My Family and I
I was born on February sixth, nineteen eighty-five in Iberia General in the city of New Iberia. I lived in Abbeville, Louisiana on two twenty-five Orange Drive. We lived in a fourteen by seventy-six mobile home. My mom and dad had built a bedroom on to the back of the mobile home. I think the bedroom was sixteen by twenty-four. There was about eight feet between the room and the house. There was a hall with three doors connecting the room and the house. The room was for my sister, Cheryl. My brother, Clint, had the front bedroom. My sister got married and then my mom and dad took the room and they gave my brother theirs.
I also had another brother, David. David never live with me. That is why I am closer to Clint and Cheryl. Clint and Cheryl are not brother and sister. They are step brother and sister. Cheryl and David are real brother and sister. Clint and David are step too. Clint, David, and Cheryl are half brothers and sister to me. Cheryl is also my nanny.
My dad's family is large. There is a bunch of them. There are thirteen of them. There are three girls and ten boys. The girls are Mary, Macel, and Hilda. The boys are Dallas, Burley, Percy, Paul, Elix, Wilmer (Miya), Farris (My dad, Easy or Happy), Vernis (Pewee), Ronald, and Lurcey (Bedo). My dad is the ninth.
My mom's family is large too. They are seven. There are three girls and four boys. The girls are Joni (My mom), Chreen, and Terrilyn. The boys are Rivers Jr., Donald (My godfather), Barry, and Chuck. My mom is the oldest child, but she has a older sister that died before she was born. Her name was Cindy. She also had a brother named Michael that died when he was a baby.
I had switched schools that year. I went from Eaten Park to Seventh Ward in Abbeville. Now I went to school with Amanda!
I still remember my best friend. She used to come to my house everyday. I guess she always felt sorry for me. My dad had been in and out of the hospital. He was very sick and my mom had to quit her job to take care of me and my dad. Amanda was her name. She used to tell her mom when her mom would come pick her up, "Four more minutes". Those four minutes turned into four more hours. We used to have fun. She was a year older than me. I still remember her phone number. It was 893-8935. I guess because I called it so much. I wouldn't go to her house often. I remember when her dad built her a playhouse. It was very small. I begged my dad after he retired and my mom got a job to build me one. It was about six by eight inside and a two by eight porch. It was green and yellow. I think it cost two hundred dollars then. I think it would cost at least five hundred now. But mine was bigger than hers. They turned hers into a dog house and she came to my clubhouse. We always said we were going to get married when we got fifteen. I moved before though. I think she was pretty, and she had freckles all over her face. She had long blond hair.
When I was seven we put our house for sale before we found a place to live. We sold the house a week after. We had no where to go. We didn't find a place yet. We finally found a place. It was in the sticks of Abbeville. If you don't no the sticks, don't go there. It is like Anderson Street, only worse. Abbeville has a big crime rate there. It is the worse section. And that is where we moved.
It was a small mobile home. We couldn't fit all our stuff. I remember the neighbor. She was a striper at the Flamingo in town. She lived right next door.
The first week we were there, there was a shoot out. Some of the neighbors had got in a fight and they settled it with guns. No one was hurt, thankfully. We didn't stay there long. Only a month and a half. I was glad we moved.
A New City
Then we finally moved to New Iberia. My grandfather was retiring after thirty years in the oil field. He was sixty and my grandmother was sixty-one. She had, had a lot of strokes. She was paralyzed on the left side. My mom would fill in his job. She became a truck driver.
We moved into a trailer park on highway fourteen. We bought a mobile home. It was the same size as the one in the sticks. They almost looked alike. This one was a brown. We painted it. We had painted it country blue and white. Later on we changed the color.
I started a new school. I had Ms. Voorhies. She was nice but old. A few weeks went by and hurricane season started!
Homestead, Florida was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew. Word had it, "It is coming right for us!" Andrew was headed northwest which would bring it into the bay. If it entered the bay that meant only one thing, New Iberia would be destroyed. It had winds at one hundred forty and gust up to two hundred twenty. I thought I was doomed.
August twenty-fifth, nineteen ninety two, Hurricane Andrew was just off the coast of Louisiana. I watched from the Best Western motel as thousands were trying to get out on Highway 90, which was backed up for miles. My parents felt it was unsafe to leave at that point and it was not safe to stay in our mobile home. The room we rented at the Best Western motel was on the southwest corner.
