In a small town, Ashland, in Natchitoches Parish in 1924, Fred and Lesca Walker became parents to their fourth child, a baby daughter. Their firstborn was a daughter, Hazel, followed by Thomas, who died when he was about eight. Later, another son was born, Ted, and finally our Cameo personality of today, Freddie “Sug.”
Her father was a railroad man, working all his life for the L & A Railway Company. He was a section foreman for many years, and finally became roadmaster.
Who was she?
When our Cameo personality was about 11 or 12, the family moved to Minden. She had started school in Ashland, and later attended Readhimer before moving to Minden. She was a freshman in high school when she came to Minden.
She was a real beauty, with a smile that won the hearts of all that knew her. Before long, she had been singled out by one of the football players as his special date. This handsome young man was a prominent member of the l938 State Championship team at Minden High School. That autumn of 1938 she was selected as the Football Sweetheart for the homecoming court.
What no one knew was that she and her football sweetheart had been married on October 12, 1938, when she was 14 years old. They kept their wedding a secret until she graduated in May of 1940. That graduation night she announced that she had been married for almost two years. By then, she had reached the age of 16.
First the young husband started college at La. Tech, but later transferred to Northwestern, which we called “Normal” back then. He had tried to enlist in the military but a heart murmur prevented him from being accepted.
The husband enrolled in a school in Shreveport that taught welding. He went to work in the shipyards in Texas following his schooling. And then, in 1943 while living in Texas, their first son was born, five years after their marriage.
They moved back to Minden and he had gone to work for his dad at a salary of $50 a month, with a house furnished. The second son came along in 1946, and in 1952 there was a third son. After a period of 10 years, the fourth son was born in 1962. And now that husband had four football players to follow in his footsteps and play for Minden High School.
These were busy years for the young mother. She was active in First Baptist Church, where she was president of the WMU for five years. For 47 years, she worked in the pre-school Sunday School departments as coordinator of activities. She served on the Building Committee that built the first Educational Building, and then as later buildings were planned she served on those Building Committees. She also served on the Heritage Committee. In fact, there are few committees in the church that she has not served on. Also, she was always active in the PTA at the children’s schools.
Years went by, and she continued to serve wherever she was needed. She took care of her mother after her father’s death, and then she assumed the care of her husband’s parents, moving the mother-in-law into the home with them.
By then her husband was in politics himself, and she worked along side him, winning votes for him with that sweet smile and winning personality. After leaving politics and public office, they became the Exxon Distributors for this area and operated a service station on the corner of Pine and Main Street for many years.
She cared faithfully for her husband during his long illness. Theirs was a love story that weathered the years and illness, but their love at the close of his life was as strong as the love they shared when she was 14.
In the last few years she has been a friend and a helper to many older ladies in our church and community. She always has time to take one to the doctor, to stay with someone who has had surgery, or cataract surgery. Never does she complain even though she has had 10 or more surgeries herself, including one for cancer of the kidney. She is faithful to visit the bereaved and attends most all the funerals. She is truly one of Minden’s goodwill ambassadors.
Each Sunday her entire family gathers at her home for lunch, all the grandchildren and their families are welcome, too, often bringing guests. This is the highlight of her week as once again they all gather around the table in her home. Sometimes there are 25 or more. Still, she is able to go to Sunday School and the worship services. During the week she attends Son Risers each weekday morning, for a time of Bible Study and prayer, and once a month brings the devotional for the group.
She tries to go to the ball games the grandchildren take part in, and is always ready to baby-sit with the little ones, and now it is great-grandchildren.
There is a passage in the Bible, Proverbs 31:28 that says “Her children arise up and call her blessed.” and that could be said of our Cameo personality today. She is Freddie Louise Walker Haynes, widow of O. H. Haynes, Jr., and she is better known as “Sug.” Her love encompasses not only her family, and extended family, but also her friends who are many. I am so proud to be called a friend, and her sweet voice as she calls to check on my health is a balm to my soul. To know her is to love her.
Juanita Agan submitted a weekly column to the Press-Herald for more than 15 years until her death in 2008. She was a resident of Minden since 1935.