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Interview with Lori Bible

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Table of Contents 
  •  Introductions 
  •  Early life 
  •  Civic engagement 
  •  Atmosphere in Louisiana 
  •  Older generations 
  •  Life after Louisiana  
  •  The evolution of Austin 
 
Transcript 
     
  •  LOUIS AKIN: All right, are we rolling? 
  •  REBECCA LORINS: Yep. 
  •  AKIN: Okay, today's date is Saturday August, 9th. It's about 11:45 AM. We're interviewing, um, Lori Bible. The interviewer is Louis Akin and also present is Rebecca Lorins. And we'll go ahead and start. Lori, I gave you a little bit of a look at this outline we'll be doing, so I'll just be following that. And I'll just be asking you open questions and you just respond as you recall and as you feel. 
  •  LORI BIBLE: Okay. 
  •  AKIN: Can you tell me about your childhood in Ville Platte, Evangeline? 
  •  BIBLE: Ville Platte in Evangeline Parish, in South Central Louisiana. The, um — I am my father's oldest daughter, my mother's third. I had one younger sister, Colleen, who was thirteen — I'm sorry, eighteen months younger than I was. All four of the girls were born in Ville Platte, we were all raised there, our grandparents were there, and had a very very large extended family. A very close family. Colleen and I grew up mostly in the woods, more than in town.  
  •  BIBLE: Daddy was, very much liked to be outdoors and the girls — the younger girls tended to follow daddy around quite a bit. Typical childhood, running through the streets playing ball, riding bicycles, church on Sunday.  
  •  BIBLE: We both went to private school through — for me until high school, Colleen was in 7th grade when we went into public school. We were active in girl scouts, local softball programs, and the church organizations. 
  •  AKIN: Softball players. 
  •  BIBLE: We were. [laughter] 
  •  AKIN: What positions did you play? 
  •  BIBLE: I played first, Colleen played center. Colleen didn't play quite as long as I did. She uh, she preferred to ride horses. We, we always enjoyed the horses and whatnot. She was much more into riding barrels and actually doing competition. I preferred to ride for pleasure. 
  •  AKIN: Uh-huh. Tell me about the uh, her riding the barrels. That’s — 
  •  BIBLE: Yeah, it was small town Louisiana. It was nothing like the rodeo circuit here in Texas at all. But there was an arena, and I believe it was on Saturdays, I can't recall if it was Saturdays or Sundays. But kids from around the area would get together and race barrels against the clock, and whatever the boys did, their typical calf roping and things like that. Nothing professional about it, just a lot of folks having a good time. 
  •  AKIN: And did you go to watch her while she was doing that, or — ? 
  •  BIBLE: Oh, everything was done as a family. Yeah, we... Colleen and I, being 18 months apart, we were 2 years apart in school the ways our birthdays fell, but everything was together, in many ways we were treated as twins. 
  •  AKIN: And how was that, growing up with a twin? 
  •  BIBLE: With a twin that was just a little bit younger and a little bit smaller? Yeah, it was pretty cool. I didn't realize it until later in life how much of your identity is tied to your siblings. It was something I took for granted, it was just always there. But as we got older, I remember that boyfriends would laugh at us because we would both sit in the recliner together. We had always shared a bed so were were very comfortable being physically close to each other. Through high school, we kind of went our separate ways a little bit. Our interests were a little bit different, but even then we were always together. It was just the way it was. 
  •  AKIN: Did you go to grade school together? 
  •  BIBLE: Yes. We went — After I finished high school Colleen transferred to Sacred Heart High where she finished, but up until that point we had always been to the same school together, often taught by the same teacher. Just a few years... She was two years behind me in school, just because of the ways our birthdays fell. 
  •  AKIN: What about — what were your social activities while you were in school? You did riding and softball and I know that takes up a lot of time. 
  •  BIBLE: Yes it did, but me and Colleen were cheerleaders, I played basketball and ran track, Colleen ran track a little bit. 4H, Girl Scouts, you name it we were into it. We were always doing something. It was a way to keep us out of trouble. 
  •  AKIN: Really, really athletic girls. 
  •  BIBLE: We were. We were. Hard to believe now but — [laughter]. Age does takes it toll. But we were very civicly involved. Particularly with girl scouts,where you do a lot of things for — with the less fortunate, singing Christmas carols at the nursing home and working with the younger girls and helping — our older sisters were girl scouts as well so it became a family event. And mom was always a leader, a Girl Scout leader. It was a way of helping, particularly in the 60s and 70s, young women to find their voice. Mom and Dad encouraged their daughters, to absolutely be involved. Looking back, after being a parent, I think it was the way to keep us out of trouble. If we kept our energy focused we wouldn't be off doing things we shouldn’t be doing, but we still manage to get our fair bit of mischief in. 