By that afternoon, wind speeds made it impossible for anyone to walk outside. Watching from our motel window, Hurricane Andrew was bearing down on us and there was nothing we could do. The sounds of the wind whaling across the roof was terrifying.
About twelve O'clock, the worse had come. Rumors had it that the wind gust broke the meter at two hundred miles per hour at the Iberia Parish Courthouse. Around that time, the roof began to come off. Little by little we heard the roof cracking and tearing like a tin can. Water began to pour in from the ceiling. The second story was completely evacuated as it became apparent that there was not a single piece of roof to protect anyone up there. We could hear as the northern wall of the motel began to buckle and then collapsed. People packed the lobby with blankets and whatever items they took with them.
A news crew had arrived and decided they were going to use the motel as a base of operations. They sent out a two man crew on to the streets of New Iberia toward the newly renovated Exxon station on Highway 14. We could see the twisting steel of the Exxon's brand new canopy. In the hall where I was standing was another news correspondent who had sent the crew out. We watched as the fools drove out under the canopy of the Exxon. He went to the phone under the canopy and called the man standing next to me. The man next to me was yelling to explain to him that the canopy was about to fall. We watched as the news anchor ran back to his van and escaped danger. The canopy collapsed just as he made it to the van.
A few moments later, we heard a loud explosion coming from the street. We rushed toward the windows like fools. The transformer in front of the motel had exploded. It broke apart and pieces came flying in our direction. A large part seemed to hit one of the air conditioners on the roof. Both pieces came tumbling down on the opposite side. Another air-conditioner fell through the roof near the lobby.
About three o'clock a.m., Sheriff Romo Romero of Iberia Parish arrived and said that everyone had to be moved to New Iberia Senior High since the motel had suffered significant structural damage. However, just as he was making his speech he was approached by one of his officers who pulled him to the side. He came back and said that the motel across the street had suffered a gas leak. Since those people were in considerably more danger than us, they would be evacuated instead. He and his officers boarded school buses and left.
By daybreak, the worst of the storm was over, but debris continued to pound the exterior of the building. The sign in front was just beginning to come apart. The weak structure had withstood the worst of the storm but it could bear it no more. Pieces of the plastic pealed off and flew over the motel. The pole which held the sign itself began to fail and several steal beams fell onto the cars below.
When the wind calmed down to about forty miles per hour, my parents decided to leave and return home. When we arrived home, we were surprised to see our mobile home was completely intact and sustained far less damage than the motel. There was only a few water spots in the ceiling but that was all.
A week after that we started school again. I wrote about the hurricane and won third place in parish. Eventually, everything went back to normal.
A New Friend in a New City
I had some new friends in the trailer park. One was Lanet. She was buggy. I had a friend named T.J. We were always together. He was two years older than me. Then there was Hank. He would come over with Mike. Mike lived down the road. He would steal. He was bad. He once flushed towels down the toilet and they got caught in the swage pipes. We had cable but it was always out. Mike would cut the cable line. He ran into our car and caused four hundred dollars worth of damage. My dad cursed him out in French. His grandfather didn't want to believe it though. He didn't want to pay. He finally did. After that he broke into our trailer and took a microphone and a bottle of coke. It wasn't much but it was the thought. His cousin became a good friend of mine. Her name was Ashley. She was nice. She was a year younger than me.
We had a lot of trouble in that trailer park. Too bad we would live there for the next five years.
In nineteen ninety-three, I went to the third grade. I had Mrs. Vandzee. She was a good teacher, and she was nice. She knew my and dad. My dad had drove trucks with her husband. Mrs. Vandzee went to school with my mom. I won the outstanding student award that year. My best friend was Bradley Breaux.
In nineteen ninety-four I went to the forth grade. I had Mrs. Bourda as my teacher. I became best friends with Albert Darby. We got a new mobile home that year. We put it right behind the old one till we sold the old one. The new trailer was big , it was beautiful. It is sixteen by eighty. It is like new . It is only five years old and does not look it. I now have two bedrooms. One is my computer room. I also have a new neighbor, her name is Ashley ( Mike's cousin ).
New Mobile Home
Let me describe my trailer house. It is very long. You walk through the front door and there is the living room. It has very high ceilings. You walk to the right down the hall, and that is my part of the trailer. My first room is called the toy room. I have a lot of stuff in there since I was little. It is also a storage room. The next door is my bathroom, and straight is my room. I would soon have a computer in there and a waterbed within the next two years. I have posters all over my walls. When you walk back to the living room you could see the kitchen through a glass hutch separating the kitchen and living room. The hutch has crystal and china that was my great grandmothers. The kitchen is huge. Then after that is my mom and dad's bedroom and bathroom. They have a huge bedroom and bathroom. There is a big round Roman tub in the middle of the room. The bathroom is surrounded by mirrors.
