“I’m two days older than dirt and meaner than mud,” Freda Flint advised the Sun when the interview began about her June 29, 2012, announced retirement. No one has decided yet on the date of her retirement party.
The Sun reporter forgot to ask why she is retiring, after all, she has only had a brief career. She started teaching the 5th and 6th grades in Schell City in 1951 after a year in Dade County teaching all country school grades at Smith School.
On Feb. 2, 1952, she married Chester Flint and became a housewife. She did some substitute teaching.
She lost Chester on Dec. 15, 2001, a month and a half short of their 50th anniversary.
In 1975, Freda went back to work at Schell City as an office aide and teacher’s aide.
In 1983, she became the bookkeeper and board secretary. She had wanted to be a secretary, but her father told her that teaching was a better career for her, so she followed his advice. When she became the school’s bookkeeper and board secretary, she knew she had found her calling.
She said, “I like putting numbers together and making things work.” That fits in with her way of working – “I always try to do my best at everything.”
She said, “I like people. I like getting acquainted. I like visiting with people.” She said her co-workers are like her second family.
So Freda has only been employed for 39 years – a year in Dade County, a year at Schell City then 37 more at Schell City and Northeast Vernon County, if you don’t count the 23 years she devoted to raising her family.
And what does Freda do to amuse herself? Paint, draw, color, crochet, knit, make clothes for myself and travel. She has been to Europe 11 times taking in all the countries, but her real love is England where she has been seven times.
Oh, there’s her genealogy research. She’s a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution with family members on both sides of the fight. Her ancestor, Col. John Pyle, was defeated by Lighthorse Harry Lee at the Battle of Haw River. Col. Pyle had the good sense to change sides after the war, but during the war he helped with the wounded. Then there was a Pyle on the winning side at the Battle of New Orleans, which some said redeemed the family name.
Freda is also a member of the First Families of Tennessee as is Former President George Herbert Walker Bush.
One of her father’s ancestors was a member of Morgan’s Riflemen, men who had to be able to reload while running and hit a target the size of a dinner plate. Freda inherited that knack of shooting guns, especially pistols. Her first love is semi-automatic pistols. Revolvers are not too far behind. She said the last thing she killed was a skunk – four legged.
Freda was glad to tell about her first car, a 1949 aqua green Plymouth coupe which she purchased in 1951 for $350. She and Chester drove that car until it wore out, then they traded it.
And what are Freda’s retirement plans? “More of what I’ve been doing.”
Then she added, “See how much mischief I can get into.”
She has standing invitations to visit her children. There’s Larry Flint – Vernon County, Roger Flint – a professor in Shawnee, OK, at the Oklahoma Baptist University for the past 32 years, and Karen Flint Miller, who is married to a Jefferson City attorney. Then there are five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Freda doesn’t have time for pets. She spends the time with her grandchildren.
Opinions – Freda has one on virtually any topic. The good thing is she is not shy about sharing it. If you are conservative, you’ll like her opinions. If you are not conservative, Freda would still likely enjoy the debate.
So, Freda is not really retiring. She will just drop the office jobs and spend more time on her other pursuits. And she’s sure to have fun.