My sister, Susan, was born in Thibodaux, Louisiana on the first day of summer in 1958.I was going to be 4 years old 8 days later on June 29. We lived in a small green duplex next to a water feature at the end of a road. A single, young women lived in the other duplex. I do not remember her name, but I remember visiting her one evening with my mother, jumping on her bed, and ultimately knocking out her front tooth with an especially forceful jump, that’s what I remember; I cannot uphold its accuracy, however. Anyway, my parents brought my baby sister home and I wanted to name her Susan. It seems the Everly Brothers had a song out, ‘Wake Up Little Susie’, and I loved it…her middle name would be Stephanie, a Christian name given to her by one of the nuns at the hospital where she was born…Susan Stephanie Farris, a beautiful little name with a sweet and notable beginning.
Later, we moved from the little green duplex near the water where my friend and I ate mayonnaise sandwiches and played outside all summer in 1958. We moved into a white house across from a school in a friendly neighborhood with wonderful sidewalks and scents of sweet olive trees nearly everywhere. This is what I remember.
Yesterday, Skip and I went to Thibodaux and he helped me search for the white house. I had no idea where the green duplex would have been and certain it was no longer there anyway. We stopped to ask a mail carrier about the whereabouts of the school across the street, the one I remembered. I was only able to tell her it was 1 story with colored panels beneath the windows. We found it. It is in the process of being replaced with a much bigger modern school and across the street where the little white house would have been is now an athletic facility for a Catholic school. All of that 'yesterday' will soon be gone.
I write this to remember my sister, but to also remind whoever may read this, to ask the questions you want answers to while you can, while your parents and even grandparents are still here, for they are your personal historians, and the unanswered questions could forever be that, unanswered.
In our world of Google and instant responses, it is a strange feeling to not be able to ‘find’ these very personal answers, answers that are not life altering or perhaps not even that important, but they are small pieces of the puzzle that makes up ‘you’.
I know there was a lady named Rose in my life in Thibodaux and 2 friends named Jody and Lavergne and we spent summer afternoons catching mosquito hawks and playing in backyard blowup pools. These memories are fond, and I would love to ask my mother to fill in the empty spaces, to better connect me to these idyllic moments from childhood.
On a side note, but a very important spiritual one, as we entered Thibodaux yesterday, the roads were lined with wildflowers, Black Eyed Susans.There were so many that I commented and stopped for a photo…