  •  AKIN: Could you tell me about one of the times that you went caroling, when you went singing? 
  •  BIBLE: That was always the hard part. For me, at the holidays, because you were — everything about Christmas was always focused on children. And, particularly in those years, it was — and in Evangeline parish, Christianity was a big part — and so it was always focused about the children. But when you would go tho the nursing home you would see the older people, the people who no longer could take care of themselves and whose — maybe didn't have family, and how they would just brighten up — we must have sounded horrible, none of us could sing--but that they had young people in their environment and brought that energy in.  
  •  BIBLE: For us, I think it made — or for me, let me just speak for myself, for me it made me realize that life does have cycles, and as much as a young person can’t ever see themselves old, that was I think when I began to realize that some day, if I’m lucky, I will live that long. But to watch the — particularly the older women just get happy and they’d sit up a little bit.  
  •  BIBLE: That was, that was one of — and of course the competition was always on the girl scout cookie sales, who could sell more cookies. That was always a big competition. Probably if I remember anything about scouting that was it. Colleen and I would set up outside the drive thru after they built the drive thru at the bank. And this of course was long before ATM machines. So we would set up on Friday afternoons and Saturday morning and catch people after they had cashed their checks. And we could sell some Girl Scout cookies. That was always a big competition. 
  •  AKIN: What, um — What was it like when you went to separate schools then, were you both still there at the time? 
  •  BIBLE: Well, I had graduated from high school when Colleen moved over to Sacred Heart. So we had always been to school, um, at the same school. Um, it was great if you forgot to get mom or dad to sign one of your papers, you could go track down — I’d track down Colleen, she would track down me and we could sign. And at one point our older sister May was actually Colleen’s teacher, so that was always pretty intense, that discussion often came to the dinner table. 
  •  AKIN: And she would pretend to be your mother?  
  •  BIBLE: Oh yeah, absolutely. Our older sisters treated us like we were their children. They still to this day treat me like I'm a child which is okay when it comes to washing dishes, I’m fine with that, I'll go play with the kids. But I can remember more than one occasion when Colleen would come pull me out of class to sign some paper that she'd forgotten to get mom or dad sign and she knew she would have to face our sister May and May was going to be harder on her than the rest of them. And it was, the grades were not bad, that’s —  we weren't hiding things from mom and dad, we were just busy and didn't always remember all those things. But, it was a lot of fun having a sister there and being close and all of our friends knew — but our friends were also in that situation, you know, large families and we would be in school together with our siblings. That was, small town, that's the way it is. 
  •  AKIN: Okay, um — Lori can you remember what it was like to be in that atmosphere and that environment in Louisiana, can you describe the environment to me? 
  •  BIBLE: Sure, I can go back there any minute in my memory. South Louisiana, hot and humid in the summer, humid and warm in the winter, occasional ice, but very rare, a lot of vegetation, forests, big trees — huge oak trees. The town we grew up in, Ville Platte, was one of the older towns. You know, Main Street was — buildings going back to the late 1800s, the old brick bank, railroad tracks of course, that I believe now are abandoned, and huge oaks and magnolia trees. The center of the community was the school, the fire station, the church — the churches, there were several churches. We had a large extended family. We had been in that town for many, many generations. Daddy and his brothers, and my grandfathers, both grandfathers, worked at the bank so they knew everybody in town. Our mother worked at the utility company, the electric company, so she knew everybody in town. Most people didn't know our names, we were referred to as Pat and Alan's girls. And to this day, you know, when I go home it’s still “you're one of Pat and Alan's girls, right?” And that's how we were referred to and we’d try to confuse other people and say oh no, we were Ellen and Charlie's kids, and they knew better.  
  •  BIBLE: But, very, very close family. Most weekends were spent with with extended family. I would say that my mother's best friend was her sister, my father's closest friends were his brothers. Everything was very much centered around the families and we were raised by all of our aunts and uncles. It didn't matter who actually was our biological parent, if any of them saw us getting out of line we were quickly put back into line. And even the older cousins, having that large of a family, the cousins, the first cousins spanned generations. And um — so very — I would call it clannish but not cliquish, others were welcomed in and there were actually some of the people in our, um, in our, what I considered to be in our family unit that would be at the family barbecues and things like that, that were not related to us, but were so close to us that we felt like they were.  
