topic 1920's

Pepere Victor travel washerwoman reading magazines ants


   We had a good life living as we did--a big family--so I always had someone around. In spite of all the chores to be done, we had time to read--READ--which I dearly loved. Papa always had books and magazines (The Literary Digest, The Saturday Evening Post, The Times-Picayune, and The Interim, the parish weekly paper). He sometimes discussed history or everyday politics--we were always aware of what was going on in the world.

   Remember fly-paper? It was a strip of paper with sticky properties--that would tangle the flies' feet that were close enough to touch it. We'd have 3 or 4 dangling over the kitchen table (at that time we had no screen doors in the kitchen). The kitchen was large enough to be the dining area for the whole family.

   We also wrapped flannel cloths dipped in kerosene to tie around each table leg (close to the floor) to catch the ants that would crawl in for food and anything sweet. We had no pesticides at that time. The world was clean!

   Remember, the world was young and we had lots and lots to learn (practically 3/4 century).

   On Mondays a washerwoman came to do the heavy washing--sheets, pants, shirts and dresses, etc. During the rest of the week there was less washing. And every Saturday--the rest of the towels--Remember Saturday night baths.

   On Mondays that poor lady (a widow and always dressed in black) had to hang out all that clothes; soak the sheets in large 3-legged black kettles heating in the yard on a fire (she's put something blue in the water to whiten the sheets). I don't know if that was every week. I always felt sorry for that lady who worked so hard raising her children (I just know she is in heaven).

   By the way--her children did well--the boys would quit school early to go to work in the fields. I know 2 daughters stayed in school up to the 7th grade. They are all fine respectable persons who did well and achieved a good living.

topic 1920's

Papa's Car Florence Raymond


   Papa had an old Model T Ford that often broke down. Once we were riding with him (the top was down). The car quit in front of a store (all the country stores had big front porches with some men sitting around relaxing after a hard day on the farm). Papa stood up in the car and said, "Does anyone want to buy a car? You can have this one for 25 cents!" I was afraid somebody would buy the darn thing--"our beloved car"--

   Later on he taught me to drive another car. He had tried to teach mama to drive, and they went all around the big yard and when he yelled, mama quit trying. She said she was through learning to drive.

   So Florence and I would drive--also Raymond. You know you don't have to teach a boy how to drive. He can just get in and drive--amazing!

   I had to worry about the brakes, the clutch, put it in neutral--so many things: I did not have to crank the car. !! Luckily it had a starter!

   Papa was a traveling salesman, so we could only get the car on Saturday afternoons and of course, on Sundays when we went to church.

   He went through many old cars. He bought a new car just once. We were so proud of that car. We called it the sedan and it had glass windows all around instead of isinglas(?). It looked like plastic (the isinglas)--but that was before plastic was invented.

topic 1920's

reading Zane Gray Miss Brignac


   Reading was a skill I learned young, and it interested me completely for the rest of my life.

   The long summers we were happy to get books to read and re-read. I'm sure I read "At the Mercy of Tiberius" every summer sitting under the pecan trees or sitting by the shade of the house in the afternoon shade protecting me. "The Last Days of Pompeii" was another favorite. Remember we had no libraries even at school. We bought all the Zane Gray cowboy stories for 80 cents or 90 cents. We'd pooled out nickels and dimes for weeks until we could order from Sears, Roebuck.

   Later in my second year of High School Miss Etta Brignac (our great literature and French teacher) started ordering books for the school library. We had the use of a tall bookshelf in the big central hall in the front building at St. James. Then I was in glory land--getting as many books as I was allowed and reading them all on time as often as Miss Brignac stocked the shelves. We just had a card system. I'd write my name and date--bring it back in 2 weeks. To make book reports I'd start as soon as I started reading and I gave voluminous accounts of what I had read. Every day was great!

   On papa's travel day I was so happy when he called me at 5:30 in the morning to take off on a 2-day journey. I'd have books, paper, pen and had a great time traveling, seeing the country--meeting people, having lunch in cafeterias or rooming houses, which I thought were great adventures--

   I guess I was close to Papain those traveling days--because although at times he wouldn't talk much, other times he would tell me about these places and these people--these memories that he knew about the families.

   Sometimes he'd say, "Did I every tell you this about this matter or so"--I always listened more attentively because I was learning something new. Sometimes I would jot that in my notes at night or when I had to sit in the car for hours while he was doing business with the store proprietor or farm manager. I enjoyed it all. We'd get home tired and dusty, but ready to go again. Another day. How I treasured these days!

   I'm trying to write my memories--because I'll be forgetting soon--and did want my grandchildren to know how I lived, what happened around me, how it was growing up in a big family with a new baby arriving every 2 years. I'd like them to know that I never, never felt deprived. I was never envious of people or girls who had more. I always considered my parents were working hard to give us all we needed. I would tell the Lord this was a lot to be thankful for.