1) Daddy would converse in French with his mother and Mom would converse in German with her mother, both their mothers’ tongue. The Spanish word for tongue is ‘la lenqua’ which is the feminine thus the child learns the language of the mother!
2) Daddy and Mom knelt next to their beds together every night and said their prayers and that was after they led us in a decade of the rosary on our knees after the ‘Bishop Fulton J. Sheen Show’ on black and white television in the late 1950’s!
3) They lived upstairs when they first married and rented the bottom floor as they could collect $15 a month for rent! When Mom was carrying Lee Joseph Jr, she would have to go up and down the stairs as the renters had the refrigerator/box! That’s when Daddy switched the situation around! He selected for the upstairs, blue and red wide blinds for the windows and the one door in Dominique Joseph’s former bedroom (where the remaining original blind on the door still hangs although the color has faded)! That door led to the outside stairs which was their entrance to the upstairs. Constance Victoria said that Daddy and one of their first upstairs renters, Lloyd Lassere, would have their bathroom windows open and would sing at the top of their voices while shaving in the morning!!
4) The cedar chest, which was one of their first purchases after they married and was in the original kitchen upstairs, has been moved into the Back Room where it looks beautiful and right at home for a full appreciation of these treasures of memory. It along with the large bureau hold ‘paper’ which is being gone through and divided into categories-to-date: Correspondence, Events Attended, the Eight siblings/spouses/families, Travel Brochures, Condolences, All-Things-German/French, Newspaper Articles for all to peruse for years to come! Pure treasures!
5) Constance had a patient that asked if she was Lee Monlezun’s daughter; she had commented how well he could sing…the lady said, paraphrasing, ‘when my brother-in-law Leo Carruth married, Lee sang the Ave Maria for that wedding and it was the most beautiful voice. Your Mom and Dad sang in the church choir when they first married and that’s how he came to sing for the wedding!!!’
6) When Lee J. told Mom and Daddy that he was going to be a doctor… “later that night I heard Dad tell Mom, ‘Hon, that’s a hard and long row to hoe, but when he succeeds, just think of the good things he will do. He will live his life on a higher plane than you and I. I hope every one of our children will be better than we are. Our role is to support them as long as we are on this earth.’ (Robert Joseph)
7) When we’d get to be to-o much, Mom would put some of us on our knees in the pantry in order to be right there so Daddy could ‘handle it’ when he walked in from the office at five o’clock! He would be handed the strap and would proceed to tell us to holler r-e-a-l loud when he made a popping sound with the strap. We readily complied! He would hand the strap back to Mom and say that he handled it! He knew she knew and she knew he knew but more importantly, we knew! It’s the same strap lying around in the old bathroom, unused, but with the word ‘Behave’ written on it!!! (Its r-e-a-l use is to sharpen a razor for shaving!)
8) All of my life when visiting Mom and Daddy, at night just before bed, I would go into their bedroom and find them on their knees at their bedside, praying. That was a ritual throughout their lifetime; Daddy was swayed and his bad knee creaked but kneel he did with his head in both hands! Then I would get into bed with them and ‘discuss’ things until Daddy would say, “Bette it’s night-night, go to own bed!”
9) Constance found Lee J’s baby book for all to marvel with in that our mumps, measles and chicken pox episodes were recorded by Mom as well as his first words recorded by Daddy which were ’Night Night!’ The book is by their hand as well as Aunt To-To, who was residing on Arthur Avenue during the week, working for Daddy as bookkeeper and return to her home across from the entrance to Morgan Shores for the weekends, the big white house on the north side, set back from the road with the majestic oak and wonderfully aged barn! This is where Grandpa/Ma Hensgens lived and where Mom and Daddy’s wedding reception was held on August 13, 1941. It was a large sit-down meal prepared in the wee early hours of the morning as they were married at 9:00 am in Our Lady of the Lake Church in Lake Arthur, LA!!! Include the travel time in those days and marvel anew!
10) Mrs. Sally Chapman, mother of Peggy Chapman-Oustalet, my childhood friend, visited with me on Arthur Avenue a while back, after seeing a car in the garage which she hadn’t seen for awhile and had missed! She hesitantly requested to see the upstairs for old time sake as she had not been up there since the early 40’s! I offered her the yellow chair to sit on, which was part of Mom & Daddy’s first kitchen set and is placed by the window looking onto the boulevard for thinking which is exactly what she did! She recalled this incredible story…. “Antoine Monlezun had befriended my father who was working in L.A. but we were living in Beaumont, TX as times were hard. Your Grandpa offered to move my family in his truck into the Chapman home on the lake, they rented out part of it…they had the flower shop. We were so very grateful. It was a short time afterward that I was walking by this home the day Lee was carrying Gertrude into their home bedecked in her wedding dress – it was their wedding day! It was quite a sight! Now, my friend and I walk daily and this home is on our route so the early morning of 31 July 1985, there was too much activity and worried faces entering. At about that time, Dominique and Tina were hurriedly arriving so we stood on the street and just prayed and then they told us he was gone!”
