|Amy, about 4, with Miss Rose.|
Amy was the little girl who lived across the street from my parents' home. We knew her all her life.
When our Jason -- at ages 3, 4, 5 -- came to visit with his new Oma Rose and Opa Louis, one of his favorite things to do was go play with Amy. They were the same age.
They were a matched pair, both blond(e) and sweet and cute, two kids playing in the driveway or the garage. Loretta and Lynn Geneux, Amy's parents, were as proud of her as we were of Jason. My parents thought of Amy as practically another grandchild.
The Geneuxs lived on Schaub Drive in Shreveport for Amy's first decade (brother Emile came next, and sister Amanda followed). Lynn Geneux became our family attorney and, with Loretta, were my parents' "protectors" as they aged.
Many people took care of Rose and Louis, but few as much and as consistently as Lynn and Loretta, even after they moved to another nearby neighborhood. If there was a Van Thyn family function, the Geneuxs were there. They were loyal.
We thought about that Thursday, one of those days -- one of those phone calls -- that devastates you.
We were getting ready to go exercise at the downtown YMCA when my phone rang at 9:47 a.m., and Lynn Geneux got right to the point.
"We wanted to let you know that Amy died yesterday [Wednesday] morning," he said, hesitating.
What do you say to that?
|The Keck family in summertime: Amy, William, Audrey, Jim|
She told Audrey to call Nonnie and Papa in Shreveport. Audrey did and told them Mama was having the baby -- due near Thanksgiving -- and they better hurry to Houston. She then yelled at William to call 911.
It was Amy who called 911. The medics arrived, and Amy got herself on the gurney. But, it is thought, she stopped breathing by the time they took her out of the house. They tried to revive her on the way to a nearby hospital, but ... no.
The baby also died.
Adeline Claire Keck, Geneux grandchild No. 8, never had a chance.
When I told Bea, her first response -- after sobs -- was that "you don't expect that to happen in today's world."
As Lynn told me in a later conversation -- after I asked permission to write this blog piece -- the cause might have been a pulmonary embolism (blood clot). They are awaiting autopsy results.
There had been no warning signs, not in a doctor's visit Monday. Some back pain Tuesday, but it all looked good. And then ...
Lynn Geneux was in the Jesuit High School Class of '64, not an athlete -- not
|All the Geneux/Keck/Ericson family; that's Jim and Amy, far left|
When Dad had so much trouble with French attorneys and the government trying to settle his first cousin's estate -- Dad was the heir -- Lynn worked hours, days, months, a couple of years on the case. Not sure he ever charged Dad for any work; if he did, it was a cute-rate bargain.
Loretta Gates Geneux, like Bea, was a country girl who came to live in the city. She was from Coushatta, La. -- Bea's mother's hometown -- and, for you baseball fans, a cousin of the famed Joe Adcock.
She has her country twang, a delightful, upbeat person who is sneakily funny. She doted over her children -- and Miss Rose -- and she's the best Nonnie anyone could ever be.
We have known so many great people, and the Geneuxs are right there.
Lynn reminded me that Loretta was nine months pregnant when, after a weeks-long search, they found the house for sale on Schaub Drive. They signed the papers on July 1, 1974, moved in on July 5, and Amy was born July 10. Welcome home.
Our Jason was 4 months older. They each started school the same year, graduated high school the same year (1992) and attended LSU (separate locations) at the same time. They each married the same year, each a few years into their 30s, had children the same year.
Amy became a teacher, first in Shreveport and then in Houston, where she moved because it was Jim's hometown and he had a job as a chemical engineer. She taught in middle school (social studies) and elementary school.
To be honest, we were not that close to Amy after they moved from Schaub Drive. But to look at her Facebook page now, and the many, many posts from longtime friends and her students, she was so much like her parents -- just as sweet and kind (and funny) as we remember her as a little girl. As a teacher, she obviously was dedicated and diligent.
But mostly, she was about family. The Geneuxs are about family.
Amy and Jim's twins are the oldest grandchildren and the first of two sets of twins; Dr. Emile, a dentist in Shreveport, and wife Dr. Beth, an OB-GYN, have twin daughters, and two younger daughters. Amanda (and Jeff) have a daughter and grandchild No. 9, a boy, due in February.
It is a loving, tight-knit group, and we admire them. On Loretta and Amy's Facebook pages, there are so many wonderful family photos -- many taken by Jim, who is a skilled photographer (side business) -- and so many neat posts.
They've had their challenges, serious health issues with two of the grandkids, and other difficulties. But they were patient and persevered.
And now this. Our hearts ache for all the Geneuxs, especially for Jim, Audrey and William with the loss of their wife and mother.
|Our little Amy, with baby Emile|
Amy and the family was about all I could think about. It is difficult to fathom such a life ending so tragically.
"She was a good mother," Lynn said of his oldest daughter, his and Loretta's first baby. "She lived for her children and for her family. She was good to them, she was good to Emile and Amanda, and their kids.
"It is not supposed to be this way," he said, choking up at the thought (but not as choked up as the person he was talking with). "But it is."
Amy, the beautiful little girl who lived across the street.
The Geneux family posted these visitation/funeral arrangements:
Sunday: visitation, 5-8 p.m., Klein Funeral Home, Cypress-Fairbanks, 9719 Wortham Blvd., Houston, TX 77065
Monday: Mass, 4:15 p.m., St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church, 10135 West road, Houston, TX 77064
Tuesday: Visitation, 5-8 p.m., Rose Neath funeral home, 1815 Marshall St., Shreveport, LA 71101
Wednesday: Mass, 1 p.m., St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 211 Atlantic Ave. 71105, burial to follow at Holly Springs cemetery near Coushatta, LA