  •  BIBLE: There were, in our younger years, in the 60s there were the racial tensions, South Louisiana was very segregated. And that, actually, I don’t know that that’s changed a whole lot. The last time I spent any time in Ville Platte was the year that my parents died, in ‘98, and I still saw a lot of racial segregation — that, that I found — for the first time, that I really saw it. When you're a child and you're living in that environment, it is what you consider normal. I had move to Texas in '78 so I had — particularly as liberal as Austin is — had been exposed to things that gave me a different perspective on my childhood. And, so when I went home the year that my mom and dad died I spent a lot of time there, and really saw things in a different light. And understood just how troubled a lot of their society is. Of course, of course, in our younger years, if there were drugs there I don't recall them. But by the 90s you saw the drugs; you saw the drug effects and you saw the crime going up from the drugs. And it made me sad, it made me sad to miss the, the wholesome part of what our childhood was. Not perfect, it was not perfect, and there were things that happened, car accidents and other kinds of — there was — but nothing like what it became and what I understand it is today. 
  •  AKIN: Is the, is the town physically pretty much the same as it was then? 
  •  BIBLE: Very very much so. Main Street's a one-way now, and La Salle is a one-way in the other direction. When we were kids those were both two-way streets. It's a small town, maybe two miles wide, our grandparents lived there, all of our aunts and uncles, it was the kind of town that you could get on your bicycle and ride anywhere, and we often did, and um — make the rounds. you know, go see what granddaddy had in his cookie jar and then go over and see what Aunt Pug had done that day. Just very open and very free. And whichever kids were there at the table as dinnertime were fed, whether they were neighbors or friends or cousins, they got fed. 
  •  AKIN: Let me ask you this, in trying to get a grip on the town there. How wide — when Main Street was a two-way street, how wide was it? 
  •  BIBLE: Oh goodness. Well, it had angled parking on each side as I recall, or maybe it was angled on one side and parallel on the other side but then the typical 12 or 14 foot lanes each. Main Street was a part of the highway system, so it was Louisiana 10, so it was one of the nicer roads in Ville Platte. Though the road we had grew up on was a dirt road. 
  •  AKIN: Main Street was dirt? 
  •  BIBLE: No, Main Street — Main Street was paved because it was part of the highway system. But a lot of the streets off of Main Street were dirt roads, and the road, the road that we lived on was a dirt road with open ditches and septic systems. I remember when they brought septic — waste — public waste water into town, that was a big deal. Um, not — I think the tallest building was two story. The steeples on the churches were absolutely the tallest buildings around. The trees were taller than the buildings. And in town... not so much wildlife, I mean your typical — well I say typical, is that typical? Does everybody have possums in the street, or armadillos? You know, that was typical for us.  
  •  BIBLE: Uh, but you'd get just outside of town, it was mostly surrounded by farming communities and timberland. So to the east and south of town was a lot of rice farms, soybean farms, cattle grazing. And then north of town was where the forests were. And it was — there were bear and deer and raccoons and a lot of time — a lot of time spent fishing. We fished a lot, we ate a lot of what we were able to grow or hunt or produce ourselves. There was a small grocery store in town but there were none of the mega  — grocery stores, now of course there is a Wal-Mart, but there wasn’t — there was a Dairy Queen, that was the big deal to go to Dairy Queen, and of course the Famous Pig stand which was the best hamburgers anywhere ever. Still. 
  •  AKIN: Tell me about the fishing? 
  •  BIBLE: Oh, fishing, fishing was great. Bass fishing wasn’t so much fun for kids, we tended to hook ourselves or each other, but we'd um — daddy called it set lines, we’d go set lines, trap lines I guess is what they, what it would be called in other parts of the country. But you basically string a line between two trees, put some, hook some bait on it, put a weight and drop it to the bottom of the channel. Catfish was my favorite. Still is today. I can tell the difference between farmed catfish and wild catfish. We ate turtle. I know a lot of people in the country think that's a little strange but that was a delicacy and we ate it. Deer, um, squirrels. Squirrel hunting is a very big thing around Ville Platte. It’s a couple of week season and everybody hunts, male and female. And it's a challenge, if you've ever tried to kill a little squirrel out in the woods it's a challenge. But that’s how we grew up, we ate what was available to us, and it certainly wasn't going to the mega-grocery store and buying lots of produce or lots of meat. It was what was locally available. Which now, is all the rage [laughter]. 
  •  AKIN: What kind of fowl did you have? Domesticated fowl? 
  •  BIBLE: Chickens and ducks and geese and pigeons. Course, we always had those in the yard. I never liked the geese, they were mean. But um, the ducks, chickens. Everybody had ducks and chickens and geese and pigeons. We had a lot of [inaudiable]. 
  •  AKIN: Did the geese ever chase you? 
  •  BIBLE: Yeah, they were mean, they were mean. And sometimes the roosters were mean too. And usually if they got mean they ended up in the gumbo pot. 
  •  AKIN: Um, I'd like to know more about your dad. Can you tell me about him? 