I told her that she was there the day they entered their home, that she was there the day Daddy’s soul departed their home 44 years later, and that her prayers accompanied Daddy’s soul to heaven and into Mom’s broken heart! This is friendship that lasts a lifetime and into eternity!
11) Mom and Daddy traveled to eastern Canada one year with Fr. Donald Pelous, a dear friend and their guest passenger. He recalls how …“your Mother would sit in the back sit and I up front with Lee as he pointed out to me all the big trucks and have me count the tires! He would explain all the workings and gears a trucker would perform, noticeable by the sound of the shifting! I had never noticed trucks before but I do now and still count the tires and think of your Dad! Your mother, at one point in the trip, leans forward and excitedly says, ‘Look Lee, there are buffalo!! Daddy said, ‘Hon, that’s not buffalo, those are bales of hay!’” Father giggled as he recalled this precious story! When Mom and Daddy visited us in Colorado and we were driving with them to a ski resort for the day, Hector slowed down and she did finally see her buffalo in a field close to the highway! At the resort, they rode the chair lift up and down, up and down with Hector because Daddy thought it was the most interesting way to make a living, so beautiful and clever but cold!!! I skied down the slope under their chair lift; Oh, the look on their faces!!!
12) On our 26th Wedding Anniversary 2004, Hector found an anniversary card from Mom from the year 2000 inside his anniversary card; I had forgotten I had tucked it in the envelope sometime in the past…like things with like things! You see, we exchange the same cards every year by saving them in their envelopes and keeping them in our bedside tables in the order of events: Anniversary, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s/Father’s Day, Birthday and Christmas. Daddy did that with Mom and only wrote the current year on the same envelope year after year! Hector thought that was the smartest idea of all times and one which we were quick to adopt …for years now! The words are always new! The anniversary card from Mom was so very touching because in 2000 when Mom was reaching the point when she could not write, I didn’t want my family to not have a final birthday card from Mom. So, I gathered birthday cards for the rest of the year and while at breakfast over time when she was at her best to write, I put them in front of her one by one for each family member. She knew what I was doing and never said a word about it. It was true communion. She would write their name on the envelope and a short message ending with Love, Mom! I didn’t put my card in the batch. When the unexpected anniversary card signed by Mom unfolded out of Hector’s envelope this year, it was so very complete and right! He Indeed, Leads Kindly!
13) Constance and I joyfully journeyed to New Orleans July 31, 2004 to celebrate with a long-time-dear-friend and her family, Mrs. Arta Ault’s 80th birthday (RIP 2010)!! We sang a ‘Cajun Medley’ and ended with ‘The Benediction Song’ while all present hummed along! She reminisces in a thank you letter…Dear Bernadette and Constance, “I have been trying to write to you for ages since you gave me that beautiful birthday card (all 54 Monlezun Family names listed!) and the ‘Sayings and Remembrances of Mom and Dad!’ I feel so privileged that you gave this wonderful document to me and I shall cherish it forever. I have for a long time felt part of your family and now you really make me feel that further. I have so many wonderful memories of you all and shed a few tears while reading your words which I could remember so fondly. It’s hard to believe that we live so far away and still feel so very much connected. Even Hurricane Ivan brought back memories of your calling to say, ‘You must come to Lake Arthur!’ Of course who could refuse that offer?” Mrs. Ault writes +…
+ “I remember the first time I met your parents. We were at a final concert of ‘The Dameans’ and Gary introduced them to me. What a large family! I invited one and all to come to Hickory Street to spend the night; probably from Charles down to Dominique. We had a ball! I remember bringing beach chairs from outside to use as beds and I remember that someone slept on the window seat! That was the very first time I got to know the Monlezuns after hearing Gary speak so fondly of your wonderful family from Lake Arthur. I guess the rest is history!”
+ Mom and Daddy went to the New Orleans World’s Fair in 1984 and invited Mrs. Ault to accompany them. She writes, “We had a really good time and as we were walking through one area, we suddenly missed your Dad. I can still see him lying in the bed trying it out. Your Mom and I laughed so hard … she asked him what was he doing in that bed and he said, ‘Gert, I want to buy this bed’ and off he went to see the salesman. Well, she and I sat down beside them as they discussed the price and I think she almost fainted when she heard it. She suggested that they wait and shop around but he was determined to buy that one, especially when the salesman said he would come and set it up. He was some happy guy and then your Mom joined him in the bed! I surely wish I had a picture of that other than in my mind! I just rocked away in a very comfortable rocker nearby as they got what your Dad wanted.”
