By Judy Sheridan
Freddy Detherage has spent a lifetime in the Aledo area.
In the course of his 81 years he has lived north of town, south of town and within its boundaries, beginning in 1941.
Detherage graduated from Aledo schools in 1950 — having learned his lessons in a tall red brick building that once stood close to where Vandagriff Elementary is today.
After serving in the U.S. Army in Korea, he married his wife, Verda, in 1955 in the Aledo Church of Christ. Together, the couple raised a daughter, Deanna, and a son, Robert, who both attended Aledo schools.
A jack of all trades who continues to work, Detherage has delivered newspapers, worked for a telephone company, driven a school bus and been employed by Parker County Precinct No. 4, assessing the damages done to county roads by oil companies.
He commuted to Arlington for 25 years while working as an assembler for General Motors and now mows grass and repairs lawnmowers out of his home on FM 1187 South.
Although Detherage doesn’t remember the specifics of the City of Aledo’s incorporation 50 years ago, his recollections of the early days of the Aledo Volunteer Fire Department — which he joined a year after it was established — are remarkable.
Detherage was with the department for 45 years, 25 of them as chief. He remembers actually putting the fire trucks together: a 500-gallon pumper from a Chevrolet chassis, a 1,000-gallon tank truck from an old school bus firefighters bought from the school district for $1.
“We carried that chassis out to Walsh’s ranch, and they said, ‘Use whatever you need,’” he said. “While we were working on it, Cresson decided they needed one and built one similar.”
There were six volunteers on the VFD when he signed up, Detherage said.
“When we got up to 10 or 12 volunteers, we put a siren on top of the telephone pole and people would hear and come help,” he said. “Then the switchboard would get really busy with people who wanted to know what was going on. I was working for the telephone company then — Medford — an individual owned it.”
Another thing Detherage recalls is using burlap tow sacks, soaked in 5-gallon buckets of water, to beat out the flames in spots that were difficult to reach.
Aledo’s first mayor, Bob Daugherty, was easy going, according to Detherage.
“He listened to everybody’s stories before he spoke up,” he said.
The senior resident doesn’t see eye to eye with Aledo’s current mayor, Kit Marshall, however.
For one thing, he’s not a big fan of historical districts and the restrictions that go with them.
“I think the city’s too far off I-20 to be a little Granbury,” he said. “That’s my opinion.”
For another, he believes the Aledo couplet — now under way — will create a second traffic bottleneck near City Hall, instead of allieviating the current one.
“We’ll see in about two years,” he said.
Detherage believes Aledo’s incorporation 50 years ago was a good decision.
“They’ve helped a little with the upkeep of city streets,” he admitted.
Change is inevitable, he said, no one can stop progress.
“I don’t worry about anything,” he said. “Worry just makes you old.”