The following transcription is from a series of recordings my father made in the early 1990s:
The Thurman family moved here in about 1937 or 1938. I remember the first time I saw any of the Thurman kids. My cousin Evelyn and I were visiting with Bit up at Cousin Jessie McNair’s house on the depot street.
We were all sitting there on the porch when we saw this girl and two little boys walking down the railroad tracks about seventy-five or hundred yards from us. Bit or Evelyn one said, “That’s Freida Thurman.”
It was Freida and two of her brothers, Mason “Sam” and Dennis “Boots”. All of a sudden Little Watson Higgins, Junior Seal and George Jordan came out from some bushes along the tracks and jumped on Freida. She fought those boys with her fists and whipped all three of those boys! We laughed and clapped as we watched her whip those boys.
Freida played basketball and softball in high school and played as well as any of the boys. If she had had a chance like girls do today, she could have played for L.S.U., LA Tech, or any of the universities. After graduating from high school, Freida went to a business school down around Baton Rouge.
When I was attending L.S.U., I went to see her play on a girls’ softball team in a park off 3rd street in Baton Rouge. She was pitching and none of the girls on the other team could hit the ball. If that had been now days or in the past twenty years, her name would be known. She was the best woman athlete I’d ever seen.
Freida ended up living in Winnsboro, Louisiana. She married a Bonner.
The younger Thurman boys played in the early years of football in Sicily Island. Boots played the first year we had football, during his senior year. Following Boots was Cecil. Cecil went by several different nicknames, Sweet Pea, Education, and Edge.
After Cecil was Fay, who was known as T-Model. Both Cecil and Fay were great athletes. Their oldest brother, Ray, was nicknamed Burr Head.
|Monroe Morning World - 12/5/1954|
One day John McKeithen was here in town at John Hall’s café. He was the Public Service Commissioner at the time but would later become the governor of Louisiana. Some of us were up at the café talking to him. Something came up about the Thurmans and he said he believed that Ray “Burr Head” Thurman was the best high school athlete he had ever seen.
John McKeithen had played basketball with Ray in high school over around Grayson in Caldwell Parish, Louisiana. Every one of those Thurman boys were good athletes. I saw the two younger boys play football in high school and they were good.
When Rastus and Annie Thurman first moved to Sicily Island, Rastus went to work at the sawmill. The two oldest children, Ray and Dinah, stayed in Caldwell Parish with an aunt or some of their kinfolks so that they could finish high school at Grayson.
One of their brothers, Billy [Ventris Rechiel], died when he was just a young boy. Another brother, Dinky [Edsel] was about a year older than Freida. He married Jo Anne Denham. There was another brother named Tony [Floy] who was born after Freida.
Note: Parts 1-60 of 'