Episode #12 – Coming Home

Coming Home

What does home mean to you?  To me home means a safe face.  A place we feel comfortable and loved.  It is a sanctuary and the place that holds our childhood memories.  Home may not be a perfect place at all times but it is the place that formed our deep emotional meaning of ourselves.

Home means acceptance. It is a place where those we love can drive us crazy one moment and make us feel like we can walk on water the next.  Home is where unconditional love is always available to us by the parents who love us.

So as children grow up and leave to attend a university they all long for a visit home to relax and recharge. They look forward to a semester break or a summer vacation at home.  For the parents and grandparents we also can’t wait for those visits.

ryan.jpgRyan graduated in Engineering from the University of Colorado on June19thand two days later he went off for a two-week trip through Italy. He is a lucky young man and well deserving. He studied hard and made great grades in a very hard major. As his grandmother I am so very proud of him.

ryan in Italy.jpg

He said beauty was everywhere from the seaside villages that plunge into the sparkling Mediterranean to the shores of the Amalfi coast, one of the most beautiful stretches in the world.  He experienced the paradise of Sorrento and Naples and explored the ruins of Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius.

He traveled from Milan to Florence in comfort and style on-board a sleek, high speed Italo train. While in Milan he enjoyed seeing the fashion icon city of Italy with its high-end shopping, style & Luxury goods as well as the DaVinci masterpiece, “The Last Supper.” He also really enjoyed the nightlife in Milam. He met up with friends   and he and Liz danced and partied ‘till dawn. He took in the magnificent architecture of Florence and spectacular sculptures and art that he found in museums throughout the city.

Ryan is now home interviewing for a job in biomedical engineering.  He has one offer in his pocket if he wants to wait for the position to become available in six months. In the meantime he is open to other offers. We have our fingers crossed.

katy.jpg

Katy is home for the summer from attending SCAD, Savannah School of Art where she is an architectural major. She will be junior next fall and will be spending the fall term attending SCAD Hong Kong where she will be studying and traveling.  She will be leaving September 6th and will return home in November.  I’m so jealous!

images.png images-1.jpeg                   images.jpeg

Katy has been interning with a Covington designer and enjoying her friends while home. She has even put her design talent to work designing this birthday cake for one of her friends. It’s nice to be sooo talented.

birthday cake.jpg

IMG_1443

The Crosby Family

IMG_1104

Gunner came home over the 4thof July weekend . He has an internship at the Gagosian Gallery in San Francisco this summer.  He’s pictured here with his brother Dennis and sister Anita.  This fall he is excited that he and three of his friends will be living together at the Phi Kappa Psi house. Gunner is in the art department at Stanford.

Gunner's new art.jpg

This is his latest piece of art while in California

Gunner's art.jpg

Hot off the pen! A new sketch by Gunner.  We are so very proud of him!

IMG_2110.jpg

The Dongieux Family

Parker and Whiskey #2.jpg

Parker came home from Ole Miss on several weekends this summer. He’s attending summer school so he can graduate in December so we only got to see him when he could get away on weekends. He plans to intern with an architectural firm after graduation to see if he wants to get a second degree in that field.

crawfish tble 2.jpg

Parker is making this crawfish table for his Dads’ birthday. I can’t wait to see the finished product. He has a very creative mind and this table is a masterpiece and shows his enormous talent.

Maloney Family.jpg

The Maloney Family and the newlyweds the Rosenbergs

These are the families of my three children,

daughter Jete’, son Duke, and daughter Renée

Life is good when all these young people come home. Our summer has been very full, busy, and filled with happiness and love. “Love makes the world go round,” is an English idiom and proverb, which is very important and essential.

We can see by the state of our country how life is not very pleasant without love.

I choose to love- how about you?

Unknown.jpeg

Episode #11 – The Heavenly World

                                                 Camp Illahee  “Heavenly World”

                                                                 A New Chapter

Chistian and Claire.jpg                                                                   Christian and Claire

Camp Illahee, an Indian name meaning “heavenly world,” is a summer camp for Girls located in Brevard, North Carolina.  Camp Illahee is one of the most beautiful camps in North Carolina. It is surrounded on all sides by the Blue Ridge Mountains, vast forested areas, multiple waterfalls, and freshwater springs.

