Skeleton Hills

“…maybe 20 feet high, but in South Louisiana, that’s a frickin’ Mount Everest!”

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Skeleton BicyclingWe lived in Bayou Vista, Louisiana from the time I was 2 years old until I was 13. I have some great memories of those times, and we were living the American Dream. My Dad bought a small house on Jupiter Street in 1957 or so, and we lived there for 5 years as he built up equity and savings until we could afford to move into a bigger new house he had built on Neptune Street.

Then he did the same thing there, so we could build a nicer house in Patterson.

Bayou Vista was a relatively new sub-division sorta, previously sugar cane fields between Patterson and Berwick, and while we lived there it was filling up rapidly. My Dad actually worked for the construction company out of Morgan City that was developing the property south of the drainage canal that we all just called ‘the canal’ and everyone knew what you were referring to. I remember falling asleep in his lap on the bulldozer while he was moving dirt and knocking down trees! It was a simpler time.

One of the results of the earth moving/tree clearing was 2 relatively high mounds of dirt that were left after the clearing of the section to be developed. To those of us living there at the time, they became known as Skeleton Hills, and they became a focus of activity for several years for a large group of kids in Bayou Vista. As they were only maybe a hundred yards apart, and we soon had a trail from the top of one to the top of the other, you only had to pedal your bike moderately hard to get a pretty good head of steam up between them! They were only maybe 20 feet high, but in South Louisiana, that’s a frickin’ Mount Everest!!!

One story from Skeleton Hills that still makes me smile is the time Perez Aucoin, one of my friends from the Berwick side, decided he was gonna climb a tree with his bicycle. I had met him during my one year hiatus from going to school in Patterson; I attended the new elementary school in Bayou Vista for my fourth grade year… and fought everyone there. Well, it seemed like it. Looking back, you realize that you had an established order after a while where everyone knows who is who in the pecking-order; but if you go into a new environment where it doesn’t exist yet, it has to be established–and Perez was one of the guys that I fought to a stand-still, so we became great friends.

There were a couple of trees near the trail between the hills that were kinda up on pedestals of dirt; the dozer had cut around the base, lowering ground level by about 5 feet, and leaving a 6 foot high or so pedestal of dirt around the tree. There was a slight slope to the dirt around the bottom, just enough to tempt a crazy MF like Perez to try and ride up it to the top! Well, he got a running start down one of the mountains, then veered off to the base of the tree–then WHAM! A big cloud of dust, and Perez is laying on the ground in gray-face, out like a light!

We got the dirt out of his mouth and nose so he could breathe and after a few minutes he woke up and says, “Did I make it?!?”

We all about died laughing! Perez was one of the only friends I knew in Bayou Vista that was crazier than me…!

To be continued; same life, different story…