I arrived in Lake Charles, Louisiana on Monday afternoon. First thing I did was head to the library. I spent a couple of hours at the Southwest Louisiana Genealogical Library. I had a late lunch with one of the librarians, Armajean (sure hope I spelled that right.) She and I met (along with one of the other librarians from SW LA Genealogical Library, Linda) during the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University in Alabama years ago.
I had not seen Armajean or Linda in many moons, but like peas in a pod, we picked up right where we left off. After lunch I went back to the library and started to work on my research, however, I could not resist the temptation when a "newbie" and I started talking; I went into teacher mode. I couldn't help it. My husband says I need to learn to take that hat off when I have work that needs doing. (oops...I think I said that with a southern accent) He was there doing research with his "Mama" and she had some wonderful stories to tell. (Hi, Kenneth and Mama) Armajean and I were able to find their family in the 1910 census and point them in the direction of "Mama's" grandmother's death records. They were thrilled. I love seeing the way people get all excited with a new discovery, or when they catch the "genealogy bug."
That evening I drove to Sulphur, Louisiana and met my Uncle R. L. (Robert Laurent) for the first time. R. L. is in his 80s and sharp as a tack. He greeted me with a big hug and ushered me into his home. Inside were two of his daughters (Camille and Beth) and his wife Helen. Such a welcome! The girls and I gathered with R. L. around the kitchen table and I told them my story. (R. L. is the brother of my birth mother) Then they started to catch me up on their lives. About an hour into our visit we were joined by another daughter, Andree. (There are five siblings...three girls and two boys)
The five of us set there telling stories, laughing, and sharing pictures till after ten p.m. Then the girls left. R. L. and I set up till midnight getting to know each other. I am so sorry I did not know this wonderful man and his family my whole life. I have a lot of catching up to do.
In true Cajun style, my uncle told me I was staying at their home and showed me to my room.
The next morning, I went downstairs and found a note from R. L., he and Helen had gone to a doctor's appointment and I was to make myself at home. My uncle had included the line, "If you get bored, call Tim Winterbottom." He had included the phone number. I had no idea who Tim was but I figured if my uncle thought I should call him then...
Tim, it turns out, is my cousin. Now let's see if I have this straight...his grandfather and my grandfather were brothers. I think that's how it works, but I will find out more tomorrow...and so will you.