Dionne Viosca, of Metairie, adds a hitchhiking memory:

“Years ago, while running morning errands, I was surprised to see three young Rugby Academy students with their thumbs out, hitching a ride.

“I decided to teach the boys a lesson, so I offered them a ride.

“As they settled themselves in the back seat, I asked if they hitchhiked often.

“ ‘Oh, yes ma’am,’ one boy piped up. ‘We save our bus fare and spend it on candy at lunch, and our moms don’t know.’

“I asked them, ‘Don’t you know hitchhiking is dangerous? You never know who’s picking you up. That person could be crazy, maybe have a gun, and he might rob you, then take you out to a wooded area and shoot you, and your body might not be found for days. And your parents would be so devastated, they would cry every day, etc …’ Oh, I was piling it on.

“Then at a red light, I fixed big scary eyes on each of them, and said in a low, menacing voice, ‘And how do you I’m not some crazy person with a gun? I could rob and kill y’all, and nobody would find out.’

“Well, the smallest boy almost began to cry and turned to his friends saying, ‘I told y’all we should’na hitchhiked!’

“I replied, ‘Relax, boys, I’m bringing you to school, but I want you to promise me, your parents and yourselves that you’ll never do this again. It’s very risky, and it’s not worth it!’

“They readily agreed and thanked me as I dropped them off. I hope I scared them straight; I never saw them again after that.”

Historic pizza

Joe Cooper says, regarding our seminar on early pizzas, “Mr. Leon Lungaro, of Leon’s Italian Kitchen, told me about 60 years ago that he and Alcus Stewart made the first pizza in Baton Rouge while working the night shift at a bakery pre-World War II.

“Using raw bread dough, they added slices of onion, stewed tomatoes, chopped garlic, oil and anchovies.

“It was for their personal use only.”

Pet Peeves Dept.

  • Jim Jeansonne complains about “reporters and lawyers using the word ‘gentleman’ when they are describing an individual who has ‘allegedly’ committed a murder, rape or other awful crime.

“They could at least call him the ‘alleged gentleman.’ ”

L.P. Miller says, “It hurts my delicate ears to hear ‘busted’ for ‘broke’ and similar faux words corrupting the language.

“I’m happy to say that none of these words have snuck into my vocabulary.”

“As long as you are allowing pet peeves,” says Larry Sylvester, “I will express one of my own: the misuse of French terms in titles, names of groups, captions of photos, etc.

“Not all French words involve an accent: one may write ‘Entre Nous’ but not ‘Entré Nous’ as the name of a group.

“If there is an accent, put it in the right place (Créole, not Creolé).

“And some French words use an ‘x’ to show plural instead of an ‘s’ — Les Chapeaux Rouges (Red Hat Society).

“Respect the French language used in Louisiana for hundreds of years.”

Stitching from sketches

Mary Sue Disch Meador says our mention of after-church meals at Piccadilly Cafeterias brought back this memory:

“My mother, Ella Disch, took my sister (Nettie Jean McCulley) and me to the Piccadilly on Third Street after church at Istrouma Baptist on the Sunday that my father, Willie J. Disch, was working at the Ethyl pant.

“We did not mind standing in line as we knew the joy of walking Third Street to window-shop after lunch.

“Our mother took a sketch pad and pencil to sketch the dresses displayed in the show windows at Dalton’s/D.H.Holmes, Rosenfield’s and La Francine’s. Then she made our formals and school clothes from these sketches.

“Our teachers asked us to model these dresses for them when we wore them to Istrouma High and later at LSU.

“Some of these dresses our mother made are now in the LSU Textile Museum.”

Special People Dept.

  • Beatrice C. Monday celebrates her 90th birthday on Monday.
  • On Monday, Gene Termini celebrates his 90th birthday. He’s a World War II veteran.

    Willie and Dean Freneaux celebrated their 57th anniversary on Sunday.

Skeeter Town

Alex Chapman, of Ville Platte, says our recent discussion of French names for Louisiana towns left out an important one: Maringouin (“mosquito” in French).

He’s alive!

“I think most people overlook a valuable service that your column can provide,” says Ronnie Stutes.

“I, like many, don’t keep up with friends and family as well as I should.

“The late B.J. Hopper said he was always glad to see my name in an item in your column, since it was the only way of his knowing I was still alive.

“Well, last week I got a telephone call from my first cousin, Dr. Russell Rawls, of Gretna. He has begun reading The New Orleans Advocate, and now he, too, knows I am still alive.

“Thanks, 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.