Bertha Hinojosa teaches English to 6-to-10 year-olds at La Belle Aire Elementary in Baton Rouge.

The kids are recent arrivals from Central America. One of her students was quite adept in learning the language, mastering a large vocabulary in the first two weeks of the semester.

When Bertha asked the lad to recite his favorite English words, he quickly answered, "No school today!"

Littlest food critic

W.P. Meinert, of Metairie, says in 1980, when the family lived in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, their daughter, 5, ran away from home:

"A neighbor shoveling snow, who did not recognize her, called the police. They found out where she lived and called her very anxious parents."

The local newspaper picked up the story, and included this motive:

"Police said the girl had left home without anyone's knowledge, reportedly because she didn't like what the family was having for dinner."    

Snoopy flies again

Baton Rougeans of a certain age will recall Dick Holler, a popular musician and songwriter there from 1951 through 1962.

He currently lives in Berkeley, California, and is "still composing at 85."

Dick says he's "now had his Warholian moment of fame," although considerably shorter than the 15 minutes Andy predicted:

"In Quentin Tarantino's new film, 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,' Leonardo DiCaprio performs 5 seconds of my 'Snoopy vs. the Red Baron,' while floating on a rubber duck."

Historical space

Patrick Reynolds, of Baton Rouge, says, "The use of stained glass windows from the old Our Lady of the Lake in the new children’s hospital reminded me of something I heard about the old OLOL.

"In a Facebook group called 'Old Images of Baton Rouge,' a member claims that when his father was a patient there, a plaque on the wall in his room said it was the room Huey Long died in."

Patrick wonders if that plaque is still around, "or if anyone else remembers seeing it."

Highway heroes

Shirley Pittman, of Baton Rouge, gives "a round of applause to East Baton Rouge Deputy G. Robinson.

"He came to the scene of my recent accident, and could not have been more kind and courteous. He was there when needed, and he handled the situation with care and efficiency. Thank you, sir."

Special People Dept.

  • Emma Lean Haney, of Baton Rouge, celebrates her 93rd birthday Wednesday, Aug. 28. She is an active member of True Light Baptist Church.
  • Rosalie "Sis" Jones, of St. Gabriel, celebrates her 93rd birthday Wednesday, Aug. 28. 
  • Joan Loyd Hernández, of Eunice, celebrates her 92nd birthday Wednesday, Aug. 28.
  • Leslie and Brenda Gray Felder, of Denham Springs, celebrate their 60th anniversary Wednesday, Aug. 28.

Fear of flying

LaMarr Ingram adds to our VW Beetle lore:

"My friend and I were traveling on the Crescent City Connection in his newly purchased Beetle on a clear, beautiful day when a sudden gust of wind lifted the car from the right lane to the left lane in just a second.

"Of course we were startled, and couldn't wait to get off the bridge.

"So a lesson was learned — not only will a Beetle float, but it can FLY as well."

A star is born

Gail Stephenson says granddaughter Zelda, 5, who's been mentioned in the column from time to time, just started kindergarten:

"She told her teacher she was 'kinda famous in Baton Rouge' but was shocked to learn her teacher didn't read your column. So Zelda asked her mother to explain her fame." 

Accidental comedian

Angela Carll says, "My daddy, Edmund Mequet, was a very funny person, and he didn't even know it.

"One day, we were all sitting around talking about new medical procedures.

"'You know, now scientists can put an egg and a sperm in a Petri dish, and you can make a baby that way,' he tells us.

"'Oh, Daddy, I know; that's in vitro,' I said.

"'Oh, no,' he says, perfectly serious. 'That's right here in Methodist Hospital.'

"My brother-in-law said that if we didn't take a breath from laughing pretty soon, we were all going to die from lack of oxygen."

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.