My two granddaughters Christian and Claire are returning as counselors to a camp that they attended for seven years. They both feel like being a counselor is “the best job ever.” You can make a difference, you can inspire greatness, and you can grow as a person.  Welcome to our “heavenly world.”

My daughter Jete’, granddaughter Bailey and her husband Max, and myself will be driving the girls to Camp Illahee this Thursday, June 21st.  It’s a nine-hour drive through some of the most beautiful country God has created. We will drop the girls off at a camp that began its existence in 1921. Camp Illahee carry on a tradition of teaching campers to face challenges and build confidence in themselves.

IMG_2444

As we arrived in Brevard and were walking around reacquainting ourselves with one of America’s “coolest small towns”  when Bailey saw a rainbow.  We took this as a good omen that this was going to be a very successful month at camp for Christian and Claire. Speaking of “cool,” we enjoyed every moment in Brevard with temperatures lingering around 79 degrees!

IMG_2510

Brevard is located at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest and has become a noted tourism, retirement and cultural center in western North Carolina.

Brevard adjacent to DuPont State Forest is the only one in North Carolina designated as a recreational forest with over 6,000 visitors.  A waterfall in the forest, Triple Falls, was used as a filming location for the Hunger Games and Brevard is also known for its white squirrels

IMG_2489

We arrived at camp when Christian and Claire ran into long time friends, also counselors for the July camp.  From left to right: Christian, Claire, MK, myself, Coleman, and Emily.

The counselors can hang out at the “Basement of Curtis” when they have free time.  Each counselor wrote a bio on themselves which is posted on one of the walls so the other counselors can learn about each other.

IMG_2486.jpg

IMG_2485.jpg

IMG_2491

Each counselor has their own cubbies in the “Basement of Curtis” to keep their laptops, cell phones, and anything they need that are not allowed in the cabins.

IMG_2492                                       They also have reminders about duties!

We all helped the girls get settled in their cabins before the campers arrived.

IMG_2456.jpg                                                 Max, Bailey and Christian

IMG_8621.JPG                                                     Bailey and Christian

IMG_2476.jpg              Bailey and Max did a great job settling Christian in her cabin “Tiger Lily”

IMG_2475                           Walking back to the upper hill we arrived at Claire’s cabin

IMG_2459.jpgEach cabin has a slogan posted on their cabin as the campers arrive. This was Claire’s slogan!

IMG_2474.jpg

IMG_2462.jpg                            Jete’ helping Claire get settled in Cabin fourteen!

IMG_2473.jpg

IMG_2483.JPGComing down the hill from the cabins Christian, Claire, and campers will be passing this beautiful scene on their way to meals and activities!

We had such an incredible time in Brevard shopping and having interesting and fabulous meals. It was very hard to say goodbye to Christian and Claire and also to a wonderful family togetherness. The beautiful and rustic Maloney cabin, our home while in Brevard, set the stage for a memorable mountain get-away!

IMG_2439.jpg

IMG_2446.jpg

The world is full of marvels and we need not travel outside the United States to experience the world’s most beautiful mountain towns. So head for the hills.

This trip for me was more than experiencing the Heavenly World of Illahee.  It was the thrill of seeing my two grandchildren turn a new chapter in their lives, one of leadership in a very personal way.  They are now taking on the role of teacher, role model, and hero. They will be interacting with these young campers 24 hours a day in one form or another; teaching them, guarding them and protecting them. They will leave being a different person from the one we drove to camp.

I looked at a picture of Christian walking her campers to breakfast with this wide-awake smile on her face.  I said to myself where is the sleepy head young lady we brought to camp that could never get up much less smile in the morning.

I watched Claire getting all organized for her campers to arrive. Although Claire is a very organized person, she was different in her wanting everything to be perfect for her campers.  She is a born leader and I know will come home a seasoned chief executive officer.

My granddaughter Bailey and her new husband Max took on the responsibility of getting Christian ready for camp and settled in camp. Her mother Reneé couldn’t come to see her baby take on this very grown up job. However I know she is very proud of her first-born Bailey and husband Max for their participation in this adventure.

