Cinco de Mayo or Happy May Day. As a very young child, I once had pictures where we danced around the "May Pole" for a spring program in my early years. I don't remember the "May Pole" at all, but do remember seeing the long lost pictures. It is the early hours of May 1st and I am still awake. I had another allergic reaction, but caught it VERY early and have had a couple of anti-histamines. I seem to be getting over it now. While sitting here waiting for the drugs to work, I remembered that today was Momma & Daddy's anniversary. They were married 70 years ago today and would have been 91 & 89 if they were still with us. In honor of this day, I have written another installment in their life story. ENJOY!
Louise’s Move to Louisiana
Robert had made up his mind and my fate was sealed-we were moving to Louisiana. I never dreamed during our courtship and his pursuit of me that I would have to leave my beloved Texas and Daddy. I never realized that Robert was so close to his family and would want to live in the small town he had grown up in. It certainly was difficult for him to be in Overton where he was just another of many new strange faces in an oil boom town. In Farmerville everyone knew and loved Robert and he never met a stranger. On top of that he was the baby of the James family. They all even called him “Baby”. A grown man and they called him Baby-that should have been some indication to me of his need for his family, but I seemed to live in a world that was and always had been “all about me”.
The James family consisted of Robert’s Daddy and Mother and his brother, Bryant and sisters, Ruth Mae (called Sister) and Annie Lee (called Teets). Bryant was the oldest and a very successful banker in the small local bank. Sister and her husband Luther owned the local mercantile store and lived next door to Robert’s parents. Teets and her husband Jim lived in Haughton where Jim worked for a gas company.
Robert’s Daddy was a sweet man that was very quiet spoken and was a supervisor at the local saw mill. He was hard of hearing and did not say a lot, but after meeting Robert’s Mother I understood why. Mrs. James or Miss Emma was a short woman who ruled the house with an iron fist. She was a complainer and never very happy –complaining about almost everything. She nagged Mr. James and seemed to never give him a moment’s peace. She was often disapproving and critical of what ever circumstances she found herself in. After a family that doted on my every act, I was now thrown into a family that was the exact opposite from what I had spent my life surrounded by. What had I gotten myself into?
Robert and I lived in an apartment in a big house not far from The Jameses and Sister. Every night after Robert came home from work and we had supper, Robert would want to go visit with his parents. This usually entailed a walk to their house and sitting on the front porch with his parents and Sister. Luther worked long hours at the store and did not usually come home until late. Sister worked in the store with Luther, but she usually came home to fix supper late in the afternoon. The conversation revolved around the local “Small Town Gossip”. I didn’t know many of the people they were talking about and really would have rather stayed home-just Robert and me. Sister had a contagious laugh and could be fun to be with. She and Robert loved to laugh and carry on and they both shared a wonderful talent on the piano. She clearly loved her “Baby Brother.”
Teets and Jim would come home about once a month since the roads were bad and the trip was difficult. Jim worked shift work in the gas plant which meant they had to come when he had a break long enough to make the trip. Jim and Teets lived in a house provided by the “Company” and he was on call almost all of the time since it was across the road from the plant. I liked Teets a lot and Jim was a sweet and kind man. He was quite a bit older that Teets, but they seemed happy. I envied them the distance they lived from “The Family”. Teets had the same wonderful laugh and love of joking and carrying on that Sister did. When you were around the girls and Robert, it was hard to believe that they had been reared by Miss Emma.
Bryant and Mattie Maude were the social icons of the little farming community. Mattie Maude had been raised in the nearby town of Dubach in a family of bankers and prominent businessmen. She was a school teacher until they married and then determined her duty in life to be the social and artistic education of the locals. Her little pug nose was always a little higher in the air than most and I found her snobbery unbearable at times. Since she had never been to Overton, she did not realize that our family was held in high esteem there. She was not impressed with me and her disdain was very evident. Bryant was kind to me and treated me with sweetness and respect. He seemed to consider himself Robert’s mentor and guardian. The oldest brother in the family and a leader in the community, Robert looked up to Bryant and sought his counsel on a regular basis.
How did this happen? How did I end up in this little farming town of Farmerville? I loved Robert and he seemed to adore me, but this was a hard pill to swallow. I missed Daddy and all of the Aunts. I missed being the cute, little sweetheart that was treated like a princess. I wanted to be with Robert, but not here-not in Farmerville! Being with Robert meant one thing-for now I would be kept away-from the place that I loved most and the family I adored. “For today, keep her away.”