from David Lapham in Sunset Valley, TX
Vietnam has several seasons. Hot and sweaty, hotter and just as sweaty, cooler nights but the days are still sweaty, and monsoon. Monsoon season is no
less sweaty than any other, but it has the additional feature of being very muddy. One of the many constants associated with being in the army in Vietnam
regardless of the season was guard duty. Rain or shine, I pulled guard duty roughly every 5-6 days, each time spending the night on watch at the base
Mostly I would be posted to a bunker, but because I had acquired a military driver’s license I sometimes served as what we called the “Duty Driver”. This
was generally a pretty good assignment since it meant I usually got more sleep than the guys in the bunkers. My role as duty driver was to go to the
motor pool and sign out a 2½ ton truck which I would then drive to the armory, where those on guard duty picked up weapons and ammo for the night.
Everyone then piled onto the back of the truck and we all went out to the base perimeter to get the latest situation report, learn the password,
and collect things like flares and grenades. After this I drove along the inside of the perimeter dropping everyone off at their assigned bunker.
I then went back to B-SOC (Sector B Operations Center) where I could sleep until almost midnight.
A little before midnight I returned to the company area to pick up midnight chow for the guards. I’d go the mess hall, eat midnight chow myself, and
then see what the cooks had to offer for the guards. The quality varied widely, sometimes it was pretty good, other times it was chicken sandwiches.
That doesn’t sound too bad until you inspect one. Visualize a piece of boiled chicken between two pieces of white bread. The chicken might be a
couple of wings, or a drumstick, or perhaps a piece of chicken breast, all with bones included. Uh-huh, they didn’t bother to debone the chicken before
assembling the sandwiches. Oh, and no condiments. The sandwiches consisted of bread and chicken, nothing else. We ate that considerably more than once.
Still, as duty driver my role was to deliver food in the middle of the night and I took whatever the mess hall offered. I don’t recall the details
of the meal this particular night because other events forcibly shoved that information right out of my brain.
It was monsoon season 1972, and it was raining hard. Driving along the perimeter at night I was not allowed to use any lights. The trucks have little
blackout lights that are very dim, but even those were not allowed at the base perimeter. A 2½ ton truck has three axles and ten wheels. All wheels
are driven. Yep, it’s a 10-wheel drive vehicle. I was driving in the rain and dark along the perimeter on what could only be described as a track. It
wasn’t a road, or even much of a path. There was a track, and next to it was mud. In the dark I managed to lose the track, wander into the mud, and get
a 2½ ton, 10-wheel drive vehicle fiercely stuck. Did I mention that it was dark? It was very dark! Unable to make any progress forward, I tried reverse.
I made it a few feet but again came quickly to a halt. In forward I once more traveled a few feet, then in reverse, then forward yet again, and so on in
repeated fashion until I finally managed to ‘rock’ it into continuous motion in reverse. I was able to find the track again, and figured all was good.
All was indeed good except for one detail. Apparently in crashing the gearbox back and forth between forward and reverse I had chipped a tooth off of
first gear. When starting out in low gear the truck now went “Hmmmm-CRUNCH!-hmmmm-CRUNCH!-hmmm-CRUNCH!” lurching along until I achieved sufficient
forward motion to permit a shift into second gear.
I delivered chow to the guards, and drove back to B-SOC where I spent the rest of the night. When morning materialized it was time to collect the guards
and deliver them back to the armory. Having done that, I decided to stop by my hooch to drop off my gear before returning the truck. This seemed better
than lugging everything back from the motor pool. After all, carrying my helmet, flak vest, blanket, gas mask, canteen, the extra ammo that I’d hoarded,
etc. was going to be extraordinarily unpleasant after the motor sergeant got through with me. In Vietnam, the motor pool had some unusual rules. They
hired local labor for a lot of things, but the drivers had to pay the repair charges for anything that happened to a vehicle assigned to them. If we
had a flat tire, we had to pay for fixing it. It seemed strange to me, but I wasn’t in a position to argue. Regardless, I figured for something like
a damaged transmission the motor sergeant would probably just take it out of my hide in strips of skin the size of dollar bills. I was not at all
anxious to return to the motor pool.