My daughter Jete’ is a marvel to me with her bondless drive to make life good for her children and all those around her. She is the first sergeant, the heart and Soul of her family.

You see life is not only good but it is filled with all the colors of that rainbow we saw when we arrived in Brevard. At eighty my cup in running over with the joy and love I feel for my daughter Jete’, for Bailey & Max, for Christian and Claire and the great four days we spent together in “The Heavenly World” of illahee.

Episode #10 – Ryan’s Graduation

IMG_4011.jpg

Portrait by Garland Robinette   ROBINETTESTUDIOS.COM        

My grandson, Thomas Ryan Crosby, is graduating today!  I have such mixed emotions. I look at this handsome young man now twenty two years old ready to graduate and tackle this great big world. He is planning to set it on fire! This is true because not only is he smart but he is also driven to succeed.

He was born on August 14, 1995.  I remember the mornings I rocked him and gave him a bottle so his tired parents could get a few more hours of much needed sleep. He was a restless baby ready for life to happen even then.  When he started walking, he was such an inquisitive child and fascinated with the outside world as he picked up every little thing to example it.

Do you remember the song “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile” from the movie Annie?  Well this was Ryan with his freckles and perpetual smile. Garland Robinette’s portrait of Ryan truly captured his essences.

Oh that face; I never left without a kiss that I hoped would last forever. So you see, my heart doesn’t want to leave that little boy behind.  However, I am proud of him today, as I have always been throughout his life. I am proud for all that he is and for all that he has accomplished.

Ryan attended Camp Carolina in Brevard, North Carolina that was known for the development of boys in leadership skills, character, and respect.   Ryan loved competing in the traditional Olympics ceremony at he end of camp each year. He painted his faces blue to compete against the Red team during the games. At the end of each summer, the campers part took in a ceremonial branding of the “the Old Man of the Mountain Paddle”. The brands on the campers’ paddles represented their great achievements during camp.

Ryan was especially proud that he received two brands on his “Old Man of the Mountain paddle” his last year at camp. The brands on the paddle were a sign of his quest for excellence.  Even as a young boy he continued to accomplish this in his life.

Ryan attended Mandeville High School where he loved science projects, playing on the soccer team, and smart pretty girls.

IMG_1228.jpgPortrait of Ryan by Gunner Dongieux

Ryan spent his high school summers discovering what he wanted to major in when he would attend college. He took summer courses at the Stennis Space Camp and an Architecture course at LSU. He began concentrating on engineering as he attended summer camps at Boston University, North Carolina State, and the Air Force Academy. When it was time to make his college decision, Ryan decided to attend Denver University to study Mechanical Engineering.

Four years later June 9th, we watched his graduation ceremony with over 2,000 graduates. Tim Schultz received an honorary degree for his distinguished career in state and local government. Mr. Schultz gave a wonderful commencement address to the graduates about the importance of public service.  He challenged the graduates to “create your life map.”

IMG_2420.jpg

From left to right: Katy, Jete’, Tommy, and Charlie

IMG_2430.jpg

The sweetest moment was when Ryan accepted his diploma with that spontaneous smile! The smile said it all, “here I come world. I’m ready to create my life map!”

IMG_2426.jpgRyan giving us thumbs up!

We had such a wonderful time in Denver being with Ryan and his four best friends. Tommy and Jete’ hosted dinners in the wonderful home they rented in the historic Denver Country Club neighborhood. We enjoyed getting to know everyone, sharing stories about families and learning about the plans these young men have for their future.

ryan and friends.jpgRyan’s best friends! From left to right:

Josh. He is from Chicago, Illinois and will be going home and setting up his own property management company specializing in restaurant and apartment management.

Warren. He is from Williamstown, Massachusetts and will be going to graduate school in Mechanical Engineering. He is hoping to become a punter on a college team.

Ben. He is from Sun Valley, Idaho interviewing for a job in renewable energy finance.

Ryan. My grandson is interviewing for a job in Mechanical Engineering specializing in the medical device field.

0901359F-16E3-45C8-B0C5-C6E8B1915FEC.JPG

Our home in Denver is a Victorian Manson steeped in history.  This home was designated a historic landmark in 1997, and I would call it a historic masterpiece that oozes charm.  It has transferred ownership only four times in 134 years dating back to the well known Brown family who built the home in 1883.

