Ellen Mayeur McCubbin continues our Beetle series: 

"I had a red Volkswagen Beetle in 1978 that I loved.

"During the infamous May 3 flood of 1978, I was on my way home from the New Orleans Central Business District to Arabi, going very slow on flooded streets.

"I was close to home, and thought since Beetles float, I was pretty safe going through the water.

"But it got higher; my VW killed, water came in, and I was sitting in water up to my waist.

"I climbed out the window and walked home. After the water receded, I towed my VW to the Shell station. They flushed it out, put new oil in it, and it ran for another eight years.

"So now I know Beetles do not float — but it was a great car."

Do it yourself

Chuck Falcon, of Donaldsonville, says, "All this talk about the VW Beetle reminds me of my neighbor back in the day.

"Mr. Curtis Dill had a ’60s model Beetle. He worked for B. Lemann and Brothers until he was well up into his 80s.

"He had a problem with his starter, so he went back to the lawn mower shop and removed one of those parts on top of the flywheel that you wrap the rope around and pull to start your mower.

"He mounted this part to his crankshaft. He would wrap the rope around it and pull, and engine would start. Problem solved; no need for a starter anymore."

Lee Blotner, of Metairie, adds: "When my daughter was in high school, we bought her a VW Beetle that was also 'born' in her birth year, 1966.

"She had a great time working on it, and fixing it every day or so with only a screwdriver and a pair of pliers! There is no car today that can be fixed that simply."

The fight game

The Thursday mention of the days of high school boxing in Louisiana brought back these memories for Gene Duke:

"At a boxing match, just before the bell sounded, Istrouma High School's coach, 'Little Fuzzy' Brown, gave a motivational talk to his boxer.

"The Istrouma boxer was known to have a glass jaw, and had lost many bouts. His opponent was a two-time state champion from Plaquemine.

"Just as the opening bell rang, the Istrouma boxer threw his town in to forfeit the match.

"He told coach Brown, 'If that was Joe Louis sitting there, you would be giving me the same speech.'"

Gene says another of his favorite high school boxing stories is about "the unnamed boxer from Redemptorist who knocked himself out with a misdirected uppercut." 

Never too young

Hunley Dufour Jr. says, "My wife, whom I met in the military, hailed from Muskegon, Michigan.

"Returning from a Thanksgiving visit with the in-laws, we stopped for breakfast at a local restaurant, The waitress inquired as to what we would like to drink.

"My wife and I both ordered coffee. My two sons, at that time 6 and 8, also asked for coffee.

"There was some hesitation on the part of the waitress, and with somewhat of a puzzled look, she said, 'Kids up here don't drink coffee.' We assured her that they did in Cajun country.

"As an aside, I can remember my mother, a wonderful Cajun woman, placing two tablespoons of coffee in the glass baby bottle for my brother, Richard. Today, she would be arrested for child cruelty."

Special People Dept.

  • Winton Earl and Beverly Daigle Turner celebrated their 63rd anniversary Sunday, Aug. 11.
  • Sue and Richard Conran celebrate 58 years of marriage Monday, Aug. 12.
  • Vincent and Rosemary Giardina celebrated their 50th anniversary Friday, Aug. 9. They are both retired educators.

A scholar's lament

Linda Whitman, of Denham Springs, says, "Every year on the first day of school, I think of our daughter Emily.

"That morning she hopped on the bus all smiles. That afternoon she got off all frowns.

"Her words were, 'They didn’t teach me how to read!'

"I suppose she thought it would be like learning to ride a bike."

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