+ “It would take volumes to tell you how much your friendship and love has meant to me and all of the family. The many years of being with you all to start the New Year, especially the one to welcome 2000 where we all had such a great time and were so happy that your Mom felt well enough to attend. I will cherish that time forever. But I’ll always remember the first time I was there for New Year’s Eve and I was in bed before midnight – for the first time in my life, I believe!”
+ “But before I close, I do want to relate the last wonderful visit from your parents as they went to visit you, Bernadette, in Washington, D.C. I think this was the second time this happened, that they stayed overnight with me because the train didn’t go directly to D.C., they stayed one night going there and one night on their return on the way to Lake Charles. We were sitting on the sofa in my living room talking about their wonderful trip and their side trip to Hershey, PA and the Amish country in PA. Your Dad just couldn’t make himself say the name of the place they visited and liked so much until I said ‘Intercourse, PA?” Well, I thought he would fall of the sofa but I told him that I had been there and thought it was a beautiful place! Needless to say that your Mom got quite a kick out of that! Then it was time to take them to the train station for their return trip to Lake Charles. Your Dad asked me to take him to a place to get some Hershey candy because he hadn’t wanted to carry candy all the way from Hershey, PA but wanted to bring souvenirs from there. Then I brought them to the station and watched as he got the suitcases out of the car in his grey jumpsuit (which my husband also liked to wear, they were so comfortable). Their final words to me ‘come and see us soon’ and sure enough, I was in Lake Arthur several days later for your Dad’s funeral. I do have so many beautiful memories of your folks, some happy, some sad. Thank you again for including me in ‘The Greater Monlezun Family.”
+P.S. “And to top it all off and really put me in the family, we might be related! My grandfather came from the Tarbes region of France also! Who knows? His name was Victor Adema and lived in LA in Pointe-a-la-Hache down river from New Orleans in Plaquemines Parish. Small world, isn’t it?! Love you all very much.” Love, Mrs. Ault
14) Was there anything better than raking leaves on Saturday evening in the fall of the year, burning the leaves in the gravel driveway in from the street with Mom standing with one arm across the rake handle and staring into the big bright flames? It smelled so good! When driving and I spot a pile of leaves burning, I quickly roll down the window, slow down and take a deep, deep breath and remember. Then we would go inside after dark as the embers were the best part especially if pecans starting popping and our clothes were permeated with the fire smell. Daddy would parch pecans on cookie sheets, throw a little salt on ‘um and watch them disappear!
15) “Sometimes, in the early days, I (Mom) never knew what was going to be at the back door with the knock…a large fresh pork roast, chickens ready for the pot, fresh beef, eggs, shrimp whatever Lee’s customer could barter. And then one day, he bought the large ‘Rich Plan’ & freezer and we put it behind the door in the pantry and it stayed full! I ordered what I needed and it came to my door and that was heaven! When Lee went to the store, he brought home cases of canned goods. He had shelves built high up in the pantry and one of the children would stand on the washing machine and stack those cans! We peeled ten pounds of potatoes daily; I bought big pots and filled them up! We had a Narris milk machine with two 5-gallon cans of cold, cold milk and one 5-gallon can of cold water; a five-gallon can of milk was changed every three days!! I sent children to Adam’s Store when I needed something. I fixed three main big meals a day to fill them up. I never served sandwiches, they would have been starving two hours later and I didn’t buy snacks, cold drinks and all that! That cleaned their plates! We started lunch at 10:00 am to have it on the table for 12-noon. That’s when Lee walked in for lunch. We started supper at 3:30 pm after the children woke from their naps and played outside; supper was served at 5:00 pm. At nine o’clock lights out in the kitchen after the floors were swept and many times mopped due to the spilled milk! We all knelt in the back room and said a decade of the rosary then they got ready for bed! The boys were upstairs and the girls had their room downstairs. Once a month, I attended the Catholic Daughters meeting and Lee went to his Knights of Columbus meeting. I knew what I had to do every morning I got out of bed! Lee ran the office and I ran the home. I stayed home and raised my children and at night when we went to bed and everything was done, well, that was the best feeling in the world!” (Mom shared these words with the ladies during lunch at my Silent Retreats in Virginia and on Spring Street for they would inevitably ask, how did you do it?!!! Many young mothers consider her their ‘Patron Saint’ now, for I have ‘given her' to many!)
16) It was time for a road trip! Mom would oversee the packing of the clothes suitcases, bottles, diapers, food, straighten the house and then shut her down, clothes all windows, check yard hoses, get all of the children in the car parceled out by the windows with babies & little ones in laps (no seat belts back then!) ordering all eyes forward and all hands in ones lap so as to begin the safe-trip- prayer! Daddy would get behind the wheel, lead us in prayer once all were settled down, and then say, “Mom, do you have the baby’s bottles and diapers’ and the reply was, ‘Yes Hon!’ Two miles from the house, “Mom, did you pack water and turn off the stove?!’ ‘Yes Hon!’ “About ten miles from home, Daddy would settled down and begin the songfest! All was well. (He would travel with cash and one credit card which he extracted from the safe in his office! Upon returning from a trip, he would put it back!!)
