Ransdell Hebert, of Slidell, adds to our collection of accent stories:
“I spent my grammar school days in Thibodaux, and moved to New Orleans for junior and senior high.
“My New Orleans teachers would really come down on me for my ‘dees, dem and doze’ Cajun accent, so I imitated the British movie stars and developed a more cosmopolitan manner of speech.
“When I went into the Army no one would believe I was from New Orleans — I didn’t have a Southern accent like my other Army buddies from Hammond and Ponchatoula.
“So I decided to have some fun. I worked with a guy from Pennsylvania, and we invented a new ‘me’ from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“I learned all their expressions, terms, rivers, steel workers, etc. It worked so well that when I would spring the surprise on them they wouldn’t believe I was from New Orleans. I still had to have the guys from Ponchatoula vouch for me.
“One night a guy came running up to the barracks from the day-room phone.
“‘Hebert,’ he said, ‘you have a call from a girl.’
“I said, ‘It’s probably my girlfriend in New Orleans.’
“‘No,’ he said, ‘she doesn’t have a Southern accent. She’s got a Brooklyn accent.’
“In fact, it was my girlfriend (my wife to be), who lived in the Irish Channel.
“Now I had to explain the Irish Channel...”
One more ferry story, from Faye Guidry:
“In 1965 I always took the ferry from Baton Rouge to my job at the West Baton Rouge Welfare Department in Port Allen.
“Our son was always dropped off at a Convention Street day care before I took the ferry across the river.
“While touring an out-of-town guest around downtown one day, our 2-year-old son Joey said, while pointing to the ferry, ‘That’s where my Momma works.’”
No horsing around!
Pat Alba, of Metairie, tells of her brush with show biz:
“In the ’60s, when a movie, ‘Black Rain,’ was being filmed in the French Quarter, I visited with the lead actor, Gary Clarke, who had been a regular on the old TV series, ‘The Virginian.’
“He told me that one scene was in Jackson Square, where he had to leap on the back of Andrew Jackson’s horse and sing ‘Onward, Christian Soldiers.’
“Obviously neither he nor the writer had ever been there, so the only way I could explain my laughter was to show him the larger-than-life statue on its steep pedestal, surrounded by an iron fence.
“The scene was deleted from the script, and Gary commented, ‘And I didn’t know ‘Onward, Christian Soldiers.’
“I don’t believe ‘Black Rain’ was ever released.”
(Maybe not the New Orleans one, but two movies with that title were released in the ’80s — one Japanese and one American but set in Japan.)
Dale J. Landry says, “My first concert was in 1964 at the Municipal Auditorium in New Orleans.
“Sonny and Cher were touring with their big hit, ‘I Got You Babe.’
“I was with two girls (we were 14) and one of their mothers.
“The best part was that the girls, especially Mom, were dressed as Cher — long black hair and big bell-bottom pants.”
Lucille O’Neal, of Denham Springs, has noticed how often the word “only” is misplaced in written communications:
“For example,” she says, “‘If I ONLY wanted one of you to go with me, I would have said so,’ should be ‘If I wanted ONLY one of you,’ etc.”
Special People Dept.
— William Baillio celebrated his 100th birthday on Friday, July 10, at Ollie Steele Burden Manor in Baton Rouge. He is originally from Opelousas, and is a Navy veteran.
— A.P. “Tony” and Evelyn LiRocchi Vidacovich, of New Orleans, celebrated their 76th anniversary on Monday, July 13. He was a photographer for the Times-Picayune for 48 years before his retirement.
— Mary Ann and Louis Vincent, of Lafayette, celebrated 63 years of marriage on Sunday, July 12.
Rushing the season?
“I was driving east on I-12 and was greatly disturbed by what I saw,” says Marvin Borgmeyer.
“It is only July, but the Baptists are already advertising their Pumpkin Center.
“Their sign, ‘Baptist Pumpkin Center’ was cleverly disguised as a highway sign.”
(I sincerely hope he’s joking — because if he’s not, I’m worried about ol’ Marvin...)
Karen Pilgreen, of Lebeau, says, “After my grandson Reid Pilgreen, 4 years old, played in his first T-ball game, he came to my house to tell me how he had played.
“Reid said, ‘Memere, this boy was running to base and I tripped him.’
“I asked, ‘Did you trip him on purpose?’
“Reid answered, ‘No ma’am, I tripped him on his leg.’”
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.