A Miracle Happens —
I had stowed my gear and was walking back to where I’d parked the truck when another soldier came running toward me carrying a clipboard. He was yelling
something like “where the @%#&! Have you been? I need this truck! I’ve got to get to Saigon and I’m late!” Being absorbed in my own thoughts of impending
doom I didn’t quite understand what he was getting at. He further explained in a loud, annoyed manner, “I need that truck! Here, I have all the paperwork
done just sign here and give me the key!”
“Wait!” I finally exclaimed. “Do you mean that if I sign these papers and give you the key, that you are going to take to truck right now?”
“Yes” he replied. “Hurry up and sign and hand over the key!”
“So you’re going to be responsible for the truck, and you’ll return it to the motor pool?” I asked.
He looked at me with noticeable exasperation “YES, hurry!”
I signed the papers and gave him the key to the truck. He quickly departed and I returned to my hooch, slightly bewildered but stupendously relieved at
having just dodged what I was certain would be at least a large measure of intense verbal abuse, if not some form of downright draconian retribution. I
didn’t usually drink beer that early in the morning, and I didn’t that day either. I went straight to my bottle of Jack Daniels Black Label and mixed it
with some Pepsi while contemplating the thought that, given the recent circumstances, there might really be a merciful God after all.
The following week I was back on guard duty, once again designated as duty driver. I went to the motor pool and was instructed to take the same truck I’d
driven the previous week. As I drove toward the motor pool exit it had that now familiar “Hmmmm-CRUNCH!-hmmmm-CRUNCH!-hmmm-CRUNCH!” lurch. I stopped at
the gate to the motor pool and went inside the shack.
“Sarge, do you know that this truck has some sort of problem in first gear?” I asked.
The reply came quickly “Some SOB messed up the transmission and if I ever figure out who did it he’s a dead man!”
“Okay Sarge”, I quickly responded. “I just wanted to make sure you knew it was like that when I picked it up just now.”
There was also a time when I smacked my Duece-and-a-Half into the Officer of the Guard’s jeep, but that’s another story.
We have added a picture of Mike Soileau in the Navy section. Please check it out.
Our Class Reunion Committee has to pay taxes each year on our checking account from Gulf Credit Union. This year I wrote a check for $0.33. That tells you we must not have much in it!!! Thank you to
Bart Darby for preparing our return again this year. He’s the best!
We have the kindest classmates. We received three more donations recently from
Pam Mabry Bergman, Janice Huebel Slaughter and Dianna Caillier Lewis. Many, many thanks.
from Mike Lawson (classmate and our webmaster)
Starting with this update, I will have a new look for the site. I have received, over the last few years, concerns about trouble viewing the header menu
and that the text throughout the site seemed too small. I did what I could to correct these issues. Please let me know if these changes helped.
ARKANSAS STATE REPRESENTATIVE
Our esteemed classmate (and my fellow Mr. Rowland homeroom member), Kenny Bragg, is stepping down from office at the end of this year.
