|Mary Louise Landry Rockforte,|
My first "genealogy" teacher
Mary Louise Landry Rockforte was married to my husband's "Uncle Peter" Rockforte. She was also my husband's Godmother. We simply called her "Aunt Mary".
My husband and I always enjoyed our trips to see Aunt Mary. When she found out we were coming, she would usually plan to cook one of her delicious cajun dishes, like Crawfish Stew, Gumbo or a Mirliton Casserole. Oh my, now that woman could whip up some cajun dishes! We never left her house hungry- maybe "miserably overstuffed", but never hungry!
We usually spent an entire day with her, sipping on her strong (and I do mean STRONG) coffee and catching up on all the latest "family gossip". Aunt Mary seemed to know a little bit about everyone. She probably knew so much because of all the years she was one of the top Avon representatives in the area. She traveled 5 days each week, going door to door, taking Avon orders and making deliveries, and she did that for many, many years. I can only imagine how much information she amassed on local families during that time.
For several years, Aunt Mary spent her spare time doing crafts- she loved working with yarn and fabric and had tons of craft supplies in one of her spare bedrooms. She would sell her handmade items to individuals and at local craft festivals. I still have the beautiful personalized Christmas stockings she made for each of our children; they became part of our Christmas decor for many years.
After she retired from the Avon business, Aunt Mary became heavily involved in researching the family history. Walking into her kitchen had become like walking into the public library. Bookcases lined her kitchen walls, from end to end, and the shelves were stacked with notebooks filled with information on the family surnames. Aunt Mary is the one who ignited my desire to begin my own family research. She was my very first teacher in genealogy. She spent hours upon hours thumbing through the diocese records and through books at the library. Aunt Mary was hopelessly hooked on our family history, much like I am now.
Aunt Mary was a strong, vivacious woman who was also outspoken and opinionated, much like my own mother. Perhaps that is part of the reason I liked her so much :). One never had to guess what Aunt Mary was thinking.
I really miss her. I miss spending the day with her, talking about our progress on the family research and exchanging information. I miss her enthusiasm and her warm smile that always greeted us at the back door. I miss her delicious cajun meals. However, I can't honestly say that I miss her strong coffee, whew! Coffee creamer and half-n-half would only disappear when poured in the muddy waters of my cup. Just imagine, my Mississippi family thinks that I make strong coffee- they know nothing :))
Sometimes when I think of Aunt Mary, I imagine her being in heaven with her notebook and pen handy- scribbling down information on the surnames of the Saints. I would be willing to bet that she knows all of the latest news up there :)
|Christmas stockings hand crafted by Aunt Mary in 1988|
hung over our fireplace mantel in 1997. I still have them.