Dear Smiley: My father and his brothers were sign painters in New Orleans.
Uncle Paul, my daddy Al, and Uncle Lee started PAL Signs in the late ’60s, and lettered signs the old-fashioned way until Katrina floated them out of their building in Mid City.
During the years, they ran across many businesses with amusing names — and did, in fact, paint a sign for a “Curl Up and Dye” beauty salon and its sister salon, “What You UP DO?”
The sisters who ran the salons used this slogan: “If your hair is not becoming to you, you should be coming to us!”
Some others were:
“Hold Everything Climate Control Storage”
“Please Go Away Travel Agency”
“Color Your World House Painters”
“Blind Ambition Window Coverings”
“Gotcha Covered Bedding and Linen”
Fashion plate Perry
Dear Smiley: About ’50s and ’60s dress codes:
Here in the Lafayette area, we’ve got ME TV.
Every weeknight “Perry Mason” comes on at 10:30.
It’s an hour show, but the wife and I don’t worry if we can’t make it through the whole show — because we KNOW Perry, with the help of Della and Paul, will get his innocent client off and nail the real murderer at the same time.
But the dress styles are wild!
Every female, especially witnesses at public hearings, MUST wear a hat of some type, gloves (sometimes carried in their hands) and a small handbag.
All men MUST wear a suit, always buttoned, with a hanky sticking out of the lapel pocket, and a fedora hat.
I’ve seen Perry get a call at 2 a.m. and appear at the crime scene dressed “properly.”
Perry wore a hat in the early shows, but later ditched it.
We can thank him and JFK for freeing us men from that part of the attire.
ALEX “SONNY” CHAPMAN
Dear Smiley: Your column (on Jackie Robinson’s visit to Baton Rouge) reminded me that my uncle Ernest “Peter” Moton was one of the founders and active members of the Capitol City Kids Baseball Clinic back in the ’50s.
One of the items lost in the flooding after Katrina was an autographed picture of Jackie Robinson.
We got to see and listen to some of the great African-American players of the day. It brought back some good memories.
There was a baseball diamond at the corner of Terrace Avenue and Highland Road (it’s now a parking lot for the tech school), and our local hero was Big Jeff Pennington, who could knock the ball a country mile.
It was also a stopping place for the traveling carnivals.
A moment with Jackie
Dear Smiley: Stories about trains, and now about Jackie Robinson, prompted me to write about my best train trip.
It was in 1956, part of the Opelousas Yambilee Tour.
The trip was to Milwaukee, and I was the guest of my grandparents.
My grandfather was a big baseball fan, but time did not permit going to a game he wanted to see at the Milwaukee Braves’ stadium.
Their opponent that day was the Brooklyn Dodgers, and as we were looking around we saw Jackie Robinson walking outside the stadium.
We approached him for a picture and autograph, and he was gracious enough to accommodate us, and thanked us for being baseball fans.
I still have the picture of Jackie Robinson and me standing on the sidewalk in Milwaukee.
Dear Smiley: Santa Maria is located on what is referred to here in California as the Central Coast.
Recently I found this ad hanging on my door:
“Santa Maria Sewing Superstore,
“Keeping the Central Coast in Stitches Since 1967.”
Santa Maria, Calif.
Dear Smiley: I think I just had a senior moment.
My niece and her children are visiting from Joplin, Mo., and I was trying to make banana pudding for them.
When I sampled it, I noticed something was missing.
Yep, sitting there on the counter, untouched, were the bananas.
So, Smiley, should I just serve the pudding as is and call it an un-banana pudding, and maybe serve the bananas on the side?
I could pretend this is a Louisiana tradition?
Dear Montie: By all means. Tell them the pudding is a Traditional Creole Dipping Sauce, hand them each a peeled banana, then sit back and watch them partake of this grand old Louisiana dessert.
Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.