Jeez, this challenge ain’t no joke. My parents, lets’ see…
My parents are both NOLA born and bred. Because they are both of Black/Creole heritage they grew up in what was known back then as the creole area of the city…the 7th ward. I can’t remember when they met because, my mom said she always knew my dad. She also told me that my dad’s brother was scoping her out but, she was scoping my dad out…we all know how that one played out. He began courting my mom when she was 16 years old, my dad was in the army at the time. He wrote her a ton of love letters. When I was young, she let me read a few and then she told me where she kept them. When she passed, I took two letters and put them with her and discarded the rest. I didn’t want to pry into something that was between them.
Bayoucreole’s parents were married in 1950. He was 20, she was 18.
My father adored my mother. They’d be all lovey-dovey in the kitchen, which really grossed us kids out. I mean really, when I was born they’d already been married for 13 years and they were still at it. He had his soul-mate what can I say.
I never heard my dad raise his voice to my mom (but, my mom would prolly get psycho on him…just sayin.) They never fought in front of us but, I knew she was mad at him when I’d wake up and find her on the sofa. When I was an older teen and had those “teasing privileges” I’d catch her and say “he made ya mad huh?” Her answer was always a smile…our code for “if you only knew.”
My parents were considered “cool parents” growing up. They didn’t mind a bunch of kids in their home and our friends would sleep over all the time. I guess when you have a bunch of kids of your own…what’s one more gonna do?
Dad is a man of few words…one of those cool, calm and collected type of people. Not one to argue, he would get his point across in one of those really subtle ways that made you think. Kinda hard to have an argument when you’re the only one arguing. Very intelligent and well-read, I inherited my love of reading from him. He was the bread-winner of the family and worked hard for it. A foreman at Kaiser Aluminum in Chalmette from the 60’s until they shut the plant down and he retired, he had the respect of white employees as well as blacks. To my dad, you were either “good people” or not. He didn’t let society’s hang up about race interfere with his life…and he raised us to be that way. We talk more like friends now and he often talks about some things he wishes he’d done differently with my brothers. But, there’s no parenting manual and when you’re born during the great depression, raised/living during segregation and have kids that are literally generations apart…you do the best you can. And he did. He purchased a home for his family when he was 27 years old, we were raised in a fantastic neighborhood,always had what we needed and wanted, went on family vacations, and we were loved. Job well done dude.
My mom was the opposite of my dad…she was a woman of many words. When you wanted to extract information outta someone, you gave them a seat by my mom. The quintessential NOLA woman, she had to know what’s your family name, ya momma’s maiden name, where you went to school,what area do you live in, are ya working, where ya working, and anything else she could get outta you. My mom and I were road buddies..we went everywhere together. We fought at times like mothers and daughters do but, we had each others back and would tag-team the hell outta ya if you came in our territory. I used to love going to family weddings with my mom. She’d always rush to get a spot on the end and I’d sit next to her. And every single time she wanted to talk about someone’s dress or whatever it was…I’d get that poke in the ribs from her elbow. She wouldn’t utter a word but, that poke said it all. A human calculator, she could process numbers in her head faster than the darn register…and please don’t short her a penny…OMG. She was one feisty chick. I look like my mom. My dad says…I act like her too.
My parents were married for 52 years when my mother passed away. She wanted to go first and she did. She always said that, she couldn’t handle it if my dad left before her…I guess God was listening
The sweetest, most precious moment I’ve ever witnessed in my life was, when my father leaned over to kiss the love of his life for the very last time.
He misses her.
This year would be their 60th wedding anniversary.
It wasn’t a marriage made in heaven but, it’s definitely one that made it.