January 23, 1998

Back in the ’20s, things were really tough. The wages were 12-1/2 cents per hour – top wages were 25 cents an hour at the Oyster Shell Plant in Berwick.

This was a life-saver by the two Ackerman brothers from New York. In those days, you worked 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. I can still hear Norman and Breaux’s sawmill every morning at 4 o’clock blowing the whistle. An elderly worker, Pete Frederick, was one of the machinists at Norman and Breaux.

I asked him one day, “Mr. Pete, what is the color of your house?” He said, “Mr. Guzzetta, I couldn’t tell you – when I leave in the morning, it is dark; when I come home at night, it is still dark.

Did you know that Mr. McCleary, of McCleary’s Funeral Home, had a very embarrassing thing happen to him while attending the LSU-Notre Dame game in South Bend, Ind., at Notre Dame Stadium? He was sitting directly in front of me with a priest from Morgan City.

The game was very noisy and quite exciting. People were jumping up, yelling, and screaming very loudly every time their team made a play. All of a sudden, Mr. McCleary got so excited over the game that he jumped up and as he did his pants fell down around his ankles.

But was he embarrassed? No – he turned around pulling up his pants; then turned to ask me if I wanted a drink.

How many of you readers have ever eaten a Maypop? A friend of mine, Robert Lodrique, gave me one recently. I hadn’t eaten a Maypop since I was a kid in the early ’20s. It has a very pleasant taste – something between a banana and apricot.

There used to be many, many Maypops growing all along the sides of the highways and railroad tracks, until they killed them all with chemical spraying for eradication of grass and weeds. However, they are a very pleasant tasting fruit. Try one sometimes.

Do you remember Cutty Hanson, a boyhood friend of mine who was really a character? We all belonged to a club that we had in the early ’20s. Cutty Hanson wanted a position that would make him feel important so we elected him Treasurer of the T.K. Club. All went well for a while, and then we asked him for an estimate of the money we had.

Do you remember the truck driver on the “Blue Belle” Ice Cream commercial when his boss looked in the truck and discovered no ice cream? He asked the driver, “Where’s the ice cream?” The driver answered, “Oh, I ate it!” Well, Cutty Hanson said almost the same thing – he said, “Oh, I spent it!”

Remember the lovers of yesteryear in the ’20s – Rose Hadda and Mannas Leopold; Bumpy Joey Aucoin and Mamy Oliver: Louis Mahfouz and Mary Guillory; Laurie Toups and Ruby Broussard; Sidney Bella and Carrie Breal; Willie Landry and Margie Saunders; Marie Thorguson and Carol Rybisky; Sabra Watkins and Caesar Thorguson; Baby Guzzetta and Ruby Rock; Joe Davis and Lena Adams, Nick Russo and Lilly Joseph.

* The End *