Memories of a Steel Magnolia

I’d like to tell you a story that has nothing to do with fifteen minutes of fame.  Oh no, it’s much larger and more meaningful than that. It begins with my baptism.

Daddy was a member of First Presbyterian Church of Bossier City, LA.  His maternal grandmother was a charter member of that same church, and his mother was the Women’s Sunday Class School teacher for eons. And with a last name like Wilson and Scots-Irish heritage, it only makes sense that he would have been reared Presbyterian and his first-born daughter would be baptized into the fellowship of First Presbyterian Church, too. That would be me.

My best memories of having been brought up Presbyterian were those made during the time I spent each summer at Camp Alabama, a Presbyterian “church” camp.  When I was only eight, I couldn’t wait to turn nine so that I could experience a week away from the brick and concrete of suburban Bossier City. From the age of nine, that one week of every summer was the highlight of my year. 

Camp Alabama* sat nestled among acres and acres of rolling hills and pine trees in the little one-blinking-light town of Choudrant, LA.  Ribbons of red-dirt roads and pine-needle-covered pathways wound past the cabins, to the recreation hall, the ball field, the lake, the chapel, and the cafeteria. I can still conjure the smell of the pine needles and the dust stirred up by the comings and goings of family vehicles as eager campers were dropped off the first day of camp.   

I attended Camp Alabama as a camper for one glorious week every summer until the ninth grade, when I became old enough for “work camp”. We ninth-to-twelfth graders would arrive the week before the regular campers to spruce things up and set things right for the next eight weeks and hundreds of campers.  I attended work camp every summer through high school graduation and still have so many wonderful memories from my time spent there; one of which is the week we rebuilt the entire wharf, and I learned how to swing a hammer and hit nails accurately.  That skilled has served me well many times since.

During my freshman year of college, I worked part-time as a cashier at Brookshire’s.  However, after my first year of college, I would exchange my cashier’s uniform for terrycloth shorts, cotton t-shirts and sandals and not look back. Hooray! The summer of 1974 would be the summer that I finally qualified to be a Camp Alabama counselor to all those children following in my footsteps along those well worn paths. I was assigned to a cabin that would become my home for the summer, and all was going well.  

 

As I mentioned, things were going well, until the day I found out there would be another counselor in my cabin. Typically, there was only one counselor per cabin, and I wasn’t sure how I would feel about sharing my cabin with a stranger. In a way, I felt like Rinehart Cabin belonged to me. 

Her name was Susan, and she quickly won me over with her true southern belle ways.  In her soft, genteel manner, she told me she was from Natchitoches, LA and lived with her parents. I didn’t know if she would like me, since she was so girly, and I was the outdoorsy, tomboy type–and loud! But being the well mannered young lady that she was, she thanked me for sharing my cabin and settled in on the top bunk across the aisle from mine.  Maybe this would be okay.

Because of her quiet nature, it took a little while for me to learn that she was a nursing student at Northwestern down in Natchitoches and a little older than I.  Boy, that intimidated me, because I was just a student of Office Administration at Tech in Ruston; and other than finishing that degree, I really had no higher aspirations, and certainly nothing so noble as nursing.  (Not to mention that Tech and Northwestern were arch rivals!) But, we got along well, and I admired the way she handled the girls and acted as the camp nurse.  She gained a lot more respect from me after that. 

Camp took in on Monday mornings and let out on Saturday mornings, and we counselors weren’t allowed to stay on the campus Saturday nights. Surprisingly, one day Susan invited me to spend the Saturday night with her and her family in Natchitoches.  Sure, why not?

Her family was the epitome of southern charm and hospitality, making me feel welcome and comfortable. After tending to our dirty laundry from the previous week, we ventured to historic downtown with its brick streets and old buildings with wrought-iron balconies facing the beautiful Cane River. Sunday morning, we attended worship service at First Presbyterian Church before returning to Camp Alabama to prepare for the coming week of new campers.  

Although Susan and I became friends that summer of 1975, we eventually lost touch.  I assumed she had graduated Northwestern and become a wonderful nurse, while I graduated Tech and became the secretary to the president of a major manufacturing company.  And life went on.

Fast forward fifteen years to 1990, and I’m in south Louisiana, married to The Captain and due with our fourth child. We had gone on a rare outing without children to see the movie Steel Magnolias. Not long into the film, I experienced a strong sense of familiarity, like I’d been there before.  Shortly after, I learned why–the film was set in Natchitoches and filmed there, too.  

