Here’s another teacher story, following the one in the Wednesday column about the teacher aunt who corrected a thank-you note.
I’m staying on this topic because I have a great deal of respect for the teachers who guided me through my younger years.
Without the devotion to their calling of these overworked, underpaid people, I would probably still be bagging groceries, my first job.
Here’s what “Vernoym” says about a memorable teacher:
“On the subject of relatives who taught:
“In my early childhood we lived in California.
“My aunt taught grammar school in New Orleans.
“All my long letters to her were returned by her with the spelling and grammar carefully corrected.
“Our correspondence later included stories, poems and drawings.
“I learned the basics of English, art, color and poetry long-distance thanks to her, much of which I remember to this day.
“She taught for 40 years, grading homework every night, buying coats for students too poor to buy their own, and working with students with problems. She died in 1996 at the age of 86.”
Let it storm
Unlike a lot of younger folks, Joan Waguespack Barre, of Metairie, says she has “no problem handling the inconveniences of failed electric power or lack of other daily conveniences due to storms, etc.
“It saddens me that the younger generation will probably not share memories of growing up as my generation did. The Electronic Age has put a damper on that.
“I have noticed that when I attempt to tell my grandchildren things from my childhood, their attention span is quite short.
“They never ate a snowball made by scraping the ice block with the hand-held scraper, ate butter made by churning the cream from the milk from the cow that grazed in the yard, and ate vegetables grown in the garden in the back yard.
“The girls never grew up wearing dresses their mother fashioned from the material from the printed sacks that flour came in.
“The only ‘running water’ some had was if you ran with the bucket from the cistern to the house. (The ‘out house’ was not so pleasant a memory.)
“My family moved from New Orleans to rural Vacherie when I was 5 years old because my father was ill and could no longer work for Public Service. Having experienced my growing-up years instilled in me a greater appreciation of today’s way of life.”
Day of thanks
Ted Landaiche says, “My mother and friends from St. Gabriel were driving to Donaldsonville for a friendly game of poker, which meant crossing the river at Darrow.
“As they approached the ferry, the brakes began to fail.
“Mr. Jesse, the driver, was barely able to stop his big Dodge while nudging the chain that prevented the car from plunging into the river.
“After getting the brakes fixed, Mr. Jesse suggested they should go to the nearby Catholic church to give thanks before continuing on to my grandmother’s for the big game.”
One big family!
Rene Daze says, “The recent passing of long-time Napoleonville grocer P.J. Daze revived many stories of how he helped those in need during his over 50 years in business at Ingleside Store.
“One such story involved a customer who on several occasions asked the store manager to loan him money because his mother-in-law died.
“The kindhearted and generous grocer told him he had more mothers-in-law than the law allowed.
“Such was the generosity of my father.”
Looking for stuff
Judy Salemi says she has some fabric she’d like to donate to an organization she heard of that makes stuffed animals and dolls for needy or sick children. Can you help her find it? She’s at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special People Dept.
— George Cardwell, of New Orleans, formerly of Baton Rouge, celebrates his 93rd birthday on Thursday, July 16. He is a World War II veteran.
— Faye and Arthur Bercegeay, of Dutchtown, celebrate their 55th anniversary on Thursday, July 16. He operated the vending stand for the blind at Honeywell in Geismar for 27 years.
Harry Clark, of Lafayette, recalls his Boy Scout days:
“I remember a camping trip where our scoutmaster was organizing a stew for dinner.
“He was handing out assignments, like gathering firewood, building the fire, cutting up the meat and preparing the vegetables.
“He said, ‘Joe, you peel the potatoes — and Fred, you peel the peelings.’
“Obviously not his first stew...”
Back to the bar...
Algie Petrere revisits our long-gone series of “walks into a bar” tales. Against my better judgement, I’m running some:
“The past, the present and the future walked into a bar. It was tense.”
“C, E Flat and G walked into a bar. The bartender said, ‘Sorry, no minors.’”
“This skeleton walks into a bar and says, ‘I’d like a beer and a mop...’”
How to contact Smiley
Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.