  •  BIBLE:  Dad was in the greatest generation, he and his brothers and sisters were of the greatest generation, served in the military, went back to Ville Platte, worked in the bank, retired with 40-some-odd years service there. He worked. And mom worked and they taught us that work ethic, that you go to work and do what you're supposed to do and then when you're off work you play. And they played hard. Dad very much enjoyed hunting and fishing, he spent most of his time in the woods. And he taught us a lot —Colleen and I both — about life in the woods. How to find our way around. How nature worked, how the forest would rejuvenate itself. How to track animals, how to determine what an animal was by either a scent or a track. And very very close to nature. He was, he was not an environmentalist. I would not call him an environmentalist, but a conservationist. And understanding that we had to take care of, of our environment or our environment would not take care of us. 
  •  AKIN: Can you describe for me being deep in the woods with your father? Or with your sister at the time, would you just — ? 
  •  BIBLE: Well the kids, we ran through the woods like little wild animals. We would spend a lot of time in the woods building forts and, and exploring. Making — we'd have our wars, we called them, where we'd make cannonballs out of clay and throw them at each other, and see who could climb a tree the fastest, and who could identify the bird first. Both sitting and — and to this day I still enjoy that. Watching birds, watching them raise their young, watching them teach their young how to go out into the world, to me that’s very much a rhythm of nature. And we spent a lot of time doing that, riding our horses through the woods. And my sons were raised here in Texas, and when I would take them back to Louisiana and they’d look at these thick forests and they’d ask me how — didn’t y’all ever get lost? Not really, we really didn't. We knew the territory, we understood how the bayous ran, we understood how to tell direction. And it's as natural to me as it is driving to work, you know, it’s, you almost go autopilot 
  •  BIBLE: The smell of the pine trees, I remember that distinctly. Walking through the woods and that soft matting of leaves and pine needles. That smell, that sound. You'd hear something and you knew immediately what it was or if it was out of place. Listening to the dogs hunt — they, um — one of my uncles had some beagles that he would use — that they would run deer with. Not sure if it was legal then, probably isn't now, but listening to the dogs run in the woods and following their prey and when they didn't come home, going out night after night, evening after evening looking for the dogs, ‘cause they would always come back to the camp, but sometimes it would take them a few days. So we would get in a boat and go paddling across the lake, you know it’s a lake with, — [indistinguishable], it's a beautiful lake. One of the best fishing places in the South, people come from all over the place to go fishing there now.  
  •  BIBLE: That was in our backyard. And you'd get in the boat and you’d go paddle it around, and if you were lucky there was a motor on the boat but most of the time there wasn't. Big cypress trees, moss hanging. Um, alligators. The alligators, that was a normal part of life for me. Playing with the little baby alligators, trying to keep away from the momma cause we understood the momma could hurt us but the babies were fun to play with. The feel of the mud, cause it was always muddy. Everything was muddy. Swimming in the bayou; I look at that water now and think ew, I got in that? Well, we didn't know what pristine lakes were. We knew what the bayou was. 
  •  AKIN: Did the uh, in getting in the bayou there, you mentioned alligators, were there [indistinguishable]? Were you afraid of being attacked by anything like that? 
  •  BIBLE: No. 
  •  AKIN: Didn't bother you? 
  •  BIBLE: No. I never liked snakes and I didn't like it when the snakes would fall out of the trees, that would freak me out. I didn't like snakes. Still don't. But most — and I think we understood this and I'm sure we were taught this. Most wildlife won't bother you unless you threaten it. You mess with their baby and whether its a mama bear or a mama gator they're coming after you. So you learned to respect nature. You know we would get bit from time to time, some of those mosquitoes would carry you away, but I was not afraid of them.  
  •  BIBLE: And that reminds me of — Cajuns are great storytellers, we always have to tell a story. After mom and dad had died I kept the camp. I still have it. And time to time I would just go spend a weekend there. And my dad’s sister, was, one of his sisters was still alive, Aunt Sis, and I’d tell her I was going to stay out at the camp and she would say, oh you need to stay in town, it’s out in the woods, aren't you afraid, and I would tell her, no Aunt Sis, I'm not, I'm not afraid in the woods. I understand animals. I'm afraid of the streets of America. And I feel far safer alone in the woods than I do on the streets of any town. And maybe it's not just America, I should tell you that, I am not, I'm not a world traveler. I haven't even been to all fifty states. Been to Mexico but um, so my experience is very very limited. I'm not, not the adventurous one, I have nieces who go all over the world and spend years in other countries. I can’t even imagine. 
  •  AKIN: But that was a world that you could live outside of your house and off of your property that you could go out and explore and that was all a part of your world and you were part of it. 