IMG_2410.JPG

This is what I called my “princess room!” The room is wrapped in windows  that brings in the beauty of the trees and gardens.  I slept in bliss all night long surrounded with dawn pillows and covered by a down comforter. I wanted to take this room home with me!

Saying goodbye to Denver after such a beautiful trip filled with new friends, old friends, and so much loving togetherness with family will be hard to do.

I’ll end this story with my lesson.  Living well (at any age) is only possible with love in your heart!

My daughter Jete’ and my son-in-law Tommy are the perfect example of “living well.” Jete’ and Tommy are always so willing to share their time, talents, and all that they have with family and friends.

They have spent their lifetime showing the way and creating opportunities for their children. They have built a strong family; this is only possible with love.

Unknown-1.jpeg

Episode #9 – Family Tree

Family!  How far can you go back in the generations of  your family?  We shouldn’t miss the opportunity to go back as far as we can to tell the story of our family history.  We are the keepers of their memory, their accomplishments, personalities, strength, integrity, ethics, etc.  Our family members who helped shaped their generation and the generations to come and who will never be known unless we write about their lives.

I am fortunate to have a book “La Pointe de L’English” the 100thyear history of Church Point.  The last living member of my mother’s family Anita Guidry who is now ninety-nine years old wrote it in 1972.

How wonderful it is to have this written history, an account of our family that went back to 1800 when Etienne d’Aigle III came to the area then known as Plaquemine Bruleé.  This was a vast area in St. Landry Parish that stretched from the Atchafalaya River on the east to the Sabine on the west. In 1866, Acadia Parish was carved out of St Landry Parish.

The name d’Aigle, which translates “of the eagle,” was anglicized to Daigle sometimes after the 1820s. The first d’Angle to come to North America came to Quebec, Canada about 1674 from France. Anita has the extensive genealogy of our family written down in “La Pointe de L’English so I will fast forward to 1823 and 1824 when two sons Joseph and Theodule Daigle were born.  In1843 they become the founders of Church Point, Louisiana.

IMG_2382.jpg

Church Point was carved out where gullies developed from rain water running down to some stream, the name “couleé” was given: high land was called “coteau” and an open tract of land was a “prairie.” Where Oak trees grew in clusters this was a “chênière.” Where a clearing was made by burning away underbrush and prairie grass to develop farm- land, this was called a “bruleé. When a bayou or stream made a sharp point this was a “pointe” To these descriptive words were added specific names, such as in the case of Plaquemine Bruleé.  The settlement was located in a burned-over area where Bayou Plaquemine came to a point, hence Plaquemine Bruleé or later named Church Point.

  • One of Church Points claim to fame in 1927 is that it was known as the “Buggy Capital of the World.”

Both Joseph and Theodule were reported to be hard working, ambitious, and generous with their time and money. They raised cattle, corn, and cotton, and until the Civil War owned slaves.  Joseph died at the age of 31; Theodule died November 26, 1907.

Ernest Daigle was one of Joseph’s sons and he married Maria Breaux a descendant of the founder of Breaux Bridge and was known as “Vieux Mom.”  Meaning “Old Mom”

Shortly after the Daigle brothers came in 1843 other families moved into the area. One of those early settlers was Pierre Louis Guidry affectionately known as “M’sieu Guild.” He was Church Point’s first merchant and for many years his store was the only place where merchandise could be bought in the tiny settlement. The store was a gathering place for the early settlers, who came to buy and stayed to talk about crops and share news of neighbors and friends.

“M’sieu Guild married Elodie Daigle, Theodule’s daughter.  Like the Daigle’s, “M’sieu Guild and the other early settlers were stout-hearted and courageous pioneers; isolated, for all practical purposes, from the few centers of culture and learning then in existence.

This is where the Daigle and Guidry families merge in marriage.  Fast forward to my mother’s parents Pierre Guidry and Ernestine Daigle.

