one stop every day and it was the last stop before we finally went home.

 

·          Working at Dairy Queen. All they had was ice milk at that time. Cleaning the machine every morning was nasty from the lactic acid smell.

 

·          Working at the Bailey and Fox Theater for 35 cents and hour.

 

·          Some memorable teachers

·          Mr. Goette

·          Mr. Frank

·          Mrs. Strawitz

·          Coach Evans, who said I should forget about sports and just hit the books.

·          Mrs. Hatley

·          Mr. St. Romain, responsible for me becoming a Chemical Engineer.

·          Mrs. St. Romain

·          Mr. Sharpe

·          Mr. Courtney who taught us some things not in the curriculum.

  

·        The whole town turned out the day Buddy Garcia's body arrived from Korea on the train.  He has served in WWII and had re-enlisted for Korea. From the back of the crowd I could see my father in a white shirt and khaki pants go into the boxcar and emerge with several young men like him carrying out an oak casket.  I saw Buddy's father, Mayor Garcia, suddenly looking very old, then collapsing, a broken man.

 

·        Getting a hamburger at Kent court, which had little individual one-room cottages, an original tourist court.

 

·        A perfect day:

·        Hiking to Prosser’s dairy and hanging out with 3 or 4 of my friends

·        Then walking to Shirley plantation,

·        On to the red barn where we played in the enormous hay piles, Swimming in Bayou Huffpair, any month of the year.

·        Crossing the railroad bridge and once having to jump off when we almost got run over by a train.  We landed in the mud and sank up to our hips.

·        Walking to the overpass and sliding down the Johnson grass on the side on pieces of cardboard

·        Getting home in time for supper

 

 Webmaster footnote:  John it is always a pleasure to work a project with you.  Remember the CornFest in 1999...  Yes, it's been that long ago.  Keep'em coming John...