Manilia Josephine Aydell
by Ray Matherne
Born July 11, 1890
Married February 28, 1911
to Francois Anatole Matherne
Died Dec. 9, 1993
One of my mother’s earliest stories of her childhood was about a trip to New Orleans. Her dad took her and her sister Alice by boat to Mardis Gras. The boat regularly transported supplies from New Orleans and logs from French Settlement. The boat landing in New Orleans was at the foot of Canal Street. The memory of this trip was unique; it was remembered as the most uncomfortable day of her life! This was due to the requirement of wearing shoes for the occasion. It was also recounted to Mary Perrault that Alice was very shy and stayed close to her dad. Manilia was ready to see all the sights and shop all the stores. Manilia and Alice each received a little golden ring their dad purchased for them that day. At the time the story was recounted, Manilia believed Alice’s family still had that ring.
Mother and Daddy were married in Walker, La. by a justice of the peace whom she recalled as having only one lens in his eyeglasses. Following the reception the couple boarded a train to Garyville where her husband was living while employed by the Lutcher Moore Lumber Company. During their honey-moon they went to New Orleans to shop. They bought the following items: a rocker for $2 (most important item to rock the babies), a wood stove for $8, 6 chairs for 50 cents each, a small table for $1.50, and an armoire for $6. Shortly after their marriage the Mathernes moved to French Settlement. All four sons, Nolan, Clifford, Albert and Ray, were born at home.
Mother was a very neat, clean and tidy housewife. It is said that even the chickens had to wipe their feet before coming on the back porch. She was a very open and friendly person and still today many people still tell me they remember her by her friendly and likeable personality.
She had a photographic mind that enabled her to remember names, dates, incidents, etc. She knew all the presidents and historical events, such as the kidnapping of the Lindberg infant, and the assassination of Huey Long (a picture of Long was displayed on her dresser.) She knew the birthday of all her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, and would always send them a birthday card. She knew the date of birth and death of relatives and friends well. She remembered floods, hurricanes, wars, good times and disasters.
Mother enjoyed attending the Livingston Parish Fair, especially on Old Folks Day. In 1979, they were documented as being the longest married couple in Livingston Parish with 68 years shared between them. They were married for a total of 70 years upon Anatole’s death on Feb. 4, 1981. She also witnessed the passing of Hailey’s comet twice! Mother was the oldest person in Livingston Parish at the time of her death in 1993.
The two most outstanding and amazing things that I remember her by is she enjoyed eating cracklins and her photographic mind.