He Looked at Me as if I Were the Most Beautiful Woman in the World
I enjoyed my time at Louisiana state university in Baton Rouge. I would visit New Orleans often where I enjoyed the jazz scene. I loved jazz. I had a group of friends and we had a great time even though we missed our families and were worried about the situation in Cuba. I hooked up with the Cubans, and other Latin Americans. I mean, we were fun at parties! We loved dancing!
And I was a beauty! I had so many admirers I had to practically use fencing to keep them away. I did all right.
At that time of course, the sexual revolution hadn’t happened yet. I was raised in a certain way. I would have sex when I married, and that was it.
I always believed that women could do the same things that men could do, except perhaps when it came to physical strength. My father encouraged those feelings. He was the first feminist I knew.
My father always said that women had to be better prepared for life than men. Men could work at about any job. But women, if they didn’t find a good husband they needed something to back them up.
My father instilled in me the idea of having a career and becoming a career woman. Later on, he’d got afraid of is owned preaching and would tell me: “you don’t want to be an old maid, do you?”
When I met my husband it was the first time I had considered marrying anyone. It happened very quickly. I met him in November, 1963, and we got married February 3, 1964. We lasted together 39 years.
His name is Hulen Howard Scoggins, but he used Howard. He was a tall, good-looking, red-haired guy who was very sweet and gentle. He was also very shy. He didn’t speak unless he was sure of what he was saying.
I met him at the home of a professor who gave a dinner as a way of introducing people to his program. We had been admitted to a program that was supported by the Title IV fellowship sponsored by the U.S. government. It was given to people who had a B or better average.
Howard had received one of those scholarships the year before I did, and was enrolled in a program of comparative literature. He was studying the literature of France and Spain. In 1963 I started studying the same thing.
Our professor had us sit at the same table because we had our French/Spanish language in common. He never imagined we would find a lot more in common!
From the beginning I was very attracted to him. He looked at me as if I were the most beautiful woman in the world. But at the same time he was respectful and gentle.
About three days later I found myself thinking: “this is a man I could marry.”
In so I started to play a few tricks. Later on he told me he knew about these tricks. For example one time I told him that my car was in the garage and I needed a ride. So he took me to the public library.
He was very willing and able to do these things because, as I say, he was shy.
We spent a lot of time together studying and talking about everything in the world.
One thing that drew us very close together was the assassination of John Kennedy. We both respected JFK a lot. That day was like the closing of one chapter and the beginning of a new one. We saw it as a big day for the world. Politically and culturally, all around the world there were many changes that came to a head with his assassination.
When it happened I was in class. A student brought them message to a professor and class was halted. The professors eyes were full of tears And he told us: “I’m sorry, I just got the news that John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated. I cannot continue with this class. I think this is the end of the world as we know it!”
I thought he was right.
I went back to the professor who had invited us to the party and I asked him for the telephone number of Howard. He said that Howard had just asked him for my telephone number!
I told the professor that I needed a friend and that I thought that Howard could be a friend with everything that happened that day. When I called Howard I found out that he was as sad as I was.
I think that day built a spiritual connection between Howard and me much faster and much tighter. We were able to talk of many things that we might not have otherwise mentioned.