17) If we laid down after dinner in the back room and napped nicely while Mom ironed standing in the kitchen by the milk machine, we could go to the office at 3:00! At that time sharp, we flew out the back door by the hutch and down the alley into the store where Daddy was full-throttle at work. My three brothers were on deliveries with the men or doing whatever they were told to do! I was very young and would climb up the pile of large tractor tires to ‘my office’ right above Daddy’s desk on top of his office! It would get very hot/cold up there but I loved it! He would give me paper clips, a pad (from an insurance company!) that was my to do list, pencils and pens, tape to hang pictures of horses, a place for my ‘keys’, a box for a trashcan set back so that I could pitch in from afar like Daddy and an apparatus with a point that could hold my notes and whatever else made my desk look exactly like his desk. (He wouldn’t let me have a pipe or ashtray to tap the pipe into before he filled it up again!) What I didn’t have I would make the sounds for like the adding machine or opening the safe! I didn’t need the telephone sound for when it rang, it was amplified so that everyone in the store and around the bulk plant heard the phone, for it brought orders! I would listen for he had cut a round hole in the glass for customers to speak through, and mimic him talking to customers…’Bud, I don’t need any more bales of twine this trip!’ I would wait for him to call, ‘Bette, let’s go make a deposit at the bank!’ Daddy had one of the men gather two sawhorses with a board on top, a ‘high’ chair and there, at my ‘desk’, I would organize, write the orders (slowly moving my entire arm!), add up and checkmark the receipts from the butane or fuel deliveries in pencil which I would toss back on the desk just like he did. I had stamps (which I would cut from envelopes from the trashcan!), liquid messy glue, uncut but wrinkled envelopes (yes, also from the trashcan; that was recycling!) and ‘mail out’ the statements at the end of the month! I was alone, thinking, organizing and doing business and that was the early 1950’s which put me about 5 years of age!! Now, that was heaven! I have had a desk ever since and well, you know the rest of the story!!! I came by it all honestly and oh- so- naturally. Then Daddy bought Dolly, our Shetland paint pony, whose one white side looked like the United States! And I was never seen or heard from again except from the saddle!!!
18) A column from The Crowley Signal 1949 entitled ‘Along Rural Route with
Joe Werner.’ This is too-o wonderful!
Mr. and Mrs. C.L. Hensgens live on a huge 840 acres rice farm three miles west of Lake Arthur on the Morgan Plantation right on the lake front and you talk about a beautiful place; there is a fine rice crop as background and the blue lake water in contrast! It must be a gorgeous sight when the rice is in full head and I surely intend to see it this fall, believe me. They have 350 acres in rice this year, 500 in fine pastureland.
The Hensgens have no children but they sure do have everything else. A flock of 100 small and large chickens, 110 Black Angus cows and three bulls make up one the largest herds I’ve seen yet. Besides they have two saddle horses which are pets of the pair.
Mr. Hensgens’ rice is all up and he can rightfully boast of a good stand. He feels crop prices this year will be just about what they were last year and feels there has been sufficient rain to date.
Their five-room home is attractive and neatly kept with many very pretty flowers, trees and shrubs around the place.
In addition to all his duties in connection with his flocks, herds, rice and so on, Mr. Hensgens has just recently bought 90 per cent of ownership in the Pigtail, a custard stand in Rayne.
We welcome these fine folks to the fast-growing lists of Signal subscribers and know they will enjoy getting this popular, folksy newspaper six times a week.
Mr. and Mrs. Lee J. Monlezun live right in Lake Arthur with their nice family of four bright youngsters. Mr. Monlezun operates the Magnolia bulk plant and is an income tax consultant, bookkeeper and handles a good bit of rental property. He has a filling station also and right next door to it the Bluebird stand, a venture in which his brother-in-law, C.L. Hensgens, is also interested. These two men are also partners in the Rayne Pigtail custard stand.
Their lively family includes Lee J. Jr., age 7, Robert J., 5, Charles J., 3 and Bernadette, a cuddly two year old. They are cute and talkative and all of them are musical, liking singing particularly. That interested me especially, of course, as me and my kids try to do a little singing now and then.
They have ten healthy chickens which they keep just for big family’s enjoyment.
Lots of nice trees and worlds of shrubs and flowers make their great big 12-room home very pretty and it is certainly a grand comfortable home for this nice big family.
It’s nice to know that the Monlezuns will enjoy getting and reading The Signal from now on and we know from what everybody tells us that the youngsters will be reaching for this popular, newsy paper when it arrives for the pictures and comics and later, when the youngest ones begin to read, for the news of the folks they know all around the area.
