This was a busy time but I was in good health and
could keep going all day. I liked to meet the people.
I remember the washing of sheets and towels, a lot. Sometimes we were short of soap.
(That ,too was rationed.) I do remember one time doing my washing with
two bars of Palmolive soap. I sliced them up as well as I could. We
had the wonderful sunshine to dry the clothes out on the lines in the
backyard. Then I had to gather all the clothes in baskets and fold all of
that and bring it upstairs to fold or put on the beds or store away. (I
seem to remember doing the very same thing when I was a young child.)
We had many, many visitors during the WAR. Any one of the family
who was either preparing to go WAR or coming back from WAR or
changing bases, knew they could stop at our home to get a place to
sleep, to shower, and to eat. They would also get and give news of the family. It
was too bad Vacherie had no telephone at that time. I always kidded Gaston
because when he opened the front door, he would ask, "Did you all eat yet?"
He was a most hospitable man. I said I always enjoyed having my family
feel that they were welcome.
One of them was Rene Steib from Vacherie. He came in with a
Bourgeois from Thibodaux. They had just received their commissions from
L.S.U. and had they were going to report to Fort Bragg, North Carolina for training.
They were first Lieutenants. They had to go to the headquarters to take
and pass their physicals before going to Ft. Bragg. They went to every
day for three days,before Rene could pass the physical. He could not
meet the weight test. But the third day he ate more bananas and he passed
the test,and they were off, waving goodbye. He sent me a card saying
"May. You were the last civilian I told good bye to for a long time."
When he reached Ft. Bragg, he was assigned to train the soldiers. One day
after they had finished drilling, a soldier walked up to him and said
"Lieutenant Steib. I know you and I am from Vacherie, too. My name
is ............" (He happened to be a young black man from the same
Later on, when the city
was really crowded to more than capacity, there was such a appeal for
rooms. Stan and Wilfred had gone to war, and we had a little room to spare.
I decided to rent the room where Stan and Wilfred had lived. In no time
I had couples coming to the door to spend a weekend or a week. We met Bill
and Millie Steed from Bellaire, Ohio that way. They were with us for 3
weeks and then he went to WAR and she returned home. We corresponded for
many years and Bill had come back form WAR and they had 2 little
girls. After Bill died we sort of stopped the correspondence.I am sorry
Another couple who came to stay with us was Jo and Jerry
Kiel from Grand Rapids, Michigan. They did get married by a chaplain at
the Camp Leroy Johnson at the lakefront. They told us that after the WAR. We
kept up the correspondence forever. He was in the battles in Germany and
she went back to nurses' training. She had left the nursing school for a
When she got back ,the nun in
charge told her "We have to have a talk. What did you do in New Orleans?"
Jo replied truthfully, "I got married." The nun replied that with
conditions as they were and with the time of WAR, "All is OK, now." So Jo
finished her nursing course and joined the Army Nurse Corps much against
the wishes of he husband. She was working in the field hospitals very
close to the front lines. They did get to meet by the Black Sea,where she
was swimming and sunbathing with the Russian officers. Jerry was very
upset about that. They have a trunk full of their WAR correspondence and
they do not have the courage to read those letters. Next March 23,2003
they plan to come to NEW Orleans to celebrate their 60th wedding