  •  BIBLE: Absolutely. Sleeping in a tent in the woods, sleeping on a hammock. Didn't do that too much because of the mosquitoes, were pretty bad but, um, I don't know, no locks on doors, even today I will go camp out in the woods and have no fear at all. If I'm in a campground with other people around, I might have a little more. But if I’m by myself in the woods — I'm not afraid of the animals, they won't bother you unless you threaten them 
  •  AKIN: You mentioned that you were afraid of snakes though 
  •  BIBLE: Snakes just creep me out, the way they move, the way they — I don't know, I just don't like the way they feel. 
  •  AKIN: Was there a time that your sister made you a necklace of one? 
  •  BIBLE: Yeah, she was constantly intimidating me with 'em because she knew I was afraid of them and I — and it's not logical, this is one of those fears that is not logical, most snakes won’t hurt you, very few of them are venomous, I just didn't like the way they felt whenever you touched them, and I don't like the way they move. And it's just — so Colleen would always be doing things. But yeah she'd throw a snake around my neck and have fun at watching me scream, she'd, you know, put one next to my chair and watch it go next to me and watch me stand up on my chair and scream. She, she could be a little mischievous. And she knew I didn't like snakes and she knew I didn't like lizards, and so little chameleons and little things like that, yeah, she'd like to put those somewhere near me. 
  •  AKIN: And how'd you get even for those things? 
  •  BIBLE: Oh, I'll never tell. And I don't know that I did actually, now that I think about it. Wish I could ask her. I'm sure I found some way [laughter]. 
  •  AKIN: Your dad had been in the service, one of the greatest generation you had said, did he ever talk about being in the service? 
  •  BIBLE: He did, he talked about quite a bit, his brothers served too, some in World War II, some in Korea. What Daddy’s biggest thing was, was that he could not go overseas. And so he couldn’t go fight with his brothers overseas. And that was something I think, all of his life, bothered him. Daddy had severe asthma, and so he didn't, he could not physically endure the hardships of war but his brothers all served overseas. And so I think that was one of those things he always — felt that he had missed out on an opportunity. At the time that he served, the coast guard was part of the army and so that's what he was.  His job was to man an anti aircraft gun n the United States on the coast and he spoke very fondly of his service on the California coast, he spent quite a bit of time there, he spent quite a bit on the Texas coast and those were — Everybody of that generation served whether in the military or they served at home. They served. And it became part of our family, I don't know, traditions, or part of who we are, Daddy served, Colleen served in the army reserve, and my son served. So it seems to be — become a generational — I don’t want to say obligation because it's an honor to serve, but a responsibility. 
  •  AKIN: And how is it that the great generation and your generation compare with the generation that’s out there today? 
  •  BIBLE: Well, the generation that’s out there today is far more privileged than any generation before. And my generation, the baby boomers, were very, very privileged. Um, and very very blessed in many many ways. Our parents knew hardship, the greatest generation. All of their brothers and sisters, my aunts and uncles, they knew what it was to live without and they appreciated having the comforts of life and they gave their children the very best opportunities that they could, as I did as a parent. Um, but things — what I remember most about my mom, my mom and my dad and their brothers and sisters, is how much they pushed on us that education was important. And the more education you could get the better. But education didn’t just come from a classroom. And while a college degree was important, it was not for everyone. And as you can imagine, when you have 30 or 40 first cousins in the same generation, not all of them are going to finish college. But there are other ways to get education, sometimes the school of hard knocks is a better teacher than anything you’d learn in the classroom. But they worked hard to make sure that we didn't have the hardships that they had. 
  •  BIBLE: And I can honestly say I've never been hungry a day in my life. I have had a roof over my head, I have had food, I was taught to work, I taught my children to do that. One of — and my friends and I talk about this. We spoiled our children. We didn’t really understand hardship, we — there was the oil crisis in the 70s where we could only buy gas every other day, you know, in the late 70s jobs were hard to find. In Louisiana, jobs were very dependent on domestic oil production, that hurt a lot, crop prices weren’t so great, there were hard times but nothing like what the generation — the greatest generation went though.  
  •  BIBLE: I think sometimes we have made it too easy on our children. We gave them everything, they get a trophy for participating, and I’m seeing this as an employer now and trying to mentor the generation that will take over as we begin to retire. I'm at the lower end of the baby boomers so I've still got a ways to go but — they want a certificate or a trophy for participating or for showing up and it’s lost its meaning and that’s one of the things I hope that as, as that generation grows older that they understand that you don't necessarily get an award for showing up, that that is an expectation, and you are expected to do something and produce something in some way. I still have hope though, I still think that they’re going to be okay. 
  •  AKIN: I want to take you back again to being at home with your family and all four girls were there. Tell me about the kitchen. 