19) Kay Frances Gautreaux-Dugruise is my first cousin and Daddy’s Godchild. She sent me an email November 2, 2002. “Had to share this with you. I was praying the rosary before a large “Mary” chapel in St. Joseph Co-Cathedral (Thibodaux, LA). It is very inspiring with all of the stained glass windows and such. Had a thought about how Aunt Gert’s passing was simply a ‘transference of laps.” Veronica and Alvin sat patiently on Mary’s lap for awhile, then when Uncle Lee came along, they rested on his lap, and now with Aunt Gert there, each parent has a child on each lap…taking turns of course! Doesn’t that present a beautiful sight!”
20) ‘Monlezuns Have 10th Child’
Mr. and Mrs. Lee J. Monlezun, Sr., of Lake Arthur are the proud parents of their tenth child, Dominique Joseph, born Tuesday, September 20, (1960) at 1:15 pm at Jennings American Legion Hospital.
Mrs. Monlezun has delivered six boys and four girls, all born at the local hospital.
They are Lee J. Jr., 17, delivered by Dr. L.E. Shirley, Sr.; Robert J., 16, delivered by Dr. Heinen of Lake Arthur; Charles J., 14, Anna Bernadette, 12, Constance Victoria, 10, all delivered by Dr. Richard of Lake Arthur; Malcolm J., 7, Alvin J., 6, Ione Marie, 4, Veronica, 19 months, and the latest, Dominique, J., all delivered by Dr. Harold Sabatier.
Mr. and Mrs. Monlezun have lived in Lake Arthur since their marriage in August, 1941. Mr. Monlezun is one of the town’s leading businessmen, operating bulk oil, butane and sporting goods businesses.
21) In October 8, 2000 Mom was preparing to celebrate what would be her final Germanfest in her beloved Roberts Cove, LA. She died November 28, 2000. I requested of my friend Nancy S. to make a wreath of flowers for Mom to wear in her hair as this is part of the costume many of the Cove ladies wear at this festival. My dear friend lovingly made this treasure by her talented hands with heart and wrote a letter.
In Celebration of Roberts Cove, Louisiana
To My Friend Bernadette,
As I sat making this wreath, much like your family, it just kept getting bigger:
2 white gardenias and Dad
10 yellow roses the children
19 red roses the grandchildren
5 pink dogwoods the great-grandchildren
2 pink dogwood blooms the “soon-to-be great-grandchildren”
Baby’s breath a sign of more children to come
Three ribbon colors, holding the circle together – The Trinity!
Enjoy and celebrate, your family has given much to the garden of life, leading and lighting. Love, Nancy
This treasure is in the closet in the ‘Original Bedroom’ on Arthur Avenue! My two eldest nieces had this wreath highlighted in a prominent place at their wedding receptions! Wonderful!
22) July 4, 2004 Lake Arthur Sun Times by Jennifer Vallet, Daily New Staff Writer
MONLEZUN DONATES CLOCK TO LAKE ARTHUR, WELSH, LA
The communities of Lake Arthur and Welsh will be kept on time thanks to a gift from a local family.
Dominique Monlezun donated a clock in memory of his parents, Lee J. Monlezun, Sr. and Gertrude Hensgens Monlezun, to the Town of Lake Arthur and another in memory of his wife Tina’s parents to her hometown of Welsh.
“I realized one day, after shopping through this Mexican aluminum furniture and lighting store that Jennings was the only town around us with a clock, and I decided it would be nice to honor my parents and late in-laws with this work of art. The community has given us so much. We wanted to do something in return to better the community.”
The clocks were purchased in Mexico and are made of aluminum. A friend of Monlezun’s painted the clocks black and clear-coated them to ensure they will keep their fashion for years to come.
A bronze plaque will soon appear at the base of the clocks inscribed with their parents names and a brief memory thought. “My sister is taking care of that part of it,” Monlezun chuckled!
Monlezun is the youngest of 10 children born to a business-minded father and a stay-at-home mother, “I complained one day about having to change diapers for my three children, “ he remembered. “My Mom put me in my place when she said, “I had to change diapers for 19 years, son!”
According to Monlezun, his father owned 10 businesses (that employed all 10 children in one way or another) in Lake Arthur at one time, and was the founder of the Lake Arthur Butane in 1945, which will celebrate is 60th anniversary next summer.
He believes the butane company is the oldest business still in operation in Lake Arthur.
“It’s also fitting that Lake Arthur is celebrating its centennial this year,” he added.
Futhermore, Monlezun honored the Town of Welsh with a clock of their own in memory of his in-laws, George and Dorothy Bertrand King of Welsh.
George King retired from Superior Oil and opened a mechanic shop in Welsh after the death of his wife.
