Five Generations

Photograph of five generations of the Chandler and Jones Family taken in 1997.

Angela Mitchell Moreau, (on lap) Tori Moreau, Roberta Jones Cole, Iona Bruce Jones and Viola Chandler Dishman in 1997 in Kenner, Louisiana.

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When I was younger I used to write little stories all the time. I remember sitting at the table reading my stories to my Grandma and she would nod her head and smile. Now that I am older I cannot seem to put the words I feel onto paper. I cannot remember when I moved into my grandparent's house I was just a little girl, my mom stayed there for a while with us until she took off without me. I am not sure why she left me behind and I was always really sad about that. I am not sure why it bothered me so much that my mother left me, that's a feeling I can't explain. But now that I am older I know it's probably what saved my life. Living with my grandparents was wonderful.

I have so many little memories but all of them mean so much to me. I remember once my Grandma volunteered for a school field trip and we went to the zoo with my class. Another time she volunteered we went to this place in New Orleans. I remember we had a really good time. We saw a show and went to a candy store and to the kid's museum. I can't really remember the details from that day but I just remember being happy that she was there with me. I was never very popular at school. The other little kids use to pick on me all the time. So her being there on those trips made me feel really special.

That's the main thing I remember about my Grandma, is that she was always there for me. My grandparents used to go bowling every Friday night. One Friday night when my mother was there watching me, I was very sick. I remember my mom talking to my Grandma on the phone and she was saying she was going to bring me into the hospital. That night at the hospital I found out I was having a bad asthma attack. They said that I could have died. I don't remember very much from that night but I do remember that every single day after that my Grandma was there. I think I spent a week or two there and no one else came to visit except for her. She brought me snacks and sat by my bed talking to me every single day.

After I got home every single time I told my Grandma that I wasn't feeling well she would let me stay up. Some times she would let me lay on the coach with my feet tucked warm behind her back. I remember that used to drive her crazy, but I loved doing that. Other nights she would tell me to sing songs with her. She had once read that singing opened up your lungs so she would get me to sing to help me breathe. Of course I would always beg her to sing instead. She use to sing so beautifully. I remember my favorite song was "Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley". I can still hear her singing that song to me in my head. I use to bug her to sing that song over and over again.

Life was so wonderful with my Grandma, but one day I went and messed up and told my Grandma that I wanted to move in with my mom. My mom didn't want me so I don't know why I wanted to so bad. But I learned that it was a mistake shortly after I moved out of Grandma's house. It was like moving to a whole different world. When I lived with my grandparents I was safe and life was normal. Living with my mother was a whole different story. But the last thing my grandparents told me when I moved out was that I had to be sure because once I left I couldn't come back. Life was hard with my mother, I no longer lived with a woman who kept me under her wing and protected me and loved me. It was the biggest mistake in my life. I turned out pretty good in my opinion so I don't consider that the mistake, but I hurt my grandparents by leaving them. They loved me and cared for me and I walked out on them.

I remember when I got pregnant with Travis. I was only sixteen and staying with Aunt Brenda in Mississippi. Brenda was talking about going to Grandma's house for Thanksgiving dinner and I was telling her I was too ashamed to face Grandma being pregnant so young. But she told me Grandma already knew and she was alright with it and so I went. Oddly enough Grandma didn't tell me anything about being pregnant -- she even helped me choose names. I named my first child Travis because Grandma liked that name a lot. She said it was like a country singer name. When I got pregnant again at seventeen, Grandma once again didn't judge me or shake her head at me. We went through some baby names again. At that time I was insisting on calling my second child Kendall if she was a girl, Grandma said that sounded like a boy's name though and told me not to do that. She said she liked the name Tori. So I named her Tori.

I remember after Tori was born I messed up my life for a while. I quit working at the casino and moved with Jimmy to Slidell. Things were hard being young parents and we were both dumb at the time so we went through a lot of problems. I remember I called Grandma one day and she insisted I stole a gas card from her. That was the first and only time in my life that my Grandma really hurt me. She also told me she believed I was on drugs and that made me feel so ashamed that she thought so low of me. It's hard to explain but she was really the only person I wanted to be proud of me, other then my grandpa. And hearing that she wasn't proud crushed me. Things cooled down before my third child was born. I remember bringing Tabetha over on Thanksgiving Day for her to see her for the first time. She laughed at me for spelling it wrong but said it was unique.

Things were still rocky between me and Jimmy. A few years after Tabetha was born Jimmy went to jail for two years. I had to raise the three kids by myself. I was never sure how Grandma felt about that. I remember when Jimmy was about to get out of jail I called Grandma up and asked her if she would come to mine and Jimmy's wedding if we re-did our vows. It would have been a few months away and she sounded like she really didn't want to. She said, "Well Angie if y'all are still together in October, I guess I will go to your wedding." I decided not to renew my vows after that conversation and I was dead set on making life with Jimmy and the kids work. In April after Tracie was born we brought her to go see Grandma. I think she could see that me and Jimmy had changed by then.

I remember all I wanted in my life was to hear she was proud of me. I honestly don't know if she ever was. One of the last things she told me to do was get my driver's license. She thought I was so ridiculous because I wouldn't go take that test. Grandma passed away before I got my license. I wanted so badly to be able to call her that day to brag to her. What made me the saddest was that we bought a mobile home and Grandma didn't get to see it. We were so proud of our house -- I wanted to be able to invite her over. But things got messed up with our loan and so we had to wait a good while to move in. We didn't move in until four months after she passed away. But I know she is in heaven now and looking down on me and I know she has to be at least a little proud of me.

My Grandma was the most wonderful person in the world to me. She was beautiful, smart, loving, caring, and funny. She showed me that family comes first by being the very best mother and wife. She loved me and raised me when she didn't have to and she never treated me differently then her other children. I really think I am a good person today. I honestly believe that everything good I have in me came from my Grandma. I miss my Grandma.

Written by Angela Mitchell Moreau in LaCombe, Louisiana, 2005