Dear John Allen,
I am sending in this contribution to the family newsletter for my mother who is busy preparing to attend a family reunion in Florida. She wrote this out in longhand and asked me to produce a readable copy for you.
Mom's contribution is a tribute to Marie Mayne, who meant a lot to so many of us. It was touching to read how Marie befriended my mother when she was a stranger to this area.
To think that so many years have passed, that both my dad and Marie are gone, and all we have are our memories of them. Thank goodness that they are all sweet ones; filled with love.
Mary E. Speyrer
Editor's Note: Mary, your letter accompanying your mother's tribute to Marie, in itself, is a tribute to Marie.
When I came to Louisiana to live many years ago - way back in 1945 - Tony, Marie's brother and I had been married just three years. He was from Leonville and I was from Ottumwa, Iowa. We had both been working in Washington, D.C. and met in 1941. Our first- born, Carole, was not quite two, and our oldest son, Dick, was born in May of '45. I'd come to Leonville to stay with my mother-in-law, Mrs. Antoine Speyrer, while Tony was overseas in the Navy (This was during WWII).
To me, I had come to a strange and different land; was not Catholic, and did not speak French. The food, and even the climate was different. But thanks to Mommo (as we called my mother-in-law) and especially to Marie, I was made to feel very much at home and soon learned to know and love everything about this part of Louisiana.
Marie was married to Neil Hayes - Papa Neil, as we called him. They were not blessed with children, and so Marie showered all her abundant maternal love on her nieces and nephews.
When my son Dick was born early on a morning in May, I roused Marie from a deep sleep to meet me at the hospital. Although Dick was born at 7:00 A.M. Marie stayed with me all day to be sure I would be alright and not too lonesome, as Tony was still overseas and did not return to the U.S. until that Fall. I very much appreciated her attention and I remember her kindness to this day.
All through the months of Tony's absence, Marie and Papa invited me to their house many times, thus relieving the boredom of being confined with two small children in the absence of a husband.
But Marie's kindnesses and thoughtfulness were not just confined to me and my little ones. I remember many occasions through the years when she came to the aid of a family member in need - as happens in many large families. I know that if Marie's younger brothers and sisters look back over the years, they too, will remember the times she helped.
I remember one time in particular when her little brother Jude, now Bishop of Lake Charles, was being ordained to the priesthood. A lovely reception for him was spearheaded by Marie, her sisters, and friends. She had saved "loose change" for several years and had accumulated a goodly sum to help with the expenses.
And when Mommo became too feeble to live by herself in Leonville, Marie took her into her own home and cared for her.
Such were some of the kindnesses of this lovely person. I know there are many, many more such instances I could relate, but there is not enough space to print them or time to relate them all. And so I will always remember Marie fondly and with love.
God bless you and keep you, Marie.