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Fred Alderman

Page history last edited by Clint Gilchrist 8 years, 10 months ago

Fred Alderman

Profile of an Octogenarian
Published in Seeds Ke Dee Revisited 

By Judi Myers


Working as a hired hand in a watermelon field is a hot and sweaty means of earning money. Worse yet, the boss allowed certain men to eat all the water­melon they wanted while denying this privilege to Freddy and his brother. The watermelon-eaters were more than a bit cocky about their high status, so Freddy decided to knock them down a peg. He went to the druggist and obtained some hypodermic nee­dles which he filled with croton oil and secretly injected it into the stems of several watermelons. The next morning, it only took half an hour from the time the men ate these "special" melons until they were painfully running for the outhouse.


Frederick Henry Nash Alderman was born September 13, 1896, and has been full of inventive­ness, common sense, mischievousness and kind­heartedness ever since. He spent some of his early life in Colorado before moving his family to Pinedale, Wyoming, where he would sit by the hour and tell stories of a life lived to the fullest. Although he never attained fame or fortune, his old-time hon­esty, integrity, and neighborly helpfulness make him "Salt of the Earth."


At his childhood school, someone had been stealing coins out of coat pockets. Freddy decided to catch the thief. He coated some coins with indigo powder and left them in his coat pocket. When they were stolen, Freddy asked the teacher to have all the children wash their hands. The guilty boy's hands turned up blue. Fred always said of a person like that, "I wouldn't spit on the best part of him."


World War I came along and Fred was soon a raw recruit in the Air Force. He paid attention to every­thing going on around him. One time, he went with an orderly to get the squadron's mail. The orderly went out for a smoke and missed some mail. Fred claimed it, and one of the letters was for their lieu­tenant. Fred remarked to this officer, "You need that orderly like a cat needs side pockets in the Sahara Desert on a hot summer day for the sole and only purpose of keeping his feet warm."


Fred came home from the war as sergeant first class in the 351 AREO Squadron of the Air Force. At age thirty, he married Leah June Miller, and they had three Sons and a daughter. In 1945, Fred was told that he had only six months to live because of a lung condition. Fred headed his family West. They had to winter over in a one-room shack in Wyoming. Some mornings there would be all inch of snow on their quilt, the snow having come in through the cracks in the logs. It was a cold winter full of work and fun. It did wonders for Fred's health, and he has lived in this area ever since.


Fred worked as a mechanic during his years in Pinedale. One time, he stopped to help a disabled limousine and as he made a temporary repair, the male nurse handed a cupful of pills to his boss and said, "Time for your medicine, Mr. Rockefeller".


Fred, realizing whom he'd stopped to help, laughed and said, "Mr. Rockefeller, I wouldn't swap my good stomach for all your wealth."


John D. Rockefeller, Jr., replied, "My friend, times like this, if it would be possible, I would." A friendship grew out of this chance encounter, and J.D. frequently stopped to visit Fred when he jour­neyed through Pinedale to his ranch in Jackson Hole.


To almost his last day, Fred continued to help people by welding a music box back to its stand, mak­ing a display cabinet, repairing a lawn mower, lend­ing his huge roaster or showing a newcomer where to find fossilized clams. Fred did it all with a smile. A pinch of the "Salt of the Earth" died in March 1986, at the age of 89.


Late  1980s


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