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Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society

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A Tale of Two Houses

My reentry into Margaret Place was a bit circuitous and a couple of things had to happen – and they did.

This essay is not a sequel to my first centennial missal but again, a flood played a significant part.

 

I married Sue Cagle Bell in February, 1979 and got two children in the deal, aged nine and 11.

I lived in a wonderful bachelor’s pad at 916 Shady Lane which is one block south of Prien Lake Road on Contraband Bayou. We tripled the size of the little house which had no neighbors and was a bit reclusive.Soon we were very lucky and got pregnant.

On May 22, 1980, Lake Charles received 22 inches of rain in 24 hours. When my feet hit the floor that morning, the rug was wet and the back yard was part of the bayou.

My little family moved in with my mother, Ada Vincent in our family home at 109 Pithon Street. We also began the feckless process of rebuilding our Shady Lane home.

On June 2, 1980, our son Christopher was born, a whopping boy, 9.2 pounds. We continued to live with Ada until our home was rebuilt. But Sue wasn’t happy and we began to look for a new home, ideally in Margaret Place.

One evening, Ada called to say that Francis Managan had been moved into a care facility and that her children, Bill, Jean Wiley and Martha Lee were going to sell her home at 220 Wilson. We marched down, met the Managan’s, and toured their mother’s home.

I wasn’t overly impressed but as we finished the tour, Ada was salivating and positively bug-eyed. I suggested that we not act so much like awed, prospective buyers. Her response was, “If you buy this house, I will swap with you!” Suddenly, I was very interested.

The Managan’s didn’t list their mother’s home but rather entertained offers. My script is deplorable but I hand-wrote a letter – along with an offer –explaining how I had been raised in Margaret Place, adored the neighborhood, had a newborn, well, yeah, laid it on pretty thick.

To my great surprise, the Managan’s accepted our offer and sure enough, Ada and I swapped. We lived at 109 Pithon St. until Chris graduated from high school (1998), sold Pithon Street and built a home on the Calcasieu River.

Chris was not a happy camper! At one point, he knocked on the door at 109 and asked the new buyers if he could just walk through. They concurred and he bemoaned our sale. But that’s what happens in Margaret Place. New families with young children replace older families and the transformation continues.

Today, February 29, Ada sold 220 Wilson to Dean and Hilda Day, who – I’m not making this up – live at 109 Pithon. Their move will be less than 100 yards.

And Christopher and his new wife Sadie live at 110 Pithon.

I’m not making that up either.