Dorothy B. King, originally from Roberts Cove, died unexpectedly at a young age from a brain tumor.
“Tina was only 13 when her mother died and was the sixth of eight children. She then had to raise her two younger siblings. Now we have three children of our own,” Monlezun said of his wife’s courageous struggle with losing her mother and finding her own motherhood.
Tina Monlezun, now a nurse practitioner, owns the Lake Arthur Health Clinic, where she and her staff service 3,000 patients, which Monlezun said he finds impressive considering the Town of Lake Arthur only has 3,500 residents.
“That’s just another example of how much we owe back to the community,” he said gratefully.
In Lake Arthur, the clock can be seen at the southern end of Arthur Avenue by the new oak tree. Welsh’s clock will be erected on South Adams Street in the near future.
23) August 13, 1966 Lake Arthur Sun Times…MR. AND MRS. LEE J. MONLEZUN
CELEBRATE 25TH ANNIVERSARY WITH OPEN HOUSE SATURDAY
Over 400 guests attended the open house given by Mr. and Mrs. Lee J. Monlezun on Saturday afternoon celebrating their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.
The couple renewed their wedding vows at Our Lady of the Lake Church that morning with the Rev. Jude Speyrer and the Rev. F. Gouaux officiating having all of their eight children present for the occasion.
Mrs. Monlezun, the former Gertrude Hensgens, wore a light blue silk dress with a lace yoke and white orchid corsage. Their home was beautifully decorated with floral arrangements sent by friends and relatives in commemoration of the event. The serving table was covered with a lace cloth and centered with a silver epergne filled with white carnations and chrysanthemums. The register table was decorated with a white arrangement of baby mums and daisies in a silver bowl.
In the receiving line with Mr. and Mrs. Monlezun were their children, Mr. and Mrs. Lee J. Monlezun, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Robert Monlezun, Charles, Bernadette, Constance, Malcolm, Ione and Dominique and also Mr. and Mrs. Antoine Monlezun. All but four of the original wedding party was present for the event. These included Mayor R.J. Bertrand, Mrs. Herman Berken and Anthony Hensgens of Lake Arthur, Mrs. William Iglinsky of Lake Charles, Miss. Rita Neu of Roberts Cove, Mrs. Henry Leonary of Mowata and Mrs. Frank Schneider of Bayou Vista.
24) This compilation was written 31 July 2008 on the 23rd anniversary of Dad’s death but sent to you in celebration in one week of the 67thwedding anniversary of Mom and Dad, 13 August 2008!
Blessed Day on this the Feast of the Transfiguration! How appropriate!!
(Now I must go and tend the Reiners Family Chronicle data for Germanfest 2008!!!)
Dear Brothers Two,
(also Most Rev. Bishops Speyrer, Emeritus, my high school religion teacher (!) and Provost (LA) and the ‘Goretti Sisters’ (AR)!)
In organizing part of the 'Goretti Collection' in The Back Room on Arthur Avenue, I recently wrote a compilation of data…see below! It hangs on the wall next to the 'Collection' along with a list of the ‘Goretti Sisters’ who served over the years. Thank you, Brothers Two, for our ancestral home where many folk are learning and embracing as a family matrix in artifacts, memorabilia, photos, paper and precious objects all shared for others. I wish I could send you every comment, tear, prayer or note of gratefulness from others! Know that you are stalwart stewards and as Caretaker, diligently take care in preserving the home through the stories in gratitude, respect and awe of our parents. We are the living spirit of those who have gone before and because we are grateful and so desire, we gather, preserve and make relevant at Arthur Avenue through the “Lee Joseph, Sr. and Anna ‘Gertrude’ Hensgens-Monlezun Business and Domestic Collection!!”
Enjoy!!! You’re encapsulated in the data!!
www.leadkindlylight.net Sayings/Remembrances/Room by Room, etc. always added to!
(Post-Germanfest is ‘Place-Based Education’ on Arthur Avenue for teachers & school children!)
Our parents sacrificed for their children’s Catholic education:
…at a simultaneous juncture they had 5 children in 3 different schools!
1. Immaculata Minor Seminary, Lafayette, LA: 3 sons at the same time!
2. St. Maria Goretti Catholic Elementary and High School, Lake Arthur, LA
(1956-1989): 6 children in a row!
3. Notre Dame Major Seminary, New Orleans, LA: 1 son
4. Congregation of the Sisters of Divine Providence,
Aspirancy Program, Castroville, TX: 1 daughter
5. Our Lady of the Lake College, San Antonio, TX, summer session 1965: 1 daughter
(6. Trinity College (1985-1988) with Adjunct Professors from the
Catholic University of America and the Dominican Seminary/House of Studies,
Washington D.C. ~ same daughter!)
www.leadkindlylight.net click ‘Read! Read! Read!’
