USAgencies moving local HQ to downtown BR _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- The former Capitol One building, located at 440 N. Third Street downtown, is being renovated to house apartments, a grocery store and the new local headquarters for USAgencies.

John Hu says, “We were visiting Philadelphia to attend our granddaughter’s graduation last week.

“Our flight from Baton Rouge was delayed due to bad weather, and we missed our connection in Atlanta.

“Delta booked us on the next flight to Philly.

“While waiting, it was announced that a storm was moving into the Atlanta area, and our flight was again delayed.

“A couple of hours later, we finally boarded.

“While the jet was taxiing to the runway, the captain announced that due to the storm, there were more than 40 flights ahead of us waiting to take off.

“The gentleman next to me was apparently not too pleased with the situation.

“He grumbled a few words to me, and I told him that we were from Louisiana and used to being ranked in the 48th or 49th position.”

Help on wheels

Many of our hitchhiking tales are about the kind of vehicles involved, ranging from sublime to smelly:

Glenn Giro says, “The best hitchhiking ride for me was when I was stationed in Monterey, California, in ’69.

“A buddy and I hitched to San Fran on a weekend pass.

“We were picked up by a dude in a 1942 metal-flake blue Buick Roadmaster convertible.

“The front bench seat had been removed and two fiberglass pivoting pedestal bucket seats put in. The entire interior was decked out in plush white angelhair, and The Mamas & the Papas were playing on the 8-track.

“I sat in the spacious contoured back seat and, if I had had any hair back then, it would have been blowing in the wind.

“We cruised sedately at 60 mph for the 90-minute ride, and he dropped us off at Fisherman’s Wharf.

“I occasionally go to Google Images and type in ‘1942 Buick convertible’ to relive things from my past. What a memory.”

Roy Pitchford, of Monroe, says, “While working in Midland, Texas, I was sent to cover a track meet at Fort Stockton.

“On the way back, my water pump failed, and I was stranded in the barren West Texas plains.

“I stuck out my thumb and a car stopped.

“Once I got in, I noticed that the car had roll bars, seat belts, lap belts and shoulder harnesses. And the telephone poles were passing by quickly.

“A kid in the back seat declared, ‘This car set three land speed records at Bonneville.’

“I got back to Midland quickly.”

Bruce Gauthier, of Greenwell Springs, says when he and Jimmy Coco were students at USL (now University of Louisiana at Lafayette) and hitchhiking, they once got a ride in Opelousas — in a hearse:

“We rode in the front part.”

Bill Borstel, of Ponchatoula, says, “In 1953, when I was stationed at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, I wanted to get to Tampa to pick up my car.

“With a buddy, I stood at the side of the road by the base and waited for a ride.

“A farm truck with a few hay bales in back stopped and gave us a lift.

“It started to rain, and we discovered that the farmer had been hauling hogs prior to us.

“By the time we got to Tampa, our white uniforms were mostly khaki-colored — and did not smell like roses.”

Happy returns

A note from Kyron Wicker, an eighth-grade student from Atlanta:

“I want to thank the good Samaritan who found my wallet and returned it with the money and other items in it.

“While visiting my grandparent in Baton Rouge, I lost my wallet at a theater in the Mall of Louisiana.

“When my grandmother called the theater two days later, it was there.

“I want the person who found it to know how thankful I am to get it back.

“There really are some good and honest people in the beautiful city of Baton Rouge.”

Return trip

Ronnie Abboud says, “On D-Day, June 6, 1944, 82nd Airborne Sgt. Tom Blakey parachuted, around midnight, into Saint-Marcouf, France, as part of the Allied ‘Operation Overlord.’

“Seventy years later, on June 6, Tom with other World War II vets and staff from the New Orleans National World War II Museum revisited the Normandy area.

“The weeklong trip honored the sacrifices of the ‘Greatest Generation’ and our Allies to begin the liberation of Europe.”

Special People Dept.

  • Iry J. Breaux, of Prairieville, celebrated his 97th birthday on Sunday. He is a World War II veteran.
  • Roy and Olivia Guidry, of Addis, celebrate their 58th anniversary on Tuesday.

    Joseph and Kathleen Canatella, of Convent, celebrated 57 years of marriage on Sunday.

    Winfield “Wimpy” and Sue Woodruff, of Metairie, celebrated their 52nd anniversary on Monday.

Long-lived liver

McChord Carrico, of Covington, says, “Your recent blurbs about the pills reminded me of the joke I first heard when I was a wee lad:

“ ‘Did you hear about the man who took Carter’s Little Liver Pills all of his life? After he died, they had to beat his liver to death with a stick!’ ”

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.