As the story line and the female characters captivated me, I began to feel a kinship with the film; a feeling that slowly grew into a vague sense of déjà vu. When one of the lead characters, Shelby, said her wedding would be held at First Presbyterian Church, that sense grew even stronger. Then when the wedding scene played vividly across the screen, this was no longer just a case of déjà vu; I was truly having a “been-there-done-that” moment.  For there, on the big screen, was the sanctuary where I had attended church with Susan that Sunday morning 15 years before.  I wanted to jump up in the theater and shout, “Hey!  I’ve been to church there!”  And then the thought it hit me . . .

Could this movie possibly be about Susan?  Is Shelby the Susan I knew from Natchitoches 15 years before?

As the plot unfolds, we learn that Shelby is a nurse and a diabetic. She marries and eventually has a child, against her doctor’s orders and her mother’s wishes.  If you haven’t seen this film, I don’t want to spoil it for you, but she gives birth, and the pregnancy is very hard on her body.  She eventually needs a kidney transplant, and her mother is the donor.  The over-arching theme of the movie exemplifies the bonds among these strong, small-town southern women amid their trials and tribulations and how they rally around one another, despite their diverse personalities.  

After the film ended, a sad, haunted silence embraced me while a million questions raced around in my mind. As the closing credits scrolled, I strained my eyes to look for familiar names and to see who directed and produced the film.  In essence, I was looking for Susan’s last name–Harling.

And, there it was:  Robert Harling, Susan’s older brother.  He wrote the screenplay and played the part of the Presbyterian minister who performed Shelby’s marriage ceremony. Upon seeing that name on the screen, I just sat there, immobilized by the possibility that this was a true story–a tragic story about a very sweet girl I knew one summer.  I sat in my seat until every single person left the theater. Poor Captain, he didn’t know what was going on with me.

Questions buzzed my brain on the ride home.  Was this movie really about Susan?  Did she really have juvenile diabetes?  How could I spend an entire summer in the same cabin with her and not know this?  She never once mentioned it.  I had to know, and I had to know right away.  

As soon as I entered my south Louisiana home, I grabbed the phone in the hallway and called Information for Robert Harling’s number in Natchitoches.  With shaking hands and the uncertainty of what to say, I dialed the number and waited; one ring, two rings, then a deep hello.  (I truly hope my memory is serving me well in the details, because I think Robert lived in New York, but by chance, I caught him at his parents’ home.)

“Mr. Harling, I apologize if this seems like a very strange phone call, but my name is Wendy, and I was a counselor at Camp Alabama with your sister, Susan, in the summer of ’75.  She and I lost touch, but I’ve just gotten home from seeing Steel Magnolias, and I can’t help but think this movie was about her.  Please forgive me for asking, but was this movie about her?”

Like a true southern gentleman and in the most soothing tones, he confirmed my suspicions and explained to me that Susan was diagnosed with diabetes when she was twelve.  And then he shared a brief version of the rest of the real story with me.  He explained the movie was loosely based on a play he had written in 1987 as a tribute to his sister and her strength.**  I shared with him my memories of Susan after having spent that one summer with her and that one weekend with their family. We chatted a few more minutes, and I hung up with a keen sense of loss, of sadness, and a new realization of just how short life can be and how small the world truly is. 

I reflected on how some people enter our lives for just a season and wondered what determines the things we remember about them.  Even though I had not thought about Susan in years, she had made an indelible impression on me that summer, and the things I recalled about her were reflected poignantly in that film; so much so, that after not speaking to her since that summer, I innately sensed that this move was about her.  

Susan never complained about the long hikes up and down the hills in the suffocating Louisiana heat and humidity or cabins with no air conditioning, although it could not have been easy for her.  She was tough as steel.   

Susan was gentle and soft, like a flower petal, and brought comfort to homesick little girls, like the sweet scent of a magnolia blossom.  

A Steel Magnolia.

In that hot, sultry summer of 1975, I had no idea I was sharing a cabin with a true Steel Magnolia; and I wonder now how she came to be placed in the cabin with rowdy me.  No matter how, I’m grateful that I knew her, even if only for a summer.

This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of Robert Harling’s original 1987 play, Steel Magnolias, and high time for you to watch the movie, if you haven’t done so already.  If you have, it’s worth another viewing, so grab the popcorn and the tissues, and watch it as a memorial to Susan.   

