By: Linda Sulteen Wanzer
Sherry, What a surprise when I came across your website. I plan on reading the memories you have collected. I have not done so yet because I got excited and wanted to write to you.
My family moved to Minden around 1955 or 1956 and left in August of 1963. Even though that may not seem like I long time to some, it is the part of my life that is so very dear to me. You see, I was a daddy's girl and those are only the years I have to remember with my father.
As members of Minden First Baptist Church, we were very busy with the activities they had for the children. I remember the fun times we had at the Tabernacle and going on small retreats. The choir events and Vacation Bible School are deep within good times that I hold dear. There were so many children who participated in the church events. In the summer of 1969 the Chapel Choir of East Point First Baptist Church, where we were members after moving to Georgia, went on a tour to Panama, Canal Zone and to South America. While in Panama, there was a chapel with a plaque that was dedicated to Brother Aldredge, who was our pastor in Minden. What a joyous thing to see.
I went to the preschool program at the Presbyterian Church. The workers were very kind and cheerful. I, also, liked the cookies. I do not remember the teacher's names there, but I do remember it being a fun time for me.
We lived at 220 Pecan View Drive and I remember our phone number was 377-3052. My parents were Lanny Sulteen, who had a blacksmith shop in Minden and Elizabeth Sulteen, who taught at Minden High School and Lowe Junior High. Daddy also, did a lot of traveling with his trailer. We had the opportunity to go with him during the summers when he traveled and that was special for us.
I remember the teachers during elementary school. They were 1st grade, Miss Doyle, 2nd grade, Mrs. House, 3rd grade, Mrs. Parrot, 4th grade, Mrs. Wynn and 5th grade was Mrs. Day. I remember Mr. Cathcart, our principal. The second grade was not at ES Richardson but I can't recall the name of the other elementary school. Maybe someone can help me out.
The parades downtown were always fun. I remember riding in a buggy during one of them. For some reason, I think it was an Easter Parade. I do remember being so dressed up, with hat and gloves and a frilly dress. We passed so many people and really thought I was special.
I loved going downtown to go shopping with Mama. Daddy would take me with him when he went to the Barber Shop and we would usually go eat at a restaurant, too. The dime store was neat to go into because we always got to pick something out, especially at Christmas and birthday times. I remember the hardware store, the Saturday morning movies, which were cartoons and you were given so kind of "goo die" when you were leaving. My favorite was a tiny loaf of Wonder Bread. Then, there was the skating rink. Now there was so fun times, there, buddie. Then Mr. Williams opened up a venue where you could jump on trampolines. I remember the putt putt, too. There was Slacks and the Piqqly Wiggly, were I always was filling out the slips to win free groceries. And we did win, at least once that I remember. I, also remember that we had groceries delivered to us at times. There was a place you could drive old timey cars. Someone needs to remind me of who and where that was.
When my brother, Ramon and I were under school age, Mama started teaching and we had to stay at a ladies' house. Her name was Mrs. White. I believe she live next door to some type of convenience store (I don't really remember, maybe it was a small grocery store) She would bake cookies for us and make sure we had a good time and did not miss Mama. Good memories, there, too.
We had the best neighborhood. There were lots of children to play with. I remember playing outside late on Friday nights. Of course, it really wasn't late, we just thought it was. One game I remember was called Bear Hunt. I believe someone would draw on the streets with chalk and we would have to follow the directions. I remember flashlights during that time, too. Marilyn Miller lived next door to us and I guess she was not only my best friend, but the first friend I remember having. I was devastated when her father was transferred to France (or somewhere in Europe). We wrote some. The elation I had when they were transferred back to Barksdale AFB was truly something else. And to make it better, they moved back very close to us. Then they built a house on Chrislo Drive (sp?) That was fun because I loved going over there and spending the night. On Friday nights we would stay up late and watch scarey movies. They were not my favorite, but the fun of being with others made it worth watching the movies. Her mother, Lea (sp?), always seemed to like us being there. Woodrow, her father would always make me laugh. They were very friendly. Of course, Tommy Marilyn's brother probably thought we were all a bother and he would go off so he would not have to put up with us, I guess. Jan was small and would not stay up late with us.
I remember going down the street to the Martin's house. Mr. Martin was the sheriff at that time. I thought he was special. It seemed like Mrs, Martin was always cooking. She had an apron on each time I saw her, unless she was at a party Mama took me to with her. Mrs. Martin would take time with us. She had toys that we did not have and would let us play with them. They had a wheel barrow and would ride us in it, a lot. That was lots of fun.
The Taylor's lived down the street. Coach Taylor loved to go fishing. He would hunt for squirrels, too. I remember him hanging them and skinning them. I think that is gross now but it amazed me then. We would play in the bed of his truck. I am sure he hunted other things I never saw. There was probably all kinds of animal blood in there, but I don't remember thinking about that then.