Their children’s children are receiving a Catholic education:
2. Our Lady Queen of Heaven Elementary School, Lake Charles, LA
3. St. Peter Inter-parish Catholic School, Washington, DC
4. Our Lady Immaculate Elementary School, Jennings, LA
In gratitude for the genesis sacrifice of my parents where six of their children attended elementary and high school, I opened on November 5, 2004 the
‘Saint Maria Goretti Catholic School Special Collections’ with the
McNeese State University Library Archives and Special Collections Department,
Lake Charles, LA
www.leadkindlylight.net/Heritage and Archival Special Collections
(In gratefulness to and respect of Rev. Harry Pelous, Diocese of Lafayette, LA
Founder…R.I.P. Dear One!)
Part of the ‘Special Collection’ is exhibited here; in our ancestral home!)
Treasures are slowly finding their way to the ‘Collection’ as word spreads.
Many of these artifacts were recently gathered with the permission of one of the family owners of the SMG Catholic School Corporation just prior to the elementary school being razed during this the summer of 2008!
…the march and tradition in the values, spirit and faith of our ancestors continue…an updated composite of ‘Remembrances’ #39!!
In the Post-Conciliar church, Mom and Dad were two of the first Eucharistic Ministers commissioned in Our Lady of the Lake church parish in Lake Arthur, LA. Constance Victoria and Victor Wayne followed soon afterwards and were commissioned as Eucharistic Ministers and Cantor as charter members of Our Lady Queen of Heaven’s (OLQH) Family Choir along with their children in Lake Charles, LA.
Post-military retirement in 1988 Héctor Rafael, myself and Antoine Adolfo became members of the OLQH Family Choir. In 1983 while residing in Springfield, VA (and as members of St. Bernadette parish (!), I began facilitating in my home/s a Silent Retreat Day teaching the ‘Dailiness of Prayer’, ‘Ordering the Home’ and ‘Time Management with a Christian Perspective’; the first weekend of January 2001 after the death of our last parent, I requested of my siblings that I move this ‘Silent Retreat Day’ to our ancestral home of origin, as this is the genesis home and, permission was granted! To date, a total of 621 men, women and young adults have attended this special day, 210 persons on Arthur Avenue! While stationed in Washington, D.C., my pastor of St. Dominic (!) parish, invited me to attend Trinity College 1985-1988 and take advantage of an innovative curriculum of study called “Education for Parish Service” designed to enable men, women and young adults to contribute more effectively to the work of evangelization by providing opportunities for spiritual development, high level instruction in theology, scripture, Church history and methodology for evangelization. Classes commenced three weeks after Dad died! During those years I was humbled to be commissioned as Lector, Eucharistic Minister, Cantor, Wake Service and Communion Service Facilitator in the chapel of the Chancery, Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.
Dominique Joseph www.lakearthurbutane.com and Tina Louise were commissioned as Eucharistic Ministers at Our Lady of the Lake church parish in Lake Arthur, LA where it all began! Dominique Joseph also serves as a parish usher (Minister of Hospitality!) and is a member of Our Lady Immaculate School Board in Jennings, LA doing this the tenure of all three children! They have purchased a second home in Lake Charles, LA in order that their three children can attend St. Louis Catholic High School and for them to be together on the weekends as our parents before us!
Since April 24, 2001 I joyfully serve as a Minister of Holy Communion every Thursday and many Sundays at CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital as well as hold membership in the Catholic Daughters and Altar Society in OLQH parish and on July 19, 1998, along with Constance Victoria and Ione Marie, joined the Altar Society as lifetime members of St. Leo 1V Catholic Church, Roberts Cove, LA during their Ladies Altar Society Centennial Celebration Mass with Mom in attendance. My medal along with hers and her mothers rest on the Hensgens Wall on Arthur Avenue; her mother was a member of the Altar Society, a Catholic Daughter and charter member and Director of the church choir! In December 2000, I received from the hand of Most Rev. Bishop Jude Speyrer, the Knights of St. Gregory the Great Diocese of Lake Charles Chapter ‘The Distinction of Monsignor DeBlanc Fellow Award’ in “recognition of outstanding contributions to church and neighbor without material recompense and whose life and work bring honor to the international community of mankind.”
Daddy, Lee Joseph, Jr. www.monlezunmd.com Héctor Rafael, Dominique Joseph and my nephew, Kade Joel, are members of the wonderful Knights of Columbus! Kade Joel is also a member of the School Board for Carencro Catholic Elementary School! Lee Joseph, Jr. was President of the Newman Club (Young Adult Catholic Organization) while in college! Robert Joseph, Jr. attended a Cursillo and is a member of the School Board for Tuerlings Catholic High School in Lafayette, LA! My six brothers were altar boys and in this next generation- Whitney Pierre, lll, Branton Heath, Sye Joseph, Antoine Adolfo, Joseph Wayne as well as Dominique Joseph, Jr., Christian Joseph and the 18th of 18 grandchildren, Suzanne Louise are commissioned altar servers! Also in this next generation, John David, Christ the King Parish in Lake Charles, LA, Katherine Anne while in college in Baton Rouge and presently and Antoine Adolfo, Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish while in college in Monroe, LA are commissioned Eucharistic Ministers. Antoine sponsored and shepherded at Sunday Mass two friends who converted to Roman Catholicism through his church parishes’ Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I.A.) during his junior and senior year of college!
