Who is this ravishing beauty? A silent movie star? A pretty Flapper girl who danced the Charleston on Broadway? Actually, she was my Grandfather’s first wife, Ms. Lillian Thibeau. She was born a little Cajun girl, to Mr. and Mrs. George Thibeau on July 6, 1902 in Ascension Parish Louisiana. Mr. George was a hard working man, farming and fishing to scratch a living for his wife and children. I assume that Lillian had a fairly normal upbringing in her small town community, and somewhere along the line became a lover of dancing. This would cause her a little trouble later on in life, especially after she met my Grandfather, Mr. Leuce Jean Landry. Everyone called him Leuce, pronounced Lay-oose. Leuce was born in Ascension Parish as well, to another Cajun family headed by Etienne and Cornelie Babin Landry on November 24th, 1897. Etienne was another hard working man, a farmer by trade as was much of the Acadians who settled in Ascension Parish. Leuce worked on the farm along with his brothers and sisters until Uncle Sam called and took him on a faraway journey, in a little adventure called World War One. I don’t know a whole lot about Leuce’s Army life, other than he was a Bugler and a cook. I also heard a story about his return trip home, the ship that was transporting the soldiers ran out of provisions, so they had to resort to cooking and eating the Mule teams that were on board and when that ran out they resorted to eating any rats they could catch, along with trapping seagulls and anything else to stave off starvation. That may harden a man a little, I suppose. When Leuce returned home, he of course returned to the farm and from what I hear in the family folklore, he and his brothers liked to drink a little and get somewhat rowdy in the local watering holes. From there I didn’t know much about his life up until I was old enough to remember visiting him with my parents. My first memories are when I was about 5 years old and we drove from our home in Cutoff, La to his home in Dutchtown, La. He was an old gray headed man, sitting in a chair by a window, with a blanket on his lap and a can, like a green bean can or something you’d buy in a store with the label taken off, with paper napkins in it. He would go through these coughing jags and then spit into his can. Later when I was old enough to understand, I was told he suffered from Emphysema. He would always say to the young children entering the house “come give Paw Paw some sugar!” Well, I can tell you, after watching him spit in that can, you had a lot of reluctant kids scrambling for an exit or an excuse! But, we were all forced to go up to the scary man and let him kiss us and then we would run like the wind back outside and very rarely went back in. Later in life, my parents and I moved next door to him, and I lived there for 2 years as a teenager. During this time, I tried to get to know him better, but he wasn’t much of a conversationalist and I as a teenager, had my own self interests, so not much came from our visits and I didn’t find out a whole lot about his life prior to my knowing him. Then, by the wonder and awesomeness of the internet, while doing some genealogy work on my family tree, I ran across the actual court case for child custody, between Leuce and Lillian, over their only child and my Aunt, little Marguerite (Hazel). The results of my findings in the next post……..stay tuned folks!!
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