Today was Sine Die (Latin for “without a day”) in the Arkansas House of Representatives. It marks the official end of a session, and it was my last official
day in the chamber. It brings mixed emotions because I know I will miss some very close friendships. I could serve three more terms but I’m also looking
forward to God’s
calling to some other endeavors. I will continue to serve out the term until the end of this year. There are still committee meetings and
constituents to serve. I truly appreciate the friendship of my two seatmates, Jim Dotson and Mike Holcomb. We have been in the same seats for several
sessions and thus have spent a lot of time together. I enjoy serving with Megan Godfrey on the Education Committee. She has great insight on issues, has
a passion for education and a deep commitment to serving her constituents. DeAnn Vaught is very special. We have served together as co-chairs of the
Prayer Caucus and has been a true inspiration for me to see her dedication to public service. I don’t know of anyone that is more engaged with their
constituents than DeAnn. She seems to be everywhere in her district. Michell Gray is an outstanding legislator. She was the lead sponsor on a very
complicated bill concerning Pharmacy Benefit Managers. The bill was successful but challenged in court. It went all the way to the United States Supreme
Court, and we won! That is quite an accomplishment. Michelle will not be returning and will be greatly missed. A tale of two Davids: I was the lead House
sponsor on a tax credit scholarship bill that would provide scholarships to low-income kids to go to a private school. David Ray spoke passionately on the floor
in favor of the bill. David Tollett spoke passionately on the floor against the bill. The bill failed and later that evening David Tollett and
I had dinner together and I consider him a good friend. That is the kind of relationship that is built through mutual respect. I have
learned a lot from his experience as an educator
in public schools. A later version of the bill passed, and they both repeated their passionate oratory. David Ray was always
prepared and articulate
went to the well to speak about a bill. Lastly, I want to express my thanks and admiration for Speaker Matthew Shepherd. He has guided the House through
some difficult issues with calmness and integrity. I am grateful for the trust he put in me to serve in some leadership positions. He has a true servant heart
combined with effective leadership skills. There are too many colleagues to mention and those friendships I have developed over the last ten years will be
missed. I am truly thankful for the opportunities that I have been able to experience during my five terms in office. This is not a goodbye yet – just a few
thoughts from today.
From Kenny’s wife, Beverly Romero (’69):
Kenny has been the state Representative for District 15 for 5 terms equaling 10 years. He will hold office until December 31. So, he is in the Fiscal
session now in Little Rock and will continue committee meetings until the end of the year. He ran every 2 years. His first race he faced a well-respected
Democrat and won all but one precinct. After that his only opposition was a Libertarian. Ken defeated him with 87% of the vote four times. During the ten
years he was elected by the caucus to be Majority Leader his second term. He was the second Republican majority leader (since Reconstruction) after Bruce
Westerman who is now our US Representative to Congress. After that Ken was appointed by two different speakers to be an Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore for
2 terms. His last term he has been the chairman of the Arkansas Legislative Council Review Committee.
63 Pinecrest Circle
Sheridan, AR 72150
Honky Tonk Texas
April 2, 2022
$15.00 in advance
CUTE AND TRUE
Shared by Beverly Copeland Gaspard
I have everything that I wanted as a teenager, only 60 years later. I don’t have to go to school or work. I get an allowance every month.
I have my own
pad. I don’t have a curfew. I have a driver’s license and my own car. The people I hang around with are not scared of getting pregnant
and I don’t have
acne. Life is great. I changed my car horn to gunshot sounds. People get out of my way much faster now. Gone are the days when girls
used to cook like their mothers. Now they drink like their fathers. I didn’t make it to the gym today. That makes five years in a row. I decided to stop
calling the bathroom “John” and renamed it the “Jim”. I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning. Old age is coming at a really bad time.
When I was a child, I thought “nap time” was a punishment. Now it feels like a small vacation. The biggest lie I tell myself is…”I don’t have to write
that down, I’ll remember it.” I don’t have gray
hair…I have wisdom highlights”! I’m just very wise. If God wanted me to touch my toes, He would’ve put
them on my knees. Last year I joined a support
group for procrastinators. We haven’t met yet. Why do I have to press one for English when you’re just
going to transfer me to someone I can’t understand
anyway? Of course, I talk to myself. Sometimes I need expert advice. At my age, “Getting Lucky”
means walking into a room and remembering what I
came in there for.
TJ, CLASS of ‘67
The class ahead of us is having their 55th reunion coming up next month.
Friday, April 22, 2022
Museum of the Gulf Coast
6-9pm Saturday, April 23, 2022
The Pompano Club
6-11pm Sunday, April 24, 2022
Brunch 10 a.m.