We would go across the street and play with Dale Harp. They had large pecan trees in there yard and we would pick them. We would rake leaves and play in them. We would also, play "airport" and I would be inside at the window and sell airline tickets. (Later, I would work for Delta Air Lines and remember those times.) There were times when a bad storm would come up and Jane would have us get under the dining room table or under a bed. Even though we lived across the street, she would have us stay there and be safe. I do not know, maybe she was keeping us for Mama at the time. Anyway, Jane was good to us. Dale and Ramon were good friends.
Ramon was a cub scout and would go to the Dailey's for his den meetings. Sometimes I would to, too. I would play in the yard. I was good at climbing up but not at climbing down from things. I remember one time, I climbed up to the tree house and was afraid to get down. Mr. Dailey came outside and reached up and got me down. Imagine, it was so low that he just had to reach up and get me. I was a real fraidie cat! Mike and Kent Dailey were very good friends to Ramon. Lane came along later and was a lot younger. I am lucky to be friends with Kent on face book now. I enjoy his posts. It takes me "home."
Ramon was also friends with Larry Liner who also lived across the street. It was fun playing in their yard, too.
I thought Al Burkhalter was my boyfriend. I do not know if he knew that or not, but it is in writing now. He lived across the street, too.
Debbie and Renee McCollum also lived down the street from us. They were Marilyn's cousins. I would have fun going and playing with them, too.
While Marilyn moved, I became good friends with a girl named Delma Lynn Logan. He parents were divorced and she lived with her dad. I believe he was a photographer. Anyway, he would take lots of pictures of us. Delma Lynn had all the real Barbie things. Mama made my Barbie things, and I would make beds and houses and things out of boxes. I treasured my Barbie things but it was a treat to get to go play at Delma Lynn's with her real things. We lost touch and I do not know how to reach her anymore. Wish I could find her.
There was a girl who lived down across from the Martins, named Susie. Their maid only had the use of her thumbs and little fingers on each hand. I think I remember that right. Anyway, the maid was amazing. She could do everything just like she had all of her fingers. I was impressed with her.
We had a maid, named Jenny. Jenny was like another mother for Ramon and me. We loved her so. She took very good care of all of us. I remember when we were sick, she was there by our side constantly. I got to see her in 1979 on a visit back to Minden, when I was pregnant with my son. Mama, my daughter, who was 2 1/2 and I went back to Minden to visit. When we were there, there was discussions about cable television coming. I thought what a shame. I wondered why anyone would pay for TV when they could watch it for free. I thought the same about bottled water. Even though it was not free, it seemed like it was. I still think it is crazy to pay for these things.
Although Mama has visited Minden many times since we left, I have only been able to go back a few times. She would always stay with Grace Watson. What a lovely host she always was. We would go over there a lot when we lived in Minden and there was a creek we would play in. I did, at least, until I got pinched by a crayfish! I never went near that creek again.
We had so many other wonderful friends in Minden and I do not want to try to mention each one, as surely, I would accidentally leave one out and that would not be right. Please know that each and everyone one of you who were a part of our lives, hold special places in all of our hearts.
I do have to mention one more friend, Gaylon Olaphant (sp?). The week before my daddy died, I was reading the paper to daddy and I was reading an article where Mr. Olaphant had been killed in a gun accident. I was terrified. I thought that was the worse thing that could happen to anyone, to loose their daddy. Little did I know that one week later, I would feel the pain of loosing my daddy. Before he died, I had a bad dream that Daddy did die and I was crying about it the next day. Daddy asked me why I was crying and I did not want to tell him. He convinced me to tell him. I cried uncontrollably and told him about my dream. He told me not to worry that we all have to die sometimes and that we need to have our hearts ready for that time. He told me that he loved me very much and that if and when he did die I could always know how much he loved me. The next Saturday was my parents anniversary and I baked Daddy a huge cookie. He told me to wrap it up and save it and he would eat it later. He never got to eat that cookie. He died at home during the night that night. Daddy had emphysema. He had been very sick the last two years of his life. I called Dr. Van Horn and he came right over. Mama called Mr. Waltman and he came right over. We had to go next door for a while. That night, I spent the night at the Taylor's and then went and stayed with the Millers. That was January 1963. I thought that was the worse thing that could happen. How I have learned it was not. The next few days are still blurry. I do remember Mrs. Aldredge taking a lot of time with me. I had made myself sick and she was right next to my bed comforting me. I do remember her telling me that as Christians, we will see our loved ones again. I have held on to that, too.
That summer, Mama and her sister, Bea Hunt, we called her Aunt Sister, took Ramon and me on a cruise to the Bahamas. Later we were told that was to get our minds off of missing Daddy. Then Mama got a teaching job in College Park, Georgia and we moved from Minden. I thought that was even worse. But I am glad to have the memories I have of Minden and my friends.
In December of 1996, Mama died. We took her body back to the Gardens of Memory in Minden to be laid to rest next to Daddy. That was the last time I have been back. But to let you know just how much Minden has meant to us, there were at least 12 of our friends who came to the graveside service we had for Mama. What a tribute to Mama each of you gave. Then, Lea Miller invited the family to her house for something to eat. Although she had just buried her dear husband, in her grief, she reached out to us. But that is just the kind of people who live in Minden.
So, as Bob Hope always sang, "Thanks for the memories!"