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Celebrating turning Eighty

My husband, Julian, our five children and spouses, eight of our nine grandchildren and three great-grand children gave me a marvelous birthday weekend. They rented a large suite at the beautiful Montgomery Bell State Park near us and decorated it with a New Orleans and Mardi Gras Theme complete with Dixie Land Music, Mardi Gras Masks, beads, balloons, flowers, and all kinds of tinsel spirals and confetti. There was an awesome feast of New Orleans foods. I was born in New Orleans, baptized in the St. Louis Cathedral and lived in the Pontalba Apartments on Jackson Square in the French quarter.  We moved when I was six,and I have lived since 1961 in Tennessee, but somehow New Orleans and the French Quarter are still my hearts home.  My grown children also put some poster size and other smaller collages of pictures of me from the various stages of my life all over the walls along with signs and pictures of New Orleans.  I thought that was cool, until they started snapping photos of eighty year old me next to twenty and thirty year old me.  No fair!

St. Louis Cathedral where I was baptized. Right across from Jackson Square and catty-corner to our apartments.  Mom told me we went to the French Market for coffee and pastries every morning.  

 

I’m not very good at posting photos.  I couldn’t get them to stay in a reasonable line.  They started stringing out.

Various ages…..none 80!!!

My only daughter Julie, and her husband Scot and son Jake came from Memphis. Julie found all the decorations for the New Orleans theme and they all spent a whole lot of time decorating.  The rooms  looked out over the lake and woods.   And my daughter-in-law, Molly fixed chicken and linguini and pineapple upside down cake and peach cobbler.  Julie baked both chocolate covered and coconut topped cupcakes…..and of course there was lots of ice cream. Yum!

 

Parasol Princess, great-granddaughter Eisley here from Seattle. Her dad, Josh, just back  to Seattle from Hawaii surprised me by coming also.

Parasol Queen Eileen from New Orleans.  With  twelve year old granddaughter Emma sitting next to me.   Julie gave me the spangled shawl and the wonderful parasol.                                                

Jambalaya, Shrimp and Grits, Red beans and Rice, Shrimp and pasta with garlic sauce. and more. Here our third son, Steve, from Atlanta is helping Julie. (Or getting himself some wine!)

Presents! Yay!  But the best presents were son Mike and son -in-law Patrick in for the first time in a year from Cambodia where they teach at an Orphanage for children.  And our Julie’s son Jordan who was in from Bolivia where he teaches fifth grade.

 

Here I’m with my mom in New Orleans. Of course I fell and skinned my nose and got my dress dirty right before the Newspaper photographer came. Klutz is my middle name.  I hadn’t looked at this photo or the one with my dad in a long time.  My husband found them and gave them to the kids to put up.  Very poignant for me to look at these at my age.  My parents have been gone a very long time.  

 

Here I’m a Senior in High School in Houston

Not quite 80 in this one. I confess it’s one of my better little old lady pictures.

Last year at my husband Julian’s eightieth birthday with our five children.

With my dad, then  a newspaper reporter in New Orleans,                                                                                                                   later City Editor of the Houston Post. He grew up in New Orleans.  Any way, having such a loving family, good memories,  and such a fun celebration came a long way toward making being eighty seem pretty good.

 

 

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We Ought to Have Our Funerals While We Are Still Alive

Okay….maybe two old people shut up together in an apartment most of a month isn’t good for mental health. Conversation at lunch.
Me: “If I die before you, I’d like my ashes in a beautifully wrapped box like a birthday present, carried down Royal Street in the French Quarter in a little red wagon with our grandchildren and great-grandchildren leading the procession throwing yellow rose petals. And I want mummers marching and playing after the wagon with my family and friends following them.”
Husbands reply: “Well, maybe throwing dead flower petals would be cheaper and I thought you wanted salt shakers so all five kids could have some ashes.”
Me: ” I’m worried that there will be bone fragments left and that won’t work in salt shakers.”
Husband: “Well, didn’t Mike have some experience in sifting those out in Cambodia?”
Me. ” But not his mom’s!! Let’s stick with the box and you can distribute the ashes later or not. I’m not sure I trust Tommy with them after he said that he could drop my ashes over Paris on their way to Italy out the plane’s toilet!”
Husband with sly smile: “Okay. You’re going to trust me?”
Me: “Maybe not. I’d choose Steve, but then there was that thing about me gluing his plastic Easter egg with the money in it together with cement glue. Anyway when the procession gets to Jackson Square I want a really good party there with Dixie Land music and dancing and everyone gets a yellow helium balloon to let go at the end of the party.”
After thinking a moment, Me: ” I wonder if helium balloons cause problems and law suits by maybe coming down and causing wrecks or something. Oh well. Not my problem.”