Gene Christian (409)540-4304 firstname.lastname@example.org
Buddy Fields (409)626-1743 email@example.com
I know all of you must remember the PIZZA INN on 16th Street drag. It is now
Tequila’s Restaurant. But, the only local PIZZA INN still around is in
Port Neches. Donny Broussard was still running this establishment until his death last year. His obituary is included in our OBITUARY section in this update.
This following article was recently published in the PA News:
For decades, the Broussard name has been synonymous with Pizza Inn.
Donny Broussard opened the location at Magnolia Avenue in 1968. After Broussard’s 2021 death, his grandson
Jerrod Broussard wanted to make sure that the
family business remained family operated.
Donny Broussard’s wife Irma Broussard still owns the business, but Jerrod handles the day-to-day operations.
“Keeping it in the family was the main reason I came back,” he said. “Everyone is so happy to see the family legacy keep going on.”
Jerrod, who worked for Pizza Inn for 16 years before branching out on his own, said he was hesitant to go back into the restaurant business, but said it felt
like a natural fit.
“There was some stuff I had to relearn and some things that had changed since I was last here,” Jerrod said. “Cutting pizzas was all the same, but it was all
of the paperwork. Everything is on computers now and I am not really good on computers, but we are getting back into it.
The family business has allowed the Broussards to watch the community grow.
“I’m seeing people now come in that were little kids when I was here,” Jerrod said. “One of the workers will point and tell me that is so-and-so and I am
shocked. I try to talk to everyone but it is just so hard because there is so much to do. Everyone knows me and I will see them in passing they will say,
And I will tell them yes. Jerrod said he is trying to focus on improving the day-to-day operations before he starts making plan for any
larger changes. One
goal he wants to achieve is to complete a remodel of the location.
“I’m hoping in the next year or maybe two years we can do that,” he said. “There will be some things done by then regardless of if we have it completely
remodeled by then.”
He said the remodel will gut the building.
“We want to make it look like their style,” Jerrod said. “With a franchise, you have to do what they say.”
One change that would come with a remodel would be to take the buffet line out of the middle of the restaurant and put it in front of the kitchen so that
servers can restock without walking throughout the eatery.
Breakfast pizzas have been the newest addition to the menu. The items allow pizza lovers to get their fill before lunch with a selection of classic breakfast
toppings like eggs, bacon, sausage, ham and even boudin.
“It is really good and lot of people like it,” Jerrod said.
He added that the boudin and the “All the Way” breakfast pizzas are the most popular.
Pizza Inn is open from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week at 1501 Magnolia Ave. in Port Neches.
NEWS FROM THE HOMEFRONT
Oh, good heavens! I told you in the last newsletter about my epic fall in front of Party City. Well, that was in January. Well, my February fall
was in the
parking lot of a soccer game. My latest fall was this week coming out of a funeral home (no less) and I sprained my ankle and bruised my shoulder.
I mention that my doctor sent me to physical therapy for regaining balance before this last fall? I had only gone to two sessions when I made my
spill. There must have been 10 men rushing to help me up! I guess they thought they needed that many!!! I told them to let me do it myself. They
me a chair and I gradually could CRAWLED into position to get in it. I heard one guy say, “I know you were probably embarrassed after falling.” I
said, “Nah, I am over that kind of emotion.” I am healing but using a cane when I am out and about. Murphy has been a great nurse bringing ice packs
ibuprofen. He is getting to be a PRO!
Soccer playoffs are in full swing. My junior granddaughter is enjoying her season. She plays defensive back. They won bi-district and will be playing
Brazosport this coming Tuesday. My other granddaughter came in from A&M for spring break and had her wisdom teeth taken out. So much for college break.
Murf has gotten three wild pigs since deer season ended. He and my brother, Danny Boy, like to head up to the “beer lease” in Wiergate and corn the lanes
and hang out.
