When someone died in Vacherie in the long ago, since
we had no telephones, the message was sent to everyone
by word of mouth or by a passing merchant.
When the time of the funeral was decided, someone
would go to the local publishing company and get them
to print a notice giving the approximate time
of the funeral. The notice was on thick paper and had a black border. It never gave an exact time. The
notice would read "between 10 and 11" or "between 3
I think the reason was because some people had to walk, others went by carriage, and some even probably on
horseback, and a few by automobiles.
Nonc Tetin and Nonc Jean liked to chew tobacco. After
much enjoyment of the tobacco juice there would come a
time when it was time to spit. Therefore, there were
spittoons provided on each side of the fireplace at
a convenient distance for the aim of the uncles, and
there it went.
Sometimes Aunt Marie said a few words but nobody paid
her any mind for that. After all, if the uncles needed
to spit here were the cuspidors right close by. If it
were warm weather ,and everyone was out on the front
porch, they had all the great outdoors to spit at.
Every once in a great while, I would meet up with Nonc
Tetin on the side porch and he had a piece of inner
tube in one hand and a big needle and some thread in
the other. I knew what he was going to ask me to do.
He needed a new tobacco pouch and the wanted me to
stitch the sides and bottom to make a pouch for his
tobacco. Which I gladly did for him. Then he would put
the pouch in his shirt pocket and be pleased with the
whole thing. I was glad I had done something for him.
The day of my 14-year old brother's funeral was a very
sad day for the family. Mama was too heartbroken and
expecting a baby in two months, so she was not able to
attend. All of us kids were with Papa and family
members and other relatives.
I had known before that other people in the church
often rushed to get out of church, even cutting in
front of the family, and that is what happened to me,
an eleven-year-old little girl. I got separated
from my family and got caught in the rush and the
shuffle at the only door leading out of church.
Finally I made my way out and was rushing to get
to my Papa and family when I passed my teachers and
they were laughing and talking, and I thought at that
time (and I really and truly remember thinking this)
"How can you be talking and laughing when I am so sad
I continued on my sad journey and by the time I
the place where they had placed my brother's coffin,
the priest and other people were leaving, but I did
get close enough to get a clod of dirt to drop on my
brother's coffin. It was customary at that time to
drop dirt over the coffin when it was in the grave.
That was showing respect for the dead. Then the men
with the shovels started working to fill up that
place with more dirt. By that time the family was
leaving and I caught up with them.