As Fate would have it, the annual conference and awards banquet for the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association will be held in, none other than, Natchitoches later this month. How very appropriate, and if I win an award this year, I’m dedicating it to Susan.  

I will think about her as I walk those old brick streets of downtown and fish in the Cane River. I might drive by her old family home and wonder if any of her family members still live there.  

One of my favorite campers still resides in Natchitoches. Maybe I’ll look her up? (Hey, Ellen $, you remember me?  Well, I remember you!)

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the play, maybe I’ll visit this downtown “beauty shop” for an “updo” after I get back from fishing Friday afternoon! I wonder if Truvy would approve?  

And on Sunday morning, I might even pay tribute to Susan’s memory with a visit to First Presbyterian Church.

Funny how things have come full circle. 

With admiration for this Steel Magnolia I once knew, and for all those I currently know,

BW

PS:  And guess what else?  August marks the 10th Anniversary of this blog!!!  Ten years I’ve been writing this, y’all!!!  And 10 years you’ve been stopping by and chatting with me!  Thank you all so very, very much!

*Camp Alabama is now a location for Med Camps of Louisiana for children and young adults with special needs.  Too bad I didn’t know this when Miah was younger.  He could have followed in my footsteps.

**Click here to read Garden and Gun’s closer look at this history behind Robert Harling’s play and the interview with him about the characters, and later, the movie. 

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PS:  If you made it this far down the page, please leave a comment to be entered in a random drawing for a Bayou Woman Adventure t-shirt.  

 

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Comments

Memories of a Steel Magnolia — 58 Comments

  1. What an amazing story! As a graduate of NSU and having a daughter who now lives in Natchitoches, this touched my heart! Thank you Bayou Woman for sharing these incredible events!

  2. Wendy you always astonish me with your writing ability. I am so glad to have you as a friend!I truly enjoyed this blog and yes, I have seen the movie but will watch again! You are a very talented woman!

  3. Just this week I attended the funeral of an old friend. I’d only known him 18 years and he was 18 years older than me. Not the usual age of my circle of friends. It made me think “God knows what he’s doing.” I known that may sound silly, but He knew when in my life I would actually take the time to listen to an old guy. Kenneth and his wife, Alma Jean, became family friends and we swapped a lot of stories.
    Susan came into your life at just the right time. You may never know why, but God does. I can’t help thinking that it may have been to make that phone call to Robert.
    One of my friends posted on my FB page, ” sorry for your loss.” But I don’t feel a loss. I feel blessed to have met him and call him my friend. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. Thank you for being a friend.

    • And what you’ve shared is exactly one of the valuable, beautiful facets of life … People sharing time, knowledge, stories, wisdom, experience, sorrow, joy creates a continuum, especially when shared with those younger than we. So I feel a story coming on! Remember the time we were all in New Orleans and I was driving us to the French Quarter? The traffic was terrible on the narrow streets, and I was chatting away, as usual. You were in the backseat, scheming…and in a brief moment of silence y’all all cracked up laughing at me! Do you remember why?

        • I asked what was so funny, and you said, through laughter, “We just wanted to see how many different things you could talk about in 10 minutes time!” Or something to that affect . . . anyway, it seemed hilarious at the time; but I was a good sport and laughed along with you! And probably kept right on blabbing!!

  4. I think of you as our own Steel Magnolia Wendy. You have written an awesome story here. I shared it on Facebook so others could enjoy it as well.😘

    • Oh, Debbie, I’m honored; but having known Susan, I might have a LOT of steel, but I’m not so sure about the sweet magnolia part! Thank you for your sweet words and for sharing! I really appreciate it.

  5. What a wonderful memory to share with us. I have watched the movie a number of times and enjoyed it every time.
    Hubby and I were in Natchitoches about 12 years ago and took a carriage tour. Our guide pointed out some of the homes where filming was done on the movie.
    Remarkable that you should get the chance to speak to her family and find the answers you were looking for. Oh, wait, carriage tour? I wonder if they still have those? Wonder if I have time to take one?

    • Remarkable is a great word to describe that experience. It took some courage to make that phone call, because I didn’t meet Robert when I spent the night at their home. I only met the younger brother, but I don’t remember him. I’m really looking forward to this trip and conference and being in Natchitoches. I honestly did make an appointment at that “beauty shop” for after the fishing trip Friday!!! Can’t wait!

  6. I had to stop reading twice so I could stop crying. I watched the movie last night for the 18th. or so time. I always cry and laugh through it. My favorite movie. One reason being is I know Natchitoches fairly well, having traveled through there, back and forth from New Orleans to Bossier many, many times every year since birth. Since then I’ve explored the city on my own. The Christmas lights on the little river running through town is always a delight!

    I was baptized in that very same church as you were, as well as Dona and Susan. I connected to Shelby’s church wedding in the movie, too, not because I’ve ever been to that particular church, but ours.

    What a life-enriching experience and story. You really were courageous making that phone call. And I hope you get a rewarding beauty shop “do”!!

    • I figured Natchitoches was part of your history, too. You know, in all these years, I’ve never gone for the lighting of the Christmas lights. Shame really. Yep, I’m going to need that hair appointment after a hot day of fishing with my hair under a hat. Nothing worse than “hat hair”! Love you, Cuz.

  7. What a great story Wendy-thanks for sharing it! I went to NSU and have such fond and happy memories of Natchitoches. When the movie came out I was actually living in California and got so homesick watching it!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it. I know you DID get homesick while watching the movie! Thanks for reading, Monica, and I hope all is well in your world!

  8. I loved Steel Magnolias. I’ve watched it a couple of times and I always keep a box of tissues near me. It is wonderful that you were a part of Susans life and she yours. You never know how much you influence someones life just by being there.
    Enjoy the visit to the town and let it give peace and calm to you with the special memories.

  9. I have memories of camp from my teenage years too. I wasn’t one of the “in” kids in school, but in camp everybody was the same. Didn’t matter.

    I had a smile on my face the whole time I read this new unfolding of your life for us. Such good memories.

    Have a great week.
    Jeri

    • So happy I could conjure some good memories for you, Jeri! You’re right – at camp everyone is the same! No cliques, etc. Even ground. And if it’s church camp, kids tend to be kinder, well, most of the time. I hope to have a great time when I go!

  10. Good reading blog. Steel Mag. is a favorite of mine and so is Natc. The Christmas light are wonderful. Try the tour of Cane river and the houses along there. The artist Clementine resided and painted in one of the old plantations houses.

    • Hey Margie and welcome to the bayou and this blog. Since this is a state professional conference, my weekend is already planned, so I won’t get to take any tours this time. Maybe I’ll go back another time and do as you suggest. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Well, Native Son, since you’re not from north Louisiana, it’s okay that you haven’t seen this chick flick! But I think you’ll enjoy it, especially if you watch it with your significant other! Thanks for stopping by, John!

  11. Thanks for sharing memories of your friend and the remarkable story of her life. Amazing that 30 years have passed! I watch the movie each time there is an opportunity. My memories are of standing in line at NSU for my sons to interview for the parts of the brothers!

    There are so many facets of the movie which truly depict life as we know it. During the last years of her life, my mother lived with me. A week could not go by without going to the beauty shop. We went to one in the home of a friend where so many times I related it to Steel Magnolia’s beauty shop because of the friends and conversation.

    Now I will connect your memories to the movie and enjoy it even more.

  12. Thanks for sharing your memories. As a Southerner, raised in a small town, Steel Magnolias pricks my heart everytime I watch it. Congratulations on your ten years of blogging. I found you several years ago looking for a fig preserve recipe and have been hooked since then.

    • Wow, Kippy! Hooked? Now that’s a word I can truly appreciate having written here for ten years, it’s truly a labor of love and words like yours make it all the more worthwhile. Yep, those fig preserves recipes are still some of the most viewed on this blog. Seems like figs ripen somewhere in the world all through the year! Thanks for being here, Kippy!

    • I had a feeling it was one of your favorites, especially as the mother of three daughters. I’m happy you enjoyed the story, and thanks for taking the time to write both here and on Facebook!

  13. Hi, Wendy!!
    I knew your sweet daddy and Ms. Jackie. We went to First Pres, Bossier City after moving from McCook, Nedraska. That’s where I took my best friend and her mother to see that wonderful movie!
    Many years later I was prevlaged to treat Susan’s lovey mother and meet her father at my dental office. She told me she would never have made it through without that wonderful man helping her!!
    What a small world!!
    Love your stories so much–Doris K.

    • Welcome, Doris, and I’m very pleased that you knew my sweet daddy and Jackie. Very few here know my family personally, so this means more to me than you know. I’d like to think that he would be proud of the things I’ve accomplished, and life would be much sweeter if he had just gotten to stay around long enough to see all my kids grown and see my “second life”, post-children-wrangling, as he used to call it. So, you treated Susan’s mother in Shreveport or Bossier? I don’t remember much about her father, but no doubt he was the strong, protective, typical southern gentleman. I think he’s still living and about 94 years old. Sound about right? I know she passed away several years ago. Thanks again.

      • Yes to the Southern Gentleman part–very tall with beautiful white hair!! I worked in Shreveport for almost 24 years.
        Miss your sweet daddy every day–what a man!! He and my hubby made a pair–he still laughs about your dad singing in church( only he was singing in Koran!!) Jackie and I were in the choir loft and could see my John’s shoulders shaking–but we had not a clue what was going on!!

        • Doris, I sent you an email so we could continue our conversation. Thanks for letting me know you and your husband knew this side of Daddy!

  14. Tears. Such emotions in one short story. I seemed to feel it all along side of you. It made me try to remember any similarities from my own childhood. Sad to say there were none. The genuine love and compassion expressed in the movie made my heart sing yet also made it sad to remember that I was not raised that way. Yes I did see the movie and I will certainly watch it again. Thank you.

    • Sherry Rae, your comment really pulls at my heart strings, both as a mother and a friend. Your words make me sad, also; but they remind me to be thankful for the childhood I had and to not take it for granted. I can’t help but wonder if you’re a mother, and if so, are you finding the strength to give your children the upbringing you missed? You don’t have to answer, because this is so very public, but know that you are in my thoughts and that you words have hit home with me. You will be on my mind . . . . .

  15. Wendy,
    Sitting here on a rainy monday morning reading your blog and it gave me a chill and moved me to tears. Steel Magnolia’s is my very favorite movie in the world and now after hearing your story, I love it even more. Thank you for sharing. Wish I lived closer, I would love to spend some time visiting with you. This movie is one I’ve watched over and over and now I will always think of you and your summer friend for evermore when I watch it. ps would love to sport that really cool tshirt in Texas!

    • So great to hear from you here Cathy! And I’d love for you to sport that t-shirt in TX, too. Funny coincidence, one of my cousins down in coastal TX just messaged me that she wants one to wear down there to advertise. These are the t-shirts that participants in a Bayou Woman Adventure weekend earn before they leave! I thought I’d offer one up here just for the heck of it; although the brave women who had to earn their’s might be a little upset over it! I’m hoping to start scheduling and promoting a couple of these weekends again in the fall when things cool down. Maybe you could participate in one? We have a blast! I wish we could visit, too!

  16. My mother worked with Susan at Highland Hospital in Shreveport. She was so sweet. This was a beautiful tribute.

    • I’m glad to know that she continued to live by her true nature of being sweet, which is what I so recall about her. She also seemed mature beyond her years when I look back at the memories. Thanks for stopping by, Connie! You’re welcome here anytime.

  17. Wow! What a whirlwind of a story that comes full circle, Wendy! Truly amazing but heartbreaking at the same time. Ironically, I lived and worked in Bossier for a short period of my life and have been to Natchitoches. Your vivid writing brought back many memories… Thanks for sharing it with us. Hope you win that award so you can dedicate it to Susan. What an honor that would be. Write on…my friend. <3

    • What year did you live/work in Bossier? I left there in 1974 to go off to college, and never lived back there again! But it’s where I grew up! Small world. I’m not sure about an award, but I will certainly be thinking about her the entire weekend! Thanks for leaving a comment, Darlene. And you know, I still owe you a t-shirt from our Adventure out at Last Island!!!!!

      • I lived there in early 1980’s, 81-82. Worked for a check recovery service business. Beautiful there…I also lived in Benton for a short time. Real country living including that red staining dirt, lol. Loved the hills and going to the little country store down the road. Found memories of my MIL making homemade biscuits with lard. Best biscuits I’ve ever had, even to this day.

        Oh what an adventure that was…on Last Island! I can’t thank you enough for that trip…still fresh in my mind, especially the pelicans and rough seas. If you attend the bird club meeting on Sept. 26th at the library, I’ll be there…size L. <3

        • I was gone by the time you were up there. I left for Tech in 1974 and never lived back there again after graduation. By the way, my brother lives in Benton and was there around the same time. I miss the rolling hills . . . but the fishing makes up for that! Biscuits with lard. Mm mm mm. Nobody makes them like that anymore! I don’t know if I’ll make the meeting, but I’ll try to remember to put your t-shirt in the car just in case I see you around. BTW, I haven’t paid my dues for this year . . . .

  18. Dearest Wendy~ You are a gift to all who take the time to read your words. Our time spent together was short but so deeply ingrained in my memory as if it were yesterday. When you asked if I’d ever seen an alligator and when I said no, off we went to find one! The trip through the cypress swamp was beautiful beyond words and then we stopped for you to call on a friend (who wasn’t home), we sat on the dock while you sat in the boat listening to the birds and insects around us. You have a way of making life seem bigger and I am sure Susan would know exactly what I mean. We are blessed to see the world through your eyes. Sending you love and a big hug my friend. Thank you so very much for being you.

    • Welcome to the bayou, Dana. Glad you enjoyed the story. I’m actually in Natchitoches right now, having just returned from a bass fishing trip and thought I’d check the comments. I’m getting ready to head downtown and get my hair done—after I bathe off all this perspiration. Man, it was humid today! Thanks again for stopping by. BW

  19. Okay, time for the drawing! And the winner is commenter no. 24! That is Dana! Congrats Dana. I will email you also. Thanks for being here, everyone! BW
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  20. Hi Wendy,

    Your thoughts and memories of Susan are very touching. I never met her, but I know many people who knew her well. By all accounts she was a delight.

    Any mention of Steel Magnolias always brings back fond memories. Charlie and I had just married in February of 1988 when Hollywood moved to town to film it. In many ways that year was a headache as the whole town had to make room and rearrange our lives for the catering and film trucks, stars and all the hoopla that goes into such a big production. Some street or other was always closed off for filming and it was common to run into one of the stars in the grocery store. The company rented some of the nicest homes in town for the duration of filming which lasted many, many months. When we watch it today, we have fun seeing old friends in the crowds as extras.

    You’ll be disappointed if you go to First Presbyterian looking for the pink on pink wedding scene. That was actually filmed at St. Augustine Catholic Church at Melrose with more pink polyester yardage than anyone can imagine. I ended up with some of that polyester back in the day. The funeral scene was filmed at our own Trinity Episcopal Church with many of our parishioners in their regular pews 😉

    Susan’s story was well known by many friends in Natchitoches so it was very special for the whole town that the company decided to choose the her real home town for the movie.

    You may not know that Robert chose to move home some years ago but not to their old home-place. He bought Oaklawn Plantation and lives there.

    Charlie and I live between the house here in Baton Rouge and the one down the block from your camp on DuLarge, but Natchitoches will always be a very special place for us. We go back for visits when we can.

    • Hi Deborah,
      It’s funny about our memories. I read a book this week about three sisters and how they each remembered family things differently. Even though I had been to the Pres. church, I can’t really say I recalled what it looked like; but in the grand scheme of my memories, I guess it’s not so much the church I recognized, but the overwhelming feeling of familiarity. Thanks for sharing your knowledge about where filming took place. I read somewhere that Dolly liked hanging out at the Mariner. I imagine she signed a lot of autographs. If I had had time last weekend, I would have gone there just because. I did ride by the house where they filmed the family, plus I drove by the Harling’s old home on Harling Rd. I don’t personally know “Bobby”, as I heard him called last weekend, so no, I didn’t know that he had bought Oaklawn Plantation and moved back. How absolutely grand. I have a secret desire to own and live in a plantation home, but there aren’t many of those around Houma that would need renovations and go cheap enough! I recently ordered a book about Natchitoches plantations and can’t wait to read more about the man who bought several old homes, moved them, and restored them. I really admire that kind of work, and it’s what led me to purchase and save Camp Dularge. I made some new friends on this trip back to Natchitoches and reached back to one friend I haven’t seen since 1974! Great hearing from you.

      • I’m glad you had a good time. I really love Natchitoches and I really love DuLarge, too. You have done a beautiful job on Camp DuLarge. Wish I could get Charlie to do some things with our house there. But he’s happy just as he is so that makes me happy 🙂

        I had the unique opportunity to go into the church where I was baptised when I went to my uncle’s funeral a couple of years ago. I hadn’t been in there in 57 years when I was 6 and we moved away. It was a huge thrill to see it again and compare my memories to reality.

        • Thank you for the kind words about Camp Dularge. There’s always something that needs to be done on a house, especially if it’s old and has its little quirks. I do the best I can with what I have, Deb! It’s amazing how much we want to reach back, the older we get. And when we do, we see that today’s memories are a mere shadow of what truly was! Peace.

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