Fred's Ozark Legacy

Little Freddie was born out of wedlock to his teenage mother, Jenny Rakes, and his proud father, Jonathan Baker, who lived on the Ozark farm next to the Rakes. The desertion of his teen mother prior to his first birthday gave Freddie a family of only his maternal grandmother and his proud dad, Jonathan.

At the death of his loving Grandmother Rakes, all that was left the preteen could call a “loving family” was his dad, Johnathan Baker. So as you can imagine his dad's shock when son, Fred, refused any schooling past the eighth grade, adding “ignorance” to the “out of wedlock” description of his son, Fred.

His mother and her husband arrived prior to the end of Fred's teen years to visit with him and inform him he had three half brothers and a half sister since they had married. His refusal to say more than hello and not even see the “family” set the tone to his mother's life as it related to Fred.

Before Fred finished his teen years, the family of his brother and sister, escorted by their half-sister, Penny, arrived unannounced and uninvited on his doorstep. His shock included his first question, to himself, What can I do for them? Of course, he had sympathy for them when he learned of the accidental death of their mother and father.

His remaining teen years made it necessary for him to find a better paying job in the Ozarks and caused his life to be everything from horrible to misery. The way this transforms the children's relationship with Fred Baker and Penny Halloran, their half-sister, is an exciting and educational exhibit of the flying teen years.

The arrival of the finishing touches to the family includes “fake” parents, nieces, nephews, grandparents, and all of 'em, as one says in the Ozarks. The close chase by a panther after their little sister, Sue Ann, reminds one just how dangerous even a ten year old can be. The teen boys needed little help going from the problem of working students to a wonderful loving Christian family.

--Rosa Largent

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