A Bit of Nostalgia

By Alice Speyrer Finley

As children, we were all in awe of Grandpa (Jules Conrad Speyrer) and being fairly obedient kids, respect for our elders was a cardinal rule. As the youngest of five girls, there was never much demand for my domestic skills, therfore, having a good pair of legs, I ran most of the household errands. Wherever I was sent took me past P'pere's house, where more often than not, he was sitting back in his rocker on the front porch, feet resting on the balustrades, enjoying his pipe.

At the sight of any of us, he would call out ``Hep-la.'' We dared not keep going, but made a bee-line towards the house and explaining right away that ``Mama said to be right back.'' This comment always brought the question ``Who's your boss?'' He never kept us overly long and I learned early that his gruffness was a big bluff. All he wanted was to visit for a short time. On a few occasions, he had me follow him into the house to his armoire, where under lock and key, he kept a box of chocolates, sent to him by one of his daughters. On those occasions he ceremoniously shared 2 pieces of chocolate with me.

His ``Hep la'' served me well however. After frittering away ten or fifteen minues with Too-Toot and Claude in the shade of the big pecan trees in the front yard, the explanation of ``Grandpa called me'' frequently took me off the hook.

I've always regretted not having known him better since P'Pere died when I was fifteen. His thick shock of white hair was quite a contrast to so many of the baldies I had known. My sister Amy, said when she was a child, she asked him why his hair was so white. He told her it came from worrying about things that never happened. That has always been good advice!

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