In 1908 they ran the Guidry Hotel on Main Street.  Ernestine was the daughter of Ernest Daigle and Pierre was a nephew of “M’sieu Guild.” Many of the early School Teachers lived in the Guidry Hotel.

picture.jpg

Pierre and Ernestine Guidry

Leon Baquet, Sr. was originally a merchant from Scott, Louisiana. Mr. Baquet saw Emalina in church one Sunday and said I’m going to marry that girl and so he did. He married Emalina Castille and opened a general store that sold everything from feed to caskets.  Emalina was a milliner and sold her beautiful women’s hats in the store, like the one she is wearing in the photograph.  Years later, after the stock market crash in 1929, they moved to Church Point and constructed a new bakery on Main street around 1930 that stayed open until 1948 serving the Church point community as well as neighboring towns. The Baquets were my father’s parents.

My father met and married my mother Myrtle Guidry, one of Pierre and Ernestine Guidry’s daughters on February 1, 1936.

DSCN0080.jpgLeon Baquet and Emelina Castille

mother.jpgMy mother   “Myrtle (T-Myrt) Guidry

dad.jpg

My father  Leon (Nick) Baquet

My father, his brother Lloyd and their cousin Emery Breaux graduated from Saint Stanislaus in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. After graduation they all moved to Los Angeles, California where they all got jobs with the Bank of America. After staying there for a few years and learning the banking business Lloyd and my father came back to Louisiana.  My father attended college at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana.

My Mother graduated Valedictorian from “SLI,” the (Southwestern Louisiana Institute of Liberal and Technical Learning) in Lafayette, Louisiana.  My father arrived back in Church Point a handsome and charismatic young man. Mother was beautiful and smart. They rediscovered each other one summer, love bloomed and they married in 1936

Mother was in the banking business with my father when they were first married, he was the President of a bank in Iota, Louisiana, and mother was the Vice President. They were also the only two employees of the bank.  We lived above the bank for a few years before they built their first home in Iota.  Iota was a very small Louisiana town which we all loved I am told.

Later we moved to Sulphur, Louisiana where mother had an accredited kindergarten and was thought of as a wonderful and talented teacher of young minds. My father was the president of the Calcasieu Marine National Bank in Sulphur.  He was everyone’s favorite banker and friend. He knew all about the lives of everyone who banked with him.  Banking in those years was very personal and so many wonderful friends were made.

This is a brief history of my family the Daigles, Guidrys, Baquets, and Castilles.  My ancestors were 99% from Europe.  We are 26% from Ireland, 25% from Great Britain, 19% from the Iberian Peninsula, 18% West European, 9% from Italy/Greece, and 1% from West Asia. My Genetic Community is Acadians in Louisiana Cajun Country.

We need to have pride in our history and the people who have come before us because they shape who we are. Their DNA is part of our DNA. They should be remembered so we need to record their lives. I only wish I had started writing about members of my family years ago when many of them were still alive to tell me their stories.

In this Blog I suggest that we go back as far as we can and record for our children and grandchildren memories of those who helped shape our lives.

I would love to hear from you and some of your family stories that I could share.

Episode #8 – Marriage

img120-TempleExterior-BW-recent.jpgGene and I were married in 1964 in Chicago, Illinois in the Chapel in the Sky. This 568-foot skyscraper is the tallest church building in the world.  It serves as a Neo-Gothic monument to the Methodists’ commitment to “the Loop” in downtown Chicago at a time when pressure was great to move to the suburbs.  It is the home to the First United Methodist Church of Chicago, the oldest congregation in the city.

o.jpg

Mrs. Walgreen (of the founders of Walgreen’s) put up the money to have the chapel built in the steeple.  It is hidden up at the top of the skyscraper church.

IMG_2290.JPG

Our wedding was very intimate and special in this “Chapel in the sky” and a lovely memory.

Our best man gave us a private dinner with a strolling violinist in one of the downtown hotels and a night stay at the hotel as a wedding present.  The next morning Gene took the “L” back to Loyola and I had an early morning flight to Cleveland, Ohio that our best man was on. Life in the windy city was an exciting time and we met and knew some of the most amazing people.