The Last Years of Elementary
I started the fifth grade. I had Mrs. Stewart. She was also a good teacher. All my teachers were good. She was the nicest. I learned a lot in that class. I got a trophy for all A average. I also got awards for good conduct and for my performance in Physical Education. I had ran thirty miles that year. In fact the whole class did. I got a shirt for that, but I lost the shirt, I think. I had fun in that class.
That summer I went on vacation. We went to Mississippi. My mom went to the casino with my dad and I went to Kids Quest. I went to the beach and I went Ships Island and I got to swim in the Gulf of Mexico. I seen white, white sand. It was the whitest sand I ever seen. Actually the only sand I ever seen. We had never been on vacation before. There was a fort on the island. I think it was Fort Marpas. That fort was constructed to protect the new colony in Mississippi. I went in the fort. I seen the cannons. Some were missing because they were destroyed when the fort was abandoned. The English stole some too. We had to go there on a boat. The weather got bad on the way back and the boat rocked and water came over the deck. I got soaking wet. I had a really good time.
That year I learned a lot about computers. The next year I would get one. When I got my computer in June of ninety-six, I learned a lot about them. I would learn a lot about the new Windows 95.
Also at the beginning of ninety-six my mom surprised me with a new truck. It was a ninety-six Dodge Dakota. It was blue and gray. It was fancy. It has gray interior. They had a CD player but we changed it to a cassette.
The Sixth Grade
I went on to better things. I started the sixth grade that fall. I started in Mr. Medver's class. He was a good teacher. I switched in the middle of that year. I went to Ms. Mealcon's class. She was also a good teacher. I got awards at the end of the year. I ran thirty miles in P.E. and I got a certificate. I also got a all A average trophy again.
At the end of the that year we got a Jeep Cherokee Larado. It is solid pine green. The interior is tan. It has reclining bucket seats. The back seat folds down to make a bed like a truck. We like it very much.
Also, I got a printer to add on to my computer. It comes in handy. I use it a lot.
I started middle school in nineteen ninety-seven. Middle school was different. I had multiple teachers, multiple classes and multiple subjects. I had nine periods.
I started my day with Mr. Ritter music class. That was a fun class. It was an elective. At the end of the year we begin to watch musicals. Then I went to P. E. That class was O.K. I guess. After that I went to science class. I really enjoyed that class. Next I went to reading. It was a good class. Then I went to Advisory class. Then I went to Math class. That was a fun class. Next I went to lunch. I have never ate lunch at school. At lunch time I would hang out with my friends. After lunch I went to language. My next class was Quest. No commit about that class. Then I went to history. I like being in that class. Then it was time to go home for the day. I like switching classes it makes the time go by fast.
I started the eight grade in 1998. It is a lot harder. I was placed in accelerated classes or what you would call honors. I made it more harded. I made a B in reading, and the next sixth weeks I made a C in reading. I changed out to Ms Breaux's class. It was too hard. I am now doing better.
I would go to language with Ms. Gonsulin, the P.E, then computers, then to Mr. Eskind with math. At lunch I hang out with Shawn, Kacy, Jerimy & sometimes Lance. We have fun. Kacy, she always has a joke about something. Next, I go to Quest, or soon to be Home Ec. Then to Ms. S.Tate with history. Then to SCIENCE with Ms. Eite. I like science. I always did. Ater that I come to reading with Ms. Breaux. She is nice. I had to do this report for her.
It was a cold winter morning in early February 2001. I awoke twenty minutes before my alarm was set to go off. I hoped to get a few more minutes of sleep before I had to get ready for school.
I could not fall back asleep, so I lay there and thought about that day. I had just turned sixteen a few days before and I was supposed to drive to school that morning. As I lay there, I heard the phone, in the front room, ring. I thought nothing of it since my mother worked on twenty-four hour call. I figured it was just a run. But what scared me was when I heard my mother scream.
My mother is a strong woman. She never took any bull from anyone and never let anything bother her. When I heard that scream I knew something was terribly wrong.
I jumped out of my bed and from that moment on, everything happened in slow motion. My mother was crying and she was running toward my room. I met her in the hall where she embraced me and could not speak. Then, that's when she mumbled the words, "Daddy's dead".
