topic 1910's

Papa Pepere Victor Memere Helen Mama


   Papa was indeed the master of his home. No one crossed him.

   We'd wash and iron the curtains for the living room, hang them up. Then if Papa came in the room, he'd take 2 curtains and make a tie in the middle so he could see better. We had no curtains in the kitchen or bedrooms.

   If Papa came in late, Mama had to heat his dinner in a black cast-iron pot, and he ate with a tablespoon. We sat around the table and looked at him.

topic 1937 - 1954

Warren Ronnie Richard Jimmie Charles Carolyn Rosemary


   Our first child Warren was born March 30, 1937 at Mercy Hospital. We were so happy with this lovely child.

   Ronnie was born on September 15, 1938. He was a beautiful baby.

   Both in good health. Quite a handful for me -- We learn by experience.

   Richard came along December 11, 1940. I left Warren and Ronnie with the domestic help -- and I took a cab to Mercy at just about 5:30pm. Richard was born at 8:30 -- a fine healthy boy.

   Jimmie was born on March 16, 1945 -- a fine healthy baby boy. He weighed nine pounds. He had beautiful blue eyes and dark hair.

   Later on we welcomed our little twins on November 9, 1946. Quite a struggle with their weight. Carolyn weighed 5 lbs. and Charles 4 lbs. Gaining was very slow. They had the best of care. I stayed with them 24 hours a day -- trying to give them a good start.

   Much later, on July 14, 1954, our little daughter Rosemary was born at 8:30pm. The nurses told me they thought she was pretty -- I saw her within 2 hours and was so happy to have this darling little baby for us.

   We did the best we could. It was a struggle but we always prayed and trusted in the Lord to help us through each day.

   The children were growing up at a time that was good for children. I'd call it the innocent years -- the tranquil years (although WWII was raging).

   We certainly had many failings -- but tried to guide them the best way we thought was right. Doubtless we were wrong in many instances. I wish we had made no mistakes, but life is that way.

   Our vacations were 2 weeks in the country -- Sometimes Warren, Ronnie and Richard stayed longer. They enjoyed it -- and it was a relief for me not to be on the alert every moment about the street pals and gang -- Ball-playing, etc. I had a little quiet time with the younger children.

   Poor Daddy! He had to work, work, and work! to meet the bills. Somehow we always made it. Close! But we made it. No extras!! That's for sure.

topic 1925 March

Vic Raymond Nonc Tetin Memere Helen Pepere Victor


   March 1925 A sad time in my childhood was the spring that took my brother Vic. He died on March 16, 1925. He had been ill 3 days. When I heard he had died, I didn't believe it and I went back to sleep. Later Aunt Marie came to tell me again and then I realized it was true. I got up and walked through the house. It was like a nightmare. The next morning Vic was laid on a board in the middle of the front room; all pictures and curtains had been removed from the room. The mantle clock had been stopped at 11, the hour he died the night before. The room was so bare except for chairs all around and Vic in the very center of the room.

   During the morning the carpenters were in the back yard building the coffin. Victor had been dressed by Uncle Tetin (Justin) and Uncle Jean, I think. He was dressed in his suit and had black socks on. This was the first time I had seen a person in death and it was very sad for me to see my 14-year old brother lying there in that room. That is a sight that remained in my mind for a long, long time.

   It was indeed a sad summer for me and the whole family. Papa would talk about him, but Mama could not. It was good for us that my relatives at Memere's all spoke about him many, many times. It helped us bear the grief. I was 11 at that time, and what an impression this was. Many nights I couldn't sleep, and Mama told me to sleep at the foot of their bed. That helped me.

   Many, many years later my 4th son, Jimmie, was born on the anniversary of Vic's death -- and as soon as Jimmie was born, I remembered that fact. I spoke to Mama about it.

   Sometime in the spring of 1981, before Aunt Marie had a stroke, she spoke to me about Vic's death and she said she told me that Vic had died. I stepped out of the bed and knelt down to pray. At this time I told her how I had realized Vic was ill. I told her some things I remembered but she didn't know because I had never told her -- as it happened.

   On the Saturday afternoon, March 14, 1925, Victor, Raymond and I and possibly a few younger children were playing baseball in the front yard. It was a cool, very cloudy afternoon -- late -- about 5 o'clock, I'd say. Vic was at 2nd base when he grabbed his head with his two hands and started running toward the side of the house to get to the kitchen. I ran after him because he was obviously in pain. He just said, "My head! My head!"

   At that time we had a bench in the kitchen on which we placed buckets of water (which had been carried in from the cistern by the house). He grabbed the dipper from a bucket of water and poured water over his head. Then he grabbed the bucket for more water. Mama ran over from the stove (where she had been frying doughnuts). This is all I remember of that night's episode.

   The next day, Sunday, I went riding with Papa to the post office which opened just from a back door for a short while so Papa could get his mail. The Times-Picayune (which was mailed every day and received on the next day). Also it was important for Papa to get his orders for his business operations for the weeks. I was so happy to see that I had received the George Washington award (a bronze medal with my name and date on it). It was an award for a winning composition on the life of George Washington. I wrote every year and this was the first time my essay was considered good enough to win the award --

   When I got home, I went to show it to Vic and I told him about the letter I received. He couldn't read it because his head hurt too much. He had vomited that morning and really didn't feel well.

   The next morning when Mama went to see about him, she couldn't wake him up. He was unconscious and he remained in that condition -- without ever waking up, until he died at 11 that night. The doctor had come and said