Dear Smiley: A few days ago I read in The Advocate that Steve Van Buren had passed away.
I have many fond memories of Steve and the 1943 LSU Tigers football squad.
I was a freshman at SLI (now ULL) in Lafayette, where Pop Strange was coaching.
LSU Coach Bernie Moore called on Pop to return to LSU, and Pop asked me if I cared to transfer, which I did.
Pop introduced me to Steve. I was the youngest player on the squad, so Steve probably thought of me as the mascot.
I consider it a real honor to have played with him, and winning the first bowl game LSU ever won.
I feel the victory over Texas A&M in the Orange Bowl was largely due to Steve’s ability.
I can attest to the fact that once you’ve played in Tiger Stadium, you’ll never forget it.
I regret that as soon as I turned 18, Uncle Sam decided he needed me (in the Marines) more than Coach Moore did.
Dear Smiley: A recent column mentioned the Hotel Monteleone, one of my favorite venues.
In 1934, when I was 10, my father was elected state commander of the American Legion.
That summer he had to attend a meeting in New Orleans, and my brother and I were allowed to go with him.
We spent five days at the Monteleone, quite an experience for two kids from a small north Louisiana town.
Daddy gave my brother $5 a day to use for food and shopping — on Royal Street ONLY.
We had plenty of money, even when my brother decided he liked fried oysters and I fell in love with pecan pancakes at Court of Two Sisters.
After a full day of eating and shopping, we rode the Monteleone elevator up and down until Daddy came home.
Those visits to Royal Street shops whetted my appetite for things antique and unusual. My later ventures into the world of antiques and world travel proved this.
I put the Monteleone up there with the Metropol in Moscow, Raffles in Singapore, and others in Hong Kong and Tokyo.
LUCILLE FOX JONES
Dear Smiley: I am enjoying the writers’ comments on the lowercase “l” being the “1” of our typing lessons. I am a retired typing/keyboarding teacher.
I have an old black iron L.C. Smith typewriter that weighs approximately 30 pounds.
I would lug it as “show and tell” to my word processing classes for the new generation to see the machine on which we learned to “key.”
The students would always try to type on it, and when they could not their response was, “Must be broke, huh?”
Of course, I showed off and typed on it — the soft touch they learned for keypads make them untrained for manuals!
Dear Smiley: I could not help but laugh at all of the mentions of “old school” typing.
I began my writing journey on my mother’s old manual Underwood; it was tall and heavy and those long keys could be cantankerous at times.
Imagine my delight last June when I was with my husband and son at City Centre in Las Vegas and we came upon the 19-foot-tall sculpture “Typewriter Eraser, Scale X” by Claes Oldenburg and Cooije van Bruggen outside the Mandalay Oriental, which owns it.
Of course, I had to explain to both son and husband just what the piece was, but I truly loved it, and I am sure that any other old writer or serious student from our time probably has much the same reaction.
CECILE M. POIRRIER BUSH
Dear Smiley: I was one of two boys in a typing class in high school, and enrolled for the wrong reason.
The typewriters were old, but the girls were the latest models.
Unfortunately, the only touching allowed was on the keys.
But I did learn to touch type, and was an expert in erasures.
Of course, I anticipated the email era.
Dear Gene: I was also in a typing class at Istrouma High, one of three boys among 20 or so girls. And at that time, typing was not my primary interest. But, like you, I did learn some rudimentary typing skills that later proved useful. Didn’t do as well with my girl-attracting skills, however …
Dear Smiley: Some time ago, at a Mass celebrated by Monsignor Robert Bergreen, he delivered one of the most-memorable homilies ever.
He began with the saying, “Bless his little heart.”
He went on to say that only in the South can you talk about someone’s worst defect or physical attribute as long as you follow it up with “Bless his/her heart.”
“She has a really large nose for such a small face. Bless her heart.”
“He is really bald for such a young man. Bless his heart.”
I am sure he had a really good spiritual message, as he always did. However, this was the one take-away for me.
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.
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