  •  BIBLE: Oh, well first let me tell you that our — May and Anita, our older sisters are quite a bit older than Colleen and I, like 12, 14, I think it's 14 and 16 years older. I have very few memories of all four of us living at home. Little snippets of memories is more what I have, almost like photographs of memories. I remember that May was going to college while Colleen was going to kindergarten. So the times we were all four at home were mostly on weekends when the older girls would come home from college. The kitchen was always chaos. The biggest thing was to keep mom out of the kitchen. Dad was a far better cook than mom was. And so when mom was cooking it was a little scary sometimes.  
  •  BIBLE: But even today if you get us together it’s chaos in the kitchen. There’s food flying everywhere and everyone's talking and bumping into each other. But the kitchen was not where the women were, it was where the men were too. And so even today I notice that you can have a huge house but everybody's in the kitchen. It's where the food is prepared, it's where nourishment is given and this is where you’re going to forever nourish your family. It was great. It was a lot of fun being the younger ones, ‘cause we never had to wash dishes, the older girls got to do that. And the stove was sort of a mystery. But Daddy did teach us to cook, he did. Colleen was better than me. 
  •  AKIN: What kind of stove did you have? 
  •  BIBLE: Oh we had — it was about as much of a 60s and 70s house that you could imagine. We had an electric stove. We did not have air conditioning when I was a young child. I remember many, many summer nights — the beds were put in front of the windows and the attic fan was turned on and you just couldn't sleep it was so miserable. I was in elementary school when we got air conditioning and I just thought it was the greatest thing ever invented. Still think it’s a great invention. But yeah, we had a 1200, 1400 square foot home. Modest home, 3 bedroom, 1 bath with a lot of the modern conveniences. I do remember when we got a dryer, a clothes dryer, and we didn't have to clothes hang — hang clothes out on the line, of course now that's changed, people do that, it's much more environmentally friendly, its interesting to watch that cycle. But we were — we weren't wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, but we were comfortable. 
  •  AKIN: Did you help hanging the clothes before you got the dryer? 
  •  BIBLE:  Not much, couldn't reach the clothes line. 
  •  AKIN: Couldn't reach. 
  •  BIBLE: But I loved the smell. Put your face in a towel that had been dried on the line, and oh, that smell, or crawl into bed that had fresh sheets on it, loved that smell. We had — we had help in the house, with the domestic chores, mom and dad both worked so Hilda would come in and take care of a lot of the basic things. I remember Hilda ironing, they ironed everything in the 60s. The sheets got ironed. I think I have an iron but I don't know if it works. But I remember those afternoons, ‘cause I remember thinking, gosh, she must just be dying, no air conditioning and over a hot iron, um, but then again, you think about what my grandmothers went through where they heated an iron on a wooden stove, so we definitely benefited from the electricity. 
  •  AKIN: Tell me more about Hilda. Did you have any interaction, interaction with her? 
  •  BIBLE: Hilda was part of our life. Um, was around I remember — I think what I remember most about Hilda was after we'd gt up from our afternoon naps — because we all had to take a nap in the afternoon, and I to this day love afternoon naps. It was all hot and miserable and sticky in Louisiana in the summertime so you didn't move around much in the afternoon. But after we got up from our naps Hilda always made sure we had something cold. A popsicle or ice cream or something cold. And, and Hilda helped my parents on and off until, until, until they passed. Uh, and she was an older woman. I remember that she had a daughter that was a little bit older than I was. And I remember that in — as we were young, and in the 60s, we were not allowed to play together. If we were playing in the front yard then Hilda's daughter had to be in the back yard. And of course, children don't understand prejudice until they’re taught it, and so we would sneak around the side of the house and play together until we got caught. [laughter] And that was — and Hilda's daughter, as I understand it, has a college education and is an extremely successful woman 
  •  AKIN: So, so Hilda was black? 
  •  BIBLE: Yes. And she seemed to me to be a very tall woman, but I don't know that she really was. When you're a child every body's big. But I just remember, what I remember, what I think, I think Hilda was a tall, thin woman.  
  •  AKIN: Now, when you reached about 17 you decided to leave Louisiana. 
  •  BIBLE: I did, I finished high school a little early and was um, expected to go to LSU, had enrolled, was expected to go to LSU. 
  •  AKIN: Well, let's go, let’s take it from you making the decision to leave. 
