Willowdale…still the best kept secret

In 1978 we moved to St. Charles Parish. We decided to live closer to the West St. Charles Guide newspaper we were publishing since Allen had been commuting from our home in Houma.

We drove down Highway 90 and wondered where all the people lived. At that time there was a single lonely road going to a place called Willowdale. One way in and one way out.
We drove around the area and I think there were only two houses available in Willowdale. One on Palmer and one on Zee Ann. We opted for the one on Palmer. It had the most beautiful golf course view and was on the 18th fairway of Willowdale Country Club.

David Mize had built the large brick house for his family two years before. But now he was moving to Mississippi and the house was for sale. Jo Buckley at Clyde Casey Real Estate showed it to us. At first I got lost in it but then I found my way around and we bought it in March of 1978.

We soon discovered that Luling was more cosmopolitan than Houma, having many residents from different parts of the country there to work in the petrochemical industry.

Immediately our two oldest daughters went to the golf course and tried to tee off. Lilla swung back and hit Ann on the her cheek. Ann greeted her 10th grade class at Hahnville High as the new girl with a bruised and swollen face.
Allen Jr. on the other hand had wiped out in the ditch in front and needed stitches immediately. I didn’t know a doctor or where anything was but I found out real fast and Dr. Isolani walked over to the hospital with me following, looking for a needle that wasn’t a “horse needle.’’

He did a super stitching job on Allen Jr.’s forhead and I was able to eliminate the ditch with subsurface drainage in front of our house, thanks to Councilman Clay Faucheaux.

A few days later I stepped out the back door onto a sea of caterpillars. There are none now but back then they were a real nuisance. My best way of controlling them was to take a can of spray glue and stick them all together.
Our youngest daughter Amy was four when we moved here. When she was five she was riding her bike  one day when my sister Michele came to visit. We were standing in our driveway as Amy rode up with a basket full of small bags of potato chips. Michele remembered my asking her where she had gotten all those chips. She replied “at the club.” I asked how she paid for them. She replied, “ I sharged it.” And when the bill from Willowdale came in, there was Amy’s name spelled YMA.

Such fond memories loom around living in this Willowdale community. It was such a pleasure for the children to be able to walk or ride bicycles to the swimming pool and swim team practice and the freedom of being able to allow them to be in the neighborhood without fear. I can remember helping Allen Jr. deliver the Guide newspapers in a golf cart. You really got a total glimpse of the area that way.

When fall came that first year, Lou Robinette (Garland’s mom) took me under her wing and decided that I should be in charge of the decorations for the autumn dance. This was all so new to me as a newcomer. She told me to get in touch with the Charles Sumralls and they would help me find bales of hay for the dance.They were so wonderful to work with. We  got everything decorated and had dances and parties galore at Willowdale Country Club.

The golfers and the parties went hand in hand. We had the best of both worlds when Willowdale Country Club and the golf course were in full swing. There was no better party to go to than the Mardi Gras Balls we enjoyed over here. They were a spoof on the fine balls in New Orleans with themes and neighbors portraying characters at their best. I was in a Charlie Brown skit and  remember Jan Jones portraying Olivia Newton John’s character in “Grease.” She was great. We even had guys dress as the Kiss Band group one year and no one can forget the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boys from Company B.

Friday night suppers are long gone, as are the dances and Hawaiian luaus. Ann and Tony had their wedding reception at Willowdale Country Club. We had women’s functions with John Jay and bridge playing along with the golfing on a most desirable golf course.

Since Willowdale is in trouble I sincerely hope that people in the area who have enjoyed living here can come together at the stockholders’ meeting on December 8 to decide on a desirable direction for residents to enjoy.

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