August 1951, a young, spunky LSU student named Cecil Broussard from New Iberia, Louisiana, with dreams of conquering the world, caught site of a beautiful, fall-in-love-with, every man’s dream kind of… a car! Yes, he spotted a brand new 1951 Plymouth Belvedere, 2-tone, with a split front windshield, sleek curves and chrome trim. As he checked it out, he also noticed there was a pretty girl driving the car. She must have been the only girl on the LSU campus at the time with her own car. That meant she had to be rich, so he felt that he had to approach her and ask her out on a date.
Cecil walked up to her and asked her name. She said her name was Bea. They talked for a while, about her, where she was from, what her major was, etc. He found out she was studying Physical Education at LSU and told her he was studying Personnel Management. He finally asked her out on a date and she accepted.
For the next several months they continued to date. Finally, for Thanksgiving in 1953, Bea thought it was time to bring him to meet her parents. She was from a small rural town in Northeast Louisiana called Delhi. Since Cecil thought she was rich, he wanted to make an impression on her parents. In the 50’s it was difficult to get fresh seafood that far away from the Gulf, so he brought a mix of fresh seafood with him as a gift, including shrimp, crawfish, crab and more.
The Bradley’s lived in a modest home, and by all outward appearances, didn’t appear to be rich, as Cecil had believed. But he did spot a picture of Bea standing next to an oil well on the mantle in the living room. In his mind, that meant they had “oil money”. She had to be rich. They must have a 5-bedroom brick home somewhere and this was just a second home, he thought to himself. Like most people of the time, they must not like to flaunt their wealth.
In fact, during this first visit, as was tradition, the Friday after Thanksgiving was a day to serve leftovers. Cecil, being the good Catholic that he is, didn’t eat the meat when eating leftovers. So, after lunch, Bea’s dad slipped him a $20 bill and said, “You and Bea go out and have yourself a nice seafood dinner.” Well, $20 was enough to buy a week’s worth of meals in 1953! Cecil was now sure she must be rich and could see the dollar signs in his future!
Not long after meeting Bea’s parents, Cecil proposed and they were married on September 3, 1954 at Delhi Catholic Church in Delhi, Louisiana.
Well, to Cecil’s surprise, instead of marrying into “oil money”, he inherited a car note for a certain 1951 Plymouth Belvedere, 2-tone! He soon found out that Bea’s family was happy but wasn’t rich, didn’t own any land with an oil well (the picture was just taken at a random oil well by one of Bea’s friends), and they certainly didn’t secretly own a 5-bedroom brick home.
At least he could take solace in the fact that she was beautiful! This September will make 66 years they have been married, and Cecil is still as spunky as he was the day he met her in 1951, and Bea is just as beautiful!
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