I was in shock and was hysterical. My mother was still crying as my dad followed her into the hall. She cried as she was dialing the phone to call my Uncle Donnie. My father rushed to explain to me that my grandfather had a massive heart attack and died. I still was confused however. My grandfather was in perfect health other than for his irregular heartbeat.
My mother had relief for a minute when my Uncle Donnie's wife told her that my grandfather wasn't dead, that he was just at the hospital. But that wasn't true. We arrived at the hospital and found my uncles in tears in a small emergency room ward. The doctor then explained he had suffered a massive heart attack due to his irregular heartbeat. He died in my Uncle Barry's presents early that morning before the ambulance had arrived. In the middle of the night my grandfather called Uncle Barry and asked for him to come over because he wasn't feeling well.
My family was forever devastated after this. We had just lost my Uncle Brudee a month before. My grandfather grieved himself to death. The hardest part of it all was telling my grandmother.
My grandmother lived in the nursing home. My grandfather had placed her there after he was unable to care for her due to disabilities he suffered from. He did not have the money to hire a nurse to help him at home either so he was forced to place my grandmother there. Everyone in the family agreed to it because they knew how much he cared for my grandmother. He waited on her hand and foot. He visited her in that nursing home three and four times a day. His death impacted her the greatest out of everyone else.
It wasn't all that close to my grandfather. I wish I was closer to him in a lot of ways. I always wanted to go hunting with him. That is something I probably will never do now. It feels weird now that there isn't him calling to talk to my mom or dad all the time.
My winter break was relatively uneventful. My family does not celebrate Christmas and the other various seasonal holidays like many Americans. A Christmas gift worth more than five dollars is considered a bit much. Usually, we celebrate the holidays with our immediate families only. This year we extended an invitation to my brother's father-in-law and mother-in-law.
My brother's in-laws are from Venice, Louisiana, one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. They lost everything they owned except their car and a suitcase of clothes. Their home was completely submerged by the storm surge. They were more than happy to spend Christmas with our family and to be our guest for the night. Living in a hotel since the storm had separated them from their family and friends.
Also, we celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. We began cooking two days before for the feast on Christmas Eve. My father does not enjoy cooking everything at once the day of an event; therefore, we cook different servings of the meal in small portions starting a few days before. By Christmas Eve, all that was left to cook was the Rice Dressing. In our family, we like our meals with rice cooked fresh. The rice tends to become soggy if we refrigerate that dish for a day or two.
About three o'clock that evening all the food was heated and set out for us and our guest to feast upon. We gathered around our small kitchen table and shared stories of our families. My mother told my brother's in-laws stories of his youth. My brother is the comedian of our family and exaggerated the stories to make them seem funnier than they really were. He even went as far as to sing in a very high pitched voice in an attempt to prove that he could be featured on American Idol.
After our late lunch, we went our separate ways. I proceeded to my ex-girlfriend's house. My ex-girlfriend, Kacy, and I had planned to see a movie that afternoon. Kacy's current boyfriend is the manager of the Grand Theater in Lafayette. He allows Kacy free admission and any friend she wishes to bring with her. We had decided to see Memoirs of a Geishia a few weeks before. Her and I have a fascination with Asian culture and wanted to share the experience of the movie together.
The movie was quite interesting. It started about ten years before World War II with two young girls being sold into slavery. One became a prostitute while the other was to become a geishia. In Japanese, geishia means "work of art." I really hope that the movie shed light on the fact that a geishia is not a prostitute but rather a woman who is rented for her beauty, conversational skills, and to entertain.
After the movie, Kacy and I went to my parents’ house. We visited for a while before I brought her home. Upon arrival, I was greeted with excitement by her little brother and sister. I had known them both since they were babies. Both wanted to know if I brought them something for Christmas. I had brought Zachary a dart board and Hannah a small radio. Both of them seemed thrilled with an early present. They ran off into their rooms to play with their new toys. Kacy and I greeted her parents. I stayed to visit for a while before returning home.
Christmas day we did not do anything. I stayed home and my parents worked. Both of my parents transport materials in the oil field industry. The oil field never takes a holiday and my parents would not miss an opportunity to make money. I enjoyed my quiet Christmas. I especially enjoyed my evening with my brother’s in-laws and the movie with my ex-girlfriend. I prefer a holiday filled with relaxation and conversation rather than haste and misunderstandings.