February 29, 1960 was a historic day for Chicago and the world.  Playboy magazine owner Hugh Hefner decided to open up the world’s first Playboy Club on Walton Street in the Gold Coast. The club provided the first appearance of the Playboy Bunnies.  As VIPs of the club, key-holders could enter the club at anytime and indulge in an atmosphere filled with music, alcohol and nubile women.  The flagship Chicago location was so successful that it became the busiest club in the world.  These clubs became known as “Disneyland for adults.” The Chicago Playboy Club helped solidify the greater Rush and Division Street area as one of the most happening areas in the country during the 1960’s.

PlayboyClubHef.jpg

As a graduation present from Dental school Gene was given a “Key” to the Playboy Club.  You could eat free on Wednesday nights. So guess where we spent many Wednesday nights?

Money was tight but we managed to be able to enjoy so much spectacular entertainment that Chicago offered.  Also our apartment was so convenient to where everything was happening in the world of entertainment in Chicago.

Our apartment was located not far from a club called Mister Kelly’s.  We frequented Mister Kelly’s a great deal and saw the most incredible entertainers, one of which was Barbara Streisand in one of her first appearances.

From around 1956 until its demise, Mister Kelly’s was a springboard to fame for many entertainers, especially jazz singers and comedians.  As reported in the Chicago Tribune, “it was a supernova in the local and national nightlife firmament.

kellys_collage.jpg

Below a reporter Charlie Dawn reports on Barbara Streisand’s successful show.

Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 2.44.32 PM.png

CHICAGO AMERICAN — June 13, 1963

Dusk Till Dawn

Popular Songs Unusually Sung

By Charlie Dawn 

Take popular songs like “Happy Days Are Here Again” and “Cry Me A River” and you listen, today, with half-hearted interest. But take those same songs with the unusual dressing Barbra Streisand gives them and they become alive and thrilling all over again!

Miss Streisand is the young songstress who has done a Broadway show, made numerous featured personal appearances on television network shows, and now is capturing the fancy of Chicagoans in Mister Kelly’s on Rush Street.

She opened her first engagement in Mister Kelly’s this week and judging by the crowds who have gathered to hear her—early and late— her 3-week showing will be a hefty winner!

For those who seek unusual treatment in song presentation, Miss Streisand is the answer. And for those who merely want entertainment the answer is the same.

With Peter Daniels as accompanist, Barbra unfolds many fine songs, all dressed in Streisand style. “Cry Me A River,” the way she does it, sort of makes you forget about Johnnie Ray who introduced the number. And “Happy Days…” takes a new stance in the Streisand program.

Among other winners this comely lady presents are “Any Place I Hang My Hat is Home,” “Keeping Out of Mischief Now,” “Who Will Buy?” and “Down With Love.”

With singing — and performing — talent like this, it’s no wonder Mister Kelly’s is doing a bang-up business!

Sometimes we had to drive to Skokie to see some amazing concerts.  Even though our car wouldn’t go in reverse we managed to find parking places on corners where we just could go forward. Since we didn’t have the money to get it fixed we always found a way to get around.

We saw one of Nat King Cole’s final performances in Skokie in 1963.  It was amazing and one of the highlight performances of my life. I remember it that way still today.  He died the next year in 1964 of lung cancer.

We loved Chicago so very much and would have stayed there after Gene graduated if it hadn’t been for the winter weather.  I can remember the icy wind whipping off the lake almost blowing you off your feet and making your knees bleed. It was soooo cold!

We did return to New Orleans and set up an Orthodontic practice on what is called the west bank of the city.  Ten year later our marriage ended in divorce.  I have spent about thirty years being mad at Gene for messing up my dream. Just a few years ago I decided to bury the hatchet, so to speak, and “forgave him.”

You see I finally have figured out that my dream may not have been his dream.  I figured out that life goes on and goes on very well by you.  I figured out that I could be in charge of my own destiny and be happy and successful. I figured out that no one promises you a “rose garden” unless it’s an exceptional person that you just haven’t meant.

In forgiving Gene I have found he has become my new “BFF” and that makes me happy.

IMG_2380.jpg

So my lesson on living well today and for the rest of your life is to “forgive.”

Do it now “Forgive” because it’s freeing and can release so much tension and unhappiness in your life.

Write me if this lesson suggestion “to forgive” has helped you!

