By Anita Beer
Fond Memories of Wayne and Other Thoughts from Anita Beer”
The other day I received the email below from an old friend whom I haven’t seen in 25 years. We were brought together again by memories of Wayne Fontenelle’s life and our continuing sadness at his passing. Below are some of her thoughts on Wayne and the mental ramblings of a world class rugger hugger.
hiya Tom and Fran and Lads of the NORFC!!
It’s Jennifer here – from now on to be known as “Anita Beer”. I’ve gone from young, beautiful and willing to make a beer run to old, saggy, and wrinkled with cottage cheese laden thighs spilling over the sides of my chair. And I’m getting that old man smell.
I was so sad to hear about Wayne passing. I saw Wayne the same day I saw Fran last at the Jazz Festival circa 2003 or 4 perhaps? We ran into Fran at our campsite where he gave me directions to his site. I went over there later that day. I never found you, Fran; but fortunately I ran into Wayne and his wife and daughter. I remember being stunned that Wayne was all growed up, with a family. And they were all so beautiful together with their brown hair and big brown eyes. Now I am more than just stunned that he has passed away. I am so sad for all of you and his family. It seems he lived his whole life in warp speed … as fast as he could run.
And I am given this opportunity to reconnect with you two and I cannot resist. What if one of you drops dead before you get this email! I shouldn’t procrastinate another minute. Just know I loved you and if you ever croak I would be so sad yet richly endowed with wonderful memories.
Thomas, I saw your house yesterday. Since nobody buys art during a recession; I am riding it out, working as a field researcher for the University of Mich. They are doing the New Orleans Katrina Study and I am basically their eyes on the ground down here. The respondents are picked randomly based on their address. My job is to track them down and I have been trained to fill out a form assessing each housing unit at each address. I am a highly trained professional. So when Ellen was in need of a Housing Unit Assessment, I was her man. Do I need to over amplify the importance of my position any more?
My highly trained professional assessment of the Housing Unit is: Ellen and her friends should stay with me.
Not because there is anything wrong with Crosby’s house, I think its very cute. I just want the company of a bunch of fun girls and, as always, I am still in it for my own personal gratification.
Tom, I love your little pink house. I started singing John Mellencamp when I got there. ” awwww for you and me!” Everybody, sing with me!
I went around to the back yard and saw your deck. I saw some sweaty, thick-thighed rugby players sucking on a beer keg and I heard them singing the Abortion Song in front of a really pregnant woman. I saw the Edwards Brothers hovering over your chiminea full of burning pot. In the far corner of the lot, by the alley, I saw Maureen puking with a Jamesons pocket rocket stuck in her nest of hair. I saw Fran in his black man costume asking, “Where da white women?” (Fran, I don’t know if you knew this or not but I was on acid that night and you and your costume caused me to have a quantum personality change.) Back to what I saw at Tom’s house.
I saw the outdoor “shower”. No no no. This is not a shower. Here, again, is where Tom’s perspective takes flight on reality. A shed is not a house and a garden hose does not a shower make. I saw Wally, naked, taking a shower. I threw some soap in his general direction.
I’ve had chances to reconnect via email with a few people over the years and never have I experienced the fun of reliving the past such as this has been. Writing this letter is a blast as I go back to those days spent with you guys and the New Orleans Rugby Football Club on Oak Street and the pitch on the river and the trips and the singing and the fun and the dancing and the impromptu visits in the night from Rocek and (ok there I mentioned him. Sated?) some of my favorite times were spent with you guys. You contributed greatly to making the whole of my life exquisite. I am truly blessed to have those days to remember, making friends with Ellen and you all, when I was young and cute and we all had so much fun. Exquisite.
I am now living in Lakeview rebuilding this house we bought after the flood. And in lieu of turning my fingers into bloody stumps, rewriting what is already there — here is the link to somewhat update you on where we are now.
www.jenniferporterartist.com the storm story sort of says most of it. And I have an all new site under construction with more of that story coming. Stay tuned.
So if you guys drop dead tomorrow, you will know how much I appreciate how you contributed to one of the best phases of my life.
And, by the way, I mailed a copy of this to my lawyer.
Jenn … oops, Anita