I go to my daughter’s house every day for a couple of hours in the afternoon to play with her two golden retrievers while she is at work. One is 13 and one
is 1½. Well, we had to put the 13-year-old, Kye Leigh, asleep recently. It was very emotional. We miss her terribly.
from Gloria Phillips Bradley
Ricky still has his lung tube. His feet and legs are swelling. Tired. We are waiting on his doctor in Denver to get back to us for future plans of
treatments. We are still trusting in God’s healing.
9221 SW 99th St.
Mustang, OK 73064
Debbie Borres Desmond
On daily chemo pills
503- 37th St.
Nederland, TX 77627
6215 Marble Falls
Lumberton, TX 77657
Recovering and getting better
The Woodlands, TX 77354
Kay Campbell Netherland
Kay fell and broke her shoulder.
Since then, she has been hospitalized with a UTI and then surgery to put a rod in her shoulder. She will be
sent to a rehab/nursing facility to recover.
198 Tall Timbers
Burkeville, TX 75932
Diane Barker Foreman
She had a spine stimulator inserted to try to relieve back pain.
Groves, TX 77619
Jonnye Dee Doering Williamson
7 blockages on the left side of her heart. Dr. put in 3 stints
Port Arthur, TX 77642
Carole Oubre Reeves
I’m still doing infusions once a week but had a CT Scan last Monday and awaiting word from the oncologist on how that’s looking. She is putting me
in touch with the surgeon and I have not heard from him yet, although I got a call from imaging saying my doctor ordered a scan of my chest abdomen
Groves, TX 77619
Dianna (Caillier) and Robert Lewis
Both suffering from several health issues
912 E. 6th St.
Port Arthur, TX 77640
Charline Valenciano Allen
8595 Medical Center Blvd.
Port Arthur, TX 77640
Lynn Eldridge Gill
My lower back & left hip have been giving me a fit for a couple of months.
I wasn’t worried because I was 71! After a lot of tests, Jim and I met with the doctor on 2/1/22 and the results weren’t what we wanted but at least there
is a plan now. I’ve got a soft tissue tumor in my lower back. It’s definitely cancer with several metastasis to the bone- Harvard’s diagnosis is
sclerosing epithelioid fibrosarcoma. The doctor said it is mitochondria and is rapidly dividing which is good for treating with chemo because it
sucks the chemo up so fast. He ordered steroids to make the hip and back pain subside. I love the doc-smart, high energy and huge patient advocate.
He's a Harvard man at Texas Oncology at Baylor. He was very positive. I’m totally at peace and know I’m in great hands!!!
(That was Lynn’s FIRST entry in her journal that you can follow on www.caringbridge.org Once there, type in Lynn Gill and you may follow her daily
entries. Some are written by her daughter, Meredith.)
4908 Stony Ford
Dallas, TX 75287
Classmate Gone Too Soon
Linda Rush Huebel
1/21/50 - 7/18/21
Charles Huebel (’67)
3651 Fish Hook Lane
Bridge City, TX 77611
Shirley Metreyon Broussard
(pe teacher at Woodrow Wilson JH)
8/28/35 - 3/4/22
(owner of the Pizza Inn)
11/18/33 - 10/13/21
(death of her brother, Frank Castaneda)
3/7/38 - 12/26/21
6215 Marble Falls
Lumberton, TX 77657
Sandra Garsea Broussard
(death of her brother, George Garsea)
6/28/47 - 1/29/22
Port Arthur, TX 77640
Linda Eldemire Judice
(death of her brother, Charles Eldemire)
3/18/55 - 2/27/22
Port Neches, TX 77651
(death of his mother, Peggy Jackson Weldon)
2/22/28 - 3/5/22
404 Cozby St. S.
Benbrook, TX 76126
Pam Owings Hund
(death of her sister, Deree Owings)
12/17/74 - 3/16/22
826 South Ave.
Port Neches, TX 77627
Stay in touch and contact a classmate. They can use your support.
Linda DeCuir McFadden