Episode #7 – My Life

As we get older there may be times when we feel irrelevant and left behind. To live well as we age it’s important that we appreciate the life we have lead and find a feeling of happiness in our journey.  We gain wisdom and joy that’s only possible through our personal journey. That wisdom is now our gift to our family.

It’s called the story of our life and it should be documented for our grandchildren to know.  People today are in search of their past and who their relatives were, how they lived and how they contributed to times they lived in.

What does the story of your life say about you?  As you write your story you will receive a renewed realization that you are a very special person.  A person you should be proud of and excited about.  That no matter how much attention is focused on your children and grandchildren, you know that at one time you set the stage that the younger generation stands on. It’s your story, your life and you can be pleased with the person you were and will continue to be for the remaining years of your life.

My story began the first five years of my life in a very small community of Iota, Louisiana.  We moved to Church Point, Louisiana when my father took over his father’s bakery “the Baquet Bakery” when his father became ill and could no longer run it.

BabyKaty (2).jpg

It’s hard to believe this small time girl accomplished so much.  There were many first for me beginning with my trip to Europe in the last six weeks of my senior year in high school.  No one from my high school had ever taken a trip to Europe. I was required to give a talk to the assembly with business people in our town as well as the students.  I became an instant celebrity and was voted the most “likely to Succeed” in my class.  I didn’t feel this was deserved because I was not that popular or achieved much in high school, so for me it was a hollow award.  I was however the editor the “Sulphur High” year book my senior year, which was an award I did value

Katy0130024.jpg

I become comfortable in my own skin in college joining a sorority, Chi Omega, being the director of the home economics yearly fashion show and becoming sweetheart of Sigma Chi fraternity.  College was so much fun, I was popular, I was very happy and unfortunately my studies took a back seat.

I cruised over with a group of college students to attend the University of Hawaii the summer of 1959 the year Hawaii became a state.  That was a magical time with many celebrities like Debbie Reynolds, Loretta Young, Tab Hunter, and David Niven, running around the beach we frequented almost every day in front of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.  We met and went to parties with all the young people on the island from the native Hawaiians to the Americans that lived there. This was the first time in my life that I interacted with people of different cultures.  I have to say this summer taught me so many lessons in human interaction and friendship. It was a time of some of my most treasured memories.

Katy0130015.jpg

My next lesson in life was when I failed to graduate from college in 1960.  I failed organic Chemistry for the second semester. I even tried to bribe my professor with dinners at the home economics house in order to hopefully get a D- in the course and graduate with my class. It failed!  I learned a big lesson about failure and the fact that to succeed you had to earn it by working for it and studying for it. Some lessons aren’t always happy ones but important ones.

I did meet my husband to be when I transferred back to LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana trying to once again graduate from college.  After he graduated from Dental school and moved to Chicago to attend Loyola University to get a degree in Orthodontics I applied with United Airlines to be a “Stewardess”.

IMG_2370 2.jpg

My mother was very much opposed to me being what she called a “flying waitress” and moving to Chicago. However I got the job and was stationed, yes, in the windy city.  It’s funny how life seems to give you the opportunity of growth.  The lessons I learned in flying the friendly skies of United were great.  So many wonderful friendships were made from one of the vice president of the airlines to and architect in Seattle, Washington who became the best man at my wedding. We were always holding over Chicago because of weather conditions so we had to learn how to be very creative in entertaining to appease the customers who were missing their meetings and connections.  I just loved this job.  It was one of the best jobs I ever had.

This job taught me responsibility and how to be an actress, a comforter, and a leader.  This was the best job I have ever had and I preformed it with excellence and a sense of pride in my dedication to this company.

The 60’s were the best time to be a stewardess or flight attendant.  We had a handful of people in first class and only a half cabin full in tourist.  People actually dressed up to fly and the food service was spectacularly wonderful. I was so fortunate to have gotten this opportunity at this time in my life.

Bride.jpg

When I got married in my second year of flying I could no longer be a Stewardess so I transferred to reservations.  I soon learned it wasn’t the job for me. I found it quiet exhausting.  However soon after I was working there Air France gave a very great package of appreciation to United Airline reservation clerks, four days and three nights in Paris with expenses paid except for gratuity.  We were able to scrape together enough money to cover the tips that we would have to pay and off we went on a honeymoon in Paris compliments of Air France.

I will end this tale right here and once again say that these experiences have made me the person I have become. At eighty I look back at all these moments and life lessons as a beautiful story that I want to share with my grandchildren and their children.  So I write it down for the generations to come in my family.

I challenge you to do the same!

Episode #3- Make a Bucket List

My tip # 3 to live well is that it’s important to always have things to look forward to like church, travel, work, volunteering, studies, exercise, etc. Whatever you are interested in you should have plans to do those things by yourself, or even better, with someone you can share the experience with.

Katy0130005.jpg

I walked the Honolulu Marathon in 1987 I finished in 7 hours and 30 minutes

You should never feel bored with your life because there is so much to enjoy. There are always events you can enjoy in this world. There are things that enrich your life and give you stories to share; which makes you a more interesting person to be around.

KatysFriends (42).jpg

Afternoon tea with friends!

I don’t believe everything in your life should be planned; sometimes it’s nice for life to just unfold. You will be surprised by the joy your day bring! You should also look for those activities in your community that you know you will enjoy. Search for interesting events in your state and take a road trip and attend. If there is a long ago friend living there whom you haven’t seen in years plan to visit he or she while you are there. You can renew acquaintances and relive events in your past. Who knows what joy that may bring!

KatysFriends (52).jpga trip to the Alabama beach with friends!

I love plays so I look at what’s playing in my community that I would like to attend. I like to travel so I look for travel that I might want to save for, however I also explore new areas in the city that are interesting. In-town events are the cheapest way to travel and keep you abreast of interesting things around your city. I love movies so I look at whats playing at the theatres. Visiting the library is a must to search for books and new authors I want to read. I always keep a book going by my bed or in the living room and keep the TV turned off and music going unless it’s time for my favorite television program, which are not very often.

IMG_0424

Movie with friend!

Fill your life with variety, let the every day be a surprise or have it’s own flavor. Yes, I like that, “the flavor of my day” should become your motto; how grand or inspiring can it be. Let me know about your discoveries for your life, and how your dreams come true. Maybe you can help someone discover his or her joy in living life well.

KatysFriends (33).jpg

A meal with a friend who you can weird with!

**Let me know if I can share your discoveries in my blog.

Episode #1 – Hello I’m Katy

I’m Katy!

I’m writing this blog for all of you to answer this question for yourself, “How well can I live?”

I am very fortunate to have lived a happy and healthy life for eighty years and I want to continue to do so for as long as possible. Actually, I feel sixty and wonder who I’m looking at in the mirror each day.

I own my own business which I started at seventy and plan to continue owning it for many years to come. Painting with a Twist is a franchise business which bring people a great deal of pleasure, fun and happiness. It give seven young artist a fun, enjoyable, and well paying part time job while developing their own talent. Also owning this business helps me live a good lifestyle and also keeps me living independently.

I love to read and I just finished a wonderful series by Louise Penny, a Canadian author, of mystery novels set in the Canadian province of Quebec. Wonderful, I highly recommend this series!

Sometimes I wake at night and am no longer tired so I gather all my pillows around me and read until my eyes grow heavy and I once again fall asleep. There is nothing better than a comfortable bed with lots of pillows and thoughts of a wonderful story in your head to dream about. What you do not want to do is read something stimulating that will keep you awake. These are the books you read during the day when you feel bored. “There is a time and place for everything,” just like, ” to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”

My family is the most important thing in my life! I have three grown children and each have three children. My nine grandchildren fill my life with so much fascination and excitement. I will be documenting their lives because I want them to know how proud I am of them and their accomplishments and to also know how much joy they have brought to my life.

My two daughters and my son are a blessing to me and I am fortunate that they live close to me. Each one of them brings a different perspective to my life. I love the different viewpoints and attitudes of these unique adult children of mine and appreciate how they color my world.

My children wanted to know how I want to celebrate this milestone birthday. I have to say I’m not excited about reaching this age simply because I don’t have lots of years left to look forward to. I do plan to live to “one hundred” but that’s only twenty more good years.

So this blog will be examples and illustrations; paradigms of the lives of the people I love and who love me. It’s our history and my gift to them!

Tune in and let me hear from you!