A person who tells anecdotes in a skillful and amusing way; a storyteller; a narrator
In most every Raconteur life story book, we document the first star-stopping encounter and following early dating days. Below are a few glimpses into timeless love stories—those that first budded in 1942, 1945, 1949, and 1951—and that flourished for decades since.
Ruby and Dolores: 1942
Growing up [on the bayou], I knew older guys who had played the guitar, and I wanted to be like them. So, I ordered my first guitar out of the Sears catalog and paid $14. I also bought music books to teach myself and then spent a lot of time practicing and learning. The only time I stopped playing was when my daddy told me he wanted to sleep! I really loved playing the guitar and I really loved music. I loved music even more after finding out that music is what attracted my wife to me.
Anytime my gang of friends and I sat on someone’s front porch singing and playing music, Dolores would hide in the grass where no one could see her. She would hide there just to hear me sing and play, even though the mosquitoes would get her.
Although my gang of friends was pretty close, there were times when nearly everyone our age who lived nearby joined us. I came across Dolores because my cousins lived next door to her, and I would see her when I would go over to their house. The very first time I saw her, I thought she was the most beautiful girl in the world. Later, I learned that on that day, she told her mother, “I saw the boy I will marry.” Even though there were other girls on the bayou, I only ever had a crush on her. I don’t remember what exactly made me like Dolores over any other girl, but I remember that she was the prettiest one I had ever seen and the one I wanted to be my wife. When you fall in love with someone, they just stick out.
David and Shirley: 1945
[After returning from being a radio operator on a B-29 over the Pacific during World War II], I spent some of my leave time visiting relatives, and it was while visiting Aunt Effie in Houma, Louisiana, on November 11, 1945, that I met Shirley very incidentally. That casual meeting projected itself into an over 69-year association, over 64 years of which, of course, was as husband and wife.
The grandmother of one of Shirley’s friends, Shirley Chauvin, lived next-door to Aunt Effie. During my visit, Shirley Chauvin came by to visit Aunt Effie on her way to visit her friend, Shirley Rhodes, who was a student at SLI in Lafayette but was in Houma for her godchild and newborn niece’s christening that day. Shirley Chauvin asked if I wanted to take a ride with her, which I did. I remained in the car while she went inside. Soon, she came out with Shirley and introduced us.
Since I did not even get out of the car, Shirley’s and my meeting was very brief and uneventful. However, there seemed to be a mutual attraction to one another. Although I’ve never been a gushy person who believed in love at first sight, I do recall that strong attraction. I forwardly called her for a date that same night, but she had to return to Lafayette by bus later that afternoon.
M.P. and Flo: 1949
When I wasn’t working, I met up with friends to go to bars or restaurants around Lafayette. A good friend of mine, Arthur Haines, would go with me to a restaurant on Pinhook called Mullen’s Chicken Inn. That’s where I met my wife.
Flo had worked as a waitress since she was fifteen years old, and the Mullens loved her like one of their own children. She waited on Arthur’s and my table for about a year, and we became friends. One afternoon, I took my stepmom and dad to Mullen’s to meet her. Mom approached Flo and said she thought we should date.
Lawless and Angeline: 1951
Unbeknown to me, I met someone very special when I was a child living on Sterling Street in Franklin. Although I only stayed there for a year or so when I was about ten years old, that period made a lasting impact. I lived near the sugar cane factory, as did many other children who would all run outside to play together. One of those children was a boy named Lawless, who was just 11 months older than me and was born in 1941. We became friends, and before I left, we exchanged information. I never forgot him.
Early on in high school, I came across a name and address I recognized: that of my childhood friend from Franklin, Lawless. I decided to write to him. He wrote back, and we became pen pals.
Eventually, I went to Franklin to visit him. At the time, he had already quit school and began working at a local grocery store. He lived with an old lady in town, and in exchange for room and board, he helped her around the house. Sadly, the old woman was jealous and hated me. I have no record of the friendly letters, and later, the love letters we sent back and forth, because she destroyed them.