Nique is the founder and outgoing president of Tulane Students for Life Tulane’s University campus, New Orleans, LA. (As of May 2009 he is the Louisiana Students for Life Executive President and works on national policy and legislation in Washington, D.C. with the Students for Life of America’s national office!) Katherine Anne and husband David Charles Dawson, Jr., on faculty at St. John Catholic High School, have recently begun hosting “Catholic Relationships” a one hour weekly Catholic Radio Talk Show in Plaquemine, LA!’ www.catholiccommunityradio.com. Antoine sings baritone in the Sacred Heart Cathedral Choir, downtown Raleigh, N.C. and is readying to sing with the chorus for ‘Handels’ Messiah’ on the campus of Duke University December 2009! Madison Claire was an active member of the ‘Pro-Life’ Organization at St. Louis Catholic High School prior to graduation May 2009!
I am Anchor of the Diocese of Lake Charles, LA Catholic television segment, “Lead, Kindly Light!” www.leadkindlight.net/Lead Kindly Light Diocesan Television Segment which commenced in 1990 during the tenure of Bishop Jude Speyrer, my high school religion teacher!
In November 2007 was commissioned as a Benedictine Oblate/Rule of Benedict, Obl/RB, Holy Angels Convent, Jonesboro, AR with the Goretti Olivetan Benedictines Sisters!!!”
In 3 May 2009, I was commissioned as an Associate with the Congregation of Divine Providence, San Antonio, TX 50 years after I had entered their Aspirancy program to become a religious! My Prayer Partner is Sr. Mildred Leonards, CDP residing in Lafayette, LA
…and this is just what I am aware of and remember for this compilation! I trust there is much silent, prayerful and faithful ministry being faithfully administered known only to the servant and tucked in the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts!! This march of servanthood witness continues all the way to and beyond eternal life…O, the power of wholistic healthy witness!
Our German Ancestors Have Prayed Us Forward Since 1600 and those seeds
of faithful study and gratefulness take root! Boy, do they take root!! By His Grace!
Anna ‘Bernadette’ Monlezun-Pontón, fourth child, eldest daughter of ten children!
July 31, 2008 the twenty-third anniversary of Dad’s death.
Received 4 August 2008 “Thanks for all the information in this email! It's amazing how much the Catholic Church has grown because of your parents and their sacrifices. Thanks for taking the time to document all that…I was shocked to learn that Goretti (elementary) school was razed in the summer of 2008, but not surprised. The last time I saw it, it was in pretty bad shape, but I guess I just hoped that somehow it could survive and be used for some other good purpose. That's really the end of an era! But, life is full of letting go of the past and this is just one more example of that. The good work that went on there will live on in the next generations.” Sister Eileen Schneider, OSB ~ My OBL/OSB Prayer Partner assigned November 2007!!!
Indeed, Sister! Indeed!
25) 7 P.M. Messiah (rehearsals in Lake Charles on Monday nights!)
“Mom and Dad – dropped by- forgot my wallet home. Mom had $1.10 in coin purse –
Had to come by to get at donut & milk – no money to buy food – not only that but Chrysler setting on ¼ tank of gas – not even checkbook in car.
Wish us well.”
(10/’83…Note left on counter in the home of Vic and Constance…oh, so funny but alas, true!!!)
26) Wonderful remembrance shared by Carol C. Pitts, daughter-in-law of Mary Beulah Monlezun-Pitts who was daddy’s only sister!!
“Aunt Gert told me a story once that is hysterical! You know your daddy, when he started the businesses, never bought a new truck…just couldn’t afford them then. Your mom went with your dad to pick up a used truck once and while driving back to Lake Arthur the brakes went out. He kept going because he wanted his mechanic to fix them once they got to the office; more economical that way! So when they approached an intersection on the road, your daddy would gear on down way before approaching while your mother grabbed a spare diaper out of her purse! She would jump down out of the slowly moving truck and stand in the middle of the intersection waving the open diaper at cars motioning your father on through. Then she would run and jump back into the truck and go on to the next intersection!”
Carol laughed all through the tellin and I could hardly stand for I could see the whole thing in my mind’s eye! I love this story and will all the rest of my days!!! Thank you cousin Carol from Dallas, TX who can tell a good story, good every time!!!