  •  BIBLE: Well, I don't really know if I — well, I certainly didn't understand the whole consequences. So I finished school at the end of the fall semester, finished high school at the end of the fall semester and had my credits, was supposed to go to LSU in the fall of ‘79, decided to go on a great adventure, which — I, looking back on it I wonder how my parents were able to let me go at 17. But they were, they trusted that we had what it took to survive. I think they also thought I'd be right back at home after 2 weeks. But, so I started out on this great adventure to go see the country. And through our childhood we had always taken family vacations. Two weeks in the summer, get in the car. And you go to Florida or Tennessee or Colorado or whatever, we were exposed to different parts of the country, but that had always been under the protection of my parents and under the careful eye of my parents. So I was going to go off on a great adventure and see what the world was like. So I went to Houston first and decided I really didn't like Houston much at all, it was a lot like South Louisiana but only bigger. So, came up to Austin, I had met a girl who was from Austin and it was one of my best friends from high school. And we didn't know where out next meal was coming from, we had very little money in our pockets, and it didn’t matter. And we got to Austin and both of us really fell in love with the place and then Austin was a small town, or smaller town. It was far larger than Ville Platte but it wasn't a mega-city with a population of more than a million that it is today. But it had the university. It had people from different walks of life with different attitudes. And just got comfortable here and never left. And eventually, you know, fall in love with a guy and here come the babies, and here's where I stayed. I lived in Dallas for about 6 months and came back, this is what — central Texas is what I consider home now, and it is certainly what my children consider home, and I raised my children here. 
  •  AKIN: And tell me about the husband that came along. 
  •  BIBLE: Um, Don, he was older than I was, he was um — he was a lot of fun, he really was a lot of fun; our relationship was um, I don't know what term I'd use. It was not a steady, calm, solid relationship. It was volatile. Ups and downs. And we did eventually divorce, when the boys were young, but always stayed very close, um, he was — he was who I turned to when Colleen disappeared. He was the steady person in my life no matter how much turmoil was in our relationship. He was the father of my children, and I loved him. I couldn't live with him and he couldn’t live with me so we had this very odd relationship. He was a good father and we always kept it focused on the kids, no matter how much friction there was between us. Which, it wasn't constant friction but the times that there were friction we were focused on, we had children together and we had an obligation to raise those children And we, until the day he died that's how that relationship — it was held together by the kids, but it was not traditional, it was certainly not the kind of relationship that my parents could understand. But he was always there for me no matter what, he was there for me. 
  •  AKIN: Now, you already divorced him before Colleen came out to Austin? 
  •  BIBLE: That's right, that's right. We divorced when our baby was 2 years old, which would have been '86 or so, and Colleen came out shortly after that. But again, Don was off and over at family gatherings and he was just always kind of around. He and Colleen got along very well, very well, they were pretty good buds. I had remarried shortly before Colleen disappeared, and that marriage ended within weeks of Colleen's disappearing. So we were only married three or four months, or we were only together three or four months, but it took a while to go through the divorce. I guess we all have to have one of those that makes us go, eh, okay that wasn't so smart, but that's the way it is. 
  •  AKIN: So, when Colleen got here, um, did — did — had you two communicated about her coming out or — before she came? 
  •  BIBLE: Yeah, yeah we had actually talked about it. She was dating a young man who worked for the Marriott Corporation, the company that ran the Marriott hotels, and he was been working at the hotel in New Orleans. Coleen was on staff, I believe at Ernest and Young I believe was the accounting firm. And um, Jameel had an opportunity to transfer to Austin, which would be a promotion for him. And they took advantage of that opportunity and it got her close to me and her nephews. She absolutely adored my boys. And they adored her. And so she wanted to be close to us. So she actually lived with me most of the time after she moved here, up to just a few months before she disappeared. Um, I was always the solid, rooted and grounded one. Probably because I had children and so there was no option then to be a nomad. I had to put down roots, I had to have a home to raise my children in. And at that point Colleen was kind of exploring life and going out and discovering where boundaries were or weren't. But I was the one that when things — when she needed a place to stay she came home, and that was my home. And I always was there. And she was a great help to me with the boys. Two young boys can have a lot of energy. And I had a full time job and I was the main provider, so it was great to have those extra hands to help and to spoil them. 
  •  AKIN: And did she have a boyfriend? 
  •  BIBLE: She did, she and Jameel broke up and he moved out of state. While she was working at the City of Austin she became friends with a young man, his name's Oliver, and, um, they had gotten pretty serious and they were talking about getting married but had not set a date, and that was who she was — that was her main man when she disappeared. From time to time they would — both she and Oliver would go date other people, and they would always end up back together. I still have some contact with Oliver, after all these years. 
  •  AKIN: Are we at a stopping point? 
  •  LORINS: We could — I mean, we have 7 minutes left so if you want to — 
  •  AKIN: Okay. Tell me about when Colleen first got here and she was exploring the town and everything, what was her sense of Austin? 
  •  BIBLE: Oh, she loved it as much as I did. Through the years while she was in college she would come out and visit me frequently, and so you know, we had done what I call the tourist things, we had gone to the Capitol, we had gone to Enchanted Rock, of course Barton Springs, Mount Bonnell, LBJ library, so she had always — had a lot of exposure to Austin and knew a lot about it before she moved here. But she loved Austin, absolutely loved Austin. The river, the nature, the being around the art scene and the music scene but being where you could actually get out of town too and have a little freedom. So I think she really enjoyed it here. 
  •  AKIN: What kind of art or music did she like? 
  •  BIBLE: Colleen liked jazz. She liked jazz a lot. I always liked the rock’n’roll and especially the 70s and 80s, or I guess more 70s, 60s and 70s than the 80s, but the night life, the live music, any kind of live music, and we both had fun dancing to country music, it was never — I don't think either one of our favorites, but it was always — I mean there was just something about the dance scene in Texas that's fun. And the dance hall scene, and having, for — I think for us and certainly for me, I should not speak for what Colleen thought or felt, but for me it was the Texas dance hall with the multiple generations where children were there, that was very similar to our childhood experience. And so it was a comfortable place for us to be, where you would have three or four generations or five generations celebrating a night together, all together, so the dance hall scene was [inaudible]. 
  •  AKIN: Now was this line dancing, or — ? 
  •  BIBLE: The old typical Texas dance hall where everyone dances in a circle and you do the two step and the waltz. I think um, the Broken Spoke, the Copeland Dance Hall, Gruene Hall in New Braunfels, those kinds of scenes. Back in the day Lubbock, or — I’m sorry, not Lubbock, Luckenbock, which I haven’t been to in years. But the whole — on Wednesday nights there was live music at Auditorium Shores, which doesn’t look anything like it did then. You'd put the kids in the wagon and grab an ice chest and you go out to the park and you listen to some music and enjoy seeing people from different backgrounds doing some really, sometimes very strange things. Both Colleen and I liked the culture of Austin. 
  •  AKIN: You said people doing strange things but it still felt like a safe environment where you could take your children? 
  •  BIBLE: Oh absolutely, absolutely. I think that — there were two horrible crimes that happened in December of ‘91 that changed our perspective of Austin. Up until that point, things, I mean things happen, we knew about things happened and people got killed, but it wasn't — it didn't feel like an environment that was so dominated by violence. As crack cocaine and methamphetamine became more pervasive through the local community, I think we saw violence change. I think many of us felt safe until December of ‘91, when we had both the yogurt shop murders — 4 young women murdered — and I think Colleen's disappearance had changed our perception. And I don't know if our perception before that had just been because we had not been exposed to it, but I think many many people had a different understanding of Austin after December of ‘91. 
 
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Metadata

Title:Interview with Lori Bible
Abstract:Lori Bible was born in Ville Platte in Evangeline Parish, in South Central Louisiana. She was one of four girls in her tight-knit family. One of Lori’s sisters, Colleen, was murdered by Kenneth McDuff in Austin, Texas. In Video 1, Bible discusses her early life as a child living in Louisiana. Details include Lori and Colleen’s enjoyment of horseback-riding, softball, and civic engagement with the Girl Scouts. Bible also discusses racial tensions in the South as she grew up, her and Colleen’s relocation to Austin, and the story of Colleen’s disappearance. In Video 2, Bible discusses what would become known as the yogurt shop murders, which claimed the lives of four women. Bible then discusses the atmosphere both inside and outside of her home following Colleen’s abduction. She became a frequent visitor of the Austin Police Department, and in doing so, realized the failings of the justice system. Towards the end of the video, Colleen describes what it was like to see Kenneth McDuff for the first time. In Video 3, Lori Bible mentions the tensions of the courtroom during McDuff’s trial and how she opted out of attending his execution. Bible discusses the details of how and where Colleen was found, her burial, and ultimately, Bible’s methods of coping with the traumatic loss not only of her sister, but of her mother, father, and former partner as well. This interview took place on August 9, 2014, in the home of Lori Bible, in Buda, Texas.
Sequence:1 of 3
Creators:
  • Lori BibleRole: Narrator
  • Texas After Violence ProjectRole: Collaborator
Contributors:
  • Louis AkinRole: Interviewer
  • Rebecca LorinsRole: Videographer
  • Christian ReesRole: Transcriber
  • Wilhelmina WattsRole: Transcriber
  • Wilhelmina WattsRole: Writer of accompanying material
  • Andrew JosefchakRole: Writer of accompanying material
Date Created:2014/08/09
Languages:eng
Geographic Focus:North America--United States--Texas
Geographic Base:North America--United States--Texas--Buda
Type of Resource:Moving image
Genre:Interview
Rights:
    This electronic resource is made available by the University of Texas Libraries solely for the purposes of research, teaching and private study. All intellectual property rights are retained by the legal copyright holders. The University of Texas does not hold the copyright to the content of this file. Formal permission to reuse or republish this content must be obtained from the copyright holder.

Source Metadata

Analog/Digital Flag:physDigital
Carrier Number:1 of 3
Generation:original
Signal Format:NTSC

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