Rudders to Roses
54 Part 3 , 11 & 12 Grade
Eleventh grade was a good year, school sports and working. I always seemed to have a job. Jimmy and I had been cleaning chickens for my mother's store. Very few stores Had chickens cleaned to sell. Most were sold live from a cage outdoors at the local stores. My mother had me slaughter and clean a few chickens for some of her customers. This caught on and more people wanted dresses chickens, ready to cook. Mom paid me 10 cents a chicken. Soon I had more than I could do on a Saturday morning. They wanted their chicken for Sunday Dinner, or sometime for other special occasions . I had Jimmy come help, we each received ten cents per chicken. We set up an assemble line. One of us would de-feather , the other would gut them. On a really good week end we could clean one hundred chickens, but most of the time we would do about fifty or sixty . At ten cents each, was still better than most kids earned. Now we both had money. This didn't last long . Soon wholesales were selling dressed chickens, and there went our easy money. plus size special occasion dresses
School had started . I was playing. Football but not boxing. Ran a little track. Cross Country, this was two miles. 15-16 minutes was about my best times. Later in my 40's I started running again. Surprising my times were much better . 11th grade, I was playing more . I was on the traveling team . Mostly I played defense, linebacker and halfback . Romo played Safety and Quater Back . Ronald played tackle . We had a good year. I did get to run the ball some, mostly for extra points. Larry Broussard and I would alternate . We didn't kick for the extra point. Don't know why .
The year was very good. Automobile, dancing, sports, school and work. Dating some . No steady girl . Too busy .
School was about over , April 1954 . Spring football practice , I was doing much better . Getting to run the ball much more . I would be a Senior next year. We were scrimmaging one afternoon . I had the ball and near the end zone, I was tackled from behind . Johnny Dartez hit I me low, causing my right foot to old over, breaking all five of my toes. I didn't believe I had broken it . By the next morning it had swollen to near twice it's size.
I actually drove to school , didn't think it was broken. I went see Coach Jim Williams first. He, like me didn't believe it was broken either . He had me go see Dr. Flory, which also happen to be our family doctor. Plus his son Jack and I were not only good friends and also in the same class.
He took X-rays . Yep it was broken, all five toes. He had Dr. Gilles an Orthopedic Surgeon. He said, we will need to operate , but first we must get the swelling down. I had to go home , lay in bed with my foot raised. Two weeks later, on my 17th birthday he operated, putting three pins in three of my toes and a large cast.
While in Dauterive's Hospital. It was located on Duperier next to Mount Carmel Convent, an all girls Catholic School. I was only there a few days, but the girls I knew there would come by and see me . The nurses would roll me out to the rear door, allowing me to watch the girls at PE. I believe, we both enjoyed this.
The night before the surgery was the BoBo Olson / Kid Gavilian 155 lb Championship fight . Kid Gavilian lost . I had the radio on , we had no TV . The nurse had come in and gave me a tranquilizer to help mrelax. The next morning they awoke me to prep me for surgery . It was April 3, 1954 . I would be 17 the next day. What a way to spend a birthday . I stayed there for a couple of days , then home. I would be on crutches for the next six weeks .
I had been pulling for BoBo Oolson, and he won the fight and the Championship in the 155 lb division he won 13 or the 15 rounds by unanimous decision . I loved BoBo style and in High School and again in the Navy , where I also boxed, I tried to emulate BoBo. Not as successful as him, but it worked well enough. As I said in High School I was a 50/50 boxer, winning as many as I lost. In the Navy, I boxed in Boot Camp and so did Romo. We only boxed a couple of time, but we won both times.
On board ship, USS Princeton , I boxed 8-10 fights aboard ship with other Division. Against other Ships and against other Military Bases. Navy, Marines, and Army. Never lost any fights but did fight to a draw against another Sailor from a land base in Japan. I believe he was from New Orleans.
I attributed this success to two reasons , one these guys were not as good as the boxers at home . The other reason, I had a great Coach. A Lt. Jg , he had boxed for UCLA as a Light Heavy Weight . I learned a lot from him, plus improved my BoBo style .
Bach to my High School . My junior year was near complete , summer was here . I was off my crutches . I had played that for all I could with the girls . While still on crutches and with my cast, I would drive. My parent's car and my '46 Plymouth were both standard transmissions . I had taken the gas pedal off and only the rod from the carburetor coming through the floor. It had a rounded end, I had made an indentation in my cast so it would stay there. I used my left foot for both clutch and brake . I tried being careful , so I would not need to use my right foot in a hurry. It worked, never had an accident or had to apply my brakes quickly. Remember , traffic was not as it is today, much fewer cars. New Iberia was a town of only about ten thousand people. Very few people had more than one vehicle . This was 1954 . What great times we had.
Television was in , my parents had purchased a 21 inch black and white Zenith from D H Castile's , an appliance store on the corner of St. Peter's and Iberia .the TV was not operable all the times, but only certain hours each day. The rest of the day, if we turned it on, we would get a test pattern. Of course it was black and white, no color . You have to be wondering, how we lived ? Very well . Children were not allowed to stay or play i
We were the same group of neighbors, Harold , Jimmy , Geraldine, Roberta , and the Peltier girls, Betty and Joyce . Jimmy and I would venture off to Mr Delcambre's Dairy . Go into the pasture , catch each a horse and ride. Mr Delcambre had never given us permission, but neither did he say we could not. Even when he saw us, he would only wave . Another friend back then was Oran Baradeaux . Oran had two brothers, Jack and Hilton , both of whom worked forMr Delcambre in the dairy.
Jimmy , Oran and I would ride our bicycles together when we were in JR High . Riding through the wood near our home. We had carved out tracks , made tree houses and forts. Oran's dad had a truck farm, would raise vegetables year round. Mr Baradeaux' s place was right back of mom's store on Bank St. It wasn't very large, only a few acres . He worked this with a mule and plow and a hoe by hand . He would pick the veggies in season, load them in his wagon with the same mule pulling it . He would go through town, ringing a bell to alert people he was coming with fresh n vegetables . He must have done well enough, it is the only thing I remember him doing.
After high school Jimmy, Romo and I had gone in the Navy . Oran had broken his leg in a bicycle accident when we were playing . He stayed on crutches for a long time, and when was off them , he had a bad limp because of this. Oran opened a Dry Cleaners and Alternation shop. After I returned home Shirley and I would use his shop whenever we could . But as with most thing time just slipped away and we lost contact.
Part of Mr Delcambre's Dairy was where Catholic High is now. We would get as many of the neighborhood kids and go there to play baseball or touch football . It was a very large pasture, the only thing we had to watch for were the cow patties . Thank
Boxing aboard the US Princeton in the Navy