Barry “Butch” Raffray says, “Your article in the Wednesday Advocate, about the name the nun gave to the student, reminds me of the time I was in the Army in 1962.

“Donald ‘Duck’ Aucoin and I joined the Army six days after graduating from White Castle High School.

“At the start of basic training, in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, we had to fall out for roll call.

“Since Duck’s last name started with an A, it was one of the first names called out.

“The non-com called out ‘A-coin.’ There was no response.

“He moved closer to the formation and shouted ‘A-coin!’ again. Still there was no response.

“He moved even closer to the formation — this time I could see the veins in his neck — and shouted even louder ‘A-COIN!’

“Duck finally realized that it was him and said ‘Here.’

“The non-com stepped closer to him and shouted, ‘WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU, A-COIN? DON’T YOU KNOW YOUR OWN NAME?’

“Duck became A-coin for all of basic training and the rest of his three-year hitch.”

The Alexandrian language

Glenn Balentine, of Prairieville, says, “As a child in Alexandria in the ’50s, a favorite outing was my grandfather taking us to ‘Row Gully’ to fish.

“Row Gully was out in the country, north of the Red River in Pineville.

“After decades living in Baton Rouge, I traveled home and decided to find the old fishing hole — but alas, no Row Gully on the map.

“A kind man directed me to the right road to get to Bayou Rigolettes, pronounced elsewhere ‘RIG-uh-lees!’”

Author to author

Eleanor Cocreham, of Baton Rouge, says, “Reading the article about Shaquille O’Neal in Tuesday’s Advocate brought to mind the meeting my dear departed friend Coleen Salley, a well-known storyteller, had with Shaq in one of the corporate boxes during a Tiger football game.

“Coleen graduated from LSU, taught at the University of New Orleans for 30 years, and retired as Distinguished Professor of Children’s Literature. Her four ‘Epossumondes’ stories for children were published in later years.

“Coleen had little or no interest in sports, and was unconcerned about Shaq’s prowess as a superstar.

“She told him, ‘I know you do something with a ball, but I don’t know what. I DO know you wrote a children’s book, and it was great. You need to write more!’

“I suspect few of that partying crowd knew Shaq was a published author, and I doubt anyone was more surprised than he. You can only imagine the look of glee on his face when he was recognized for his writing instead of his athletic fame.”

Which reminds me

I knew Coleen Salley as Coleen Cole when, fresh out of LSU, she taught English at Istrouma High.

Not much older than we were, she won us over with her wit and passion for teaching. She was a free spirit, and we loved her for it.

I had English right after art, and one day in my art class I was fooling around with red paint and spilled some on my arm.

It looked so much like blood that I left it there when the bell rang for our next class.

When I entered her class, she had her back to me. As she turned around, I held up my arm, with red paint dripping off it, and said, “Miss Cole, I cut myself; can I be excused?”

She almost passed out before she realized it was a prank. Other teachers would have sent me to the principal’s office, but she laughed it off, as I figured she would.

Special People Dept.

James W. Rodriguez celebrated his 95th birthday on Sunday, April 10. He is a World War II veteran.

Good flipping idea

George Griffith, of Jennings, has been noticing license plates lately:

“On vehicle license tags, I think the current series runs from ‘AAA000’ to ‘ZZZ999,’ and it looks like we are getting pretty low on the Z’s. I saw ‘ZTT’ yesterday.

“What happens next? I saw in the paper that someone suggested we add an extra digit and/or scramble letters and numbers, but I don’t agree with that. That makes it harder for law enforcement to spot and remember.

“I hope they are going to just flip the letters and the numbers, and start the series ‘000AAA’ to ‘999ZZZ.’

“When that expires I’ll be playing a harp.”

Smoking in the boys’ room

Oneil J. Williams, of Metairie, tells of the days when teachers ruled with an iron hand:

“Back in the 1930s, when Destrehan High School was grades 1-11, there was a redheaded school teacher named Olga Hotz.

“She had a habit of making an announcement prior to entering the boys bathroom.

“She would announce, ‘Cover up, I’m coming through!’

“She was trying to catch the boys who were smoking in the restroom.

“She would come in one door, walk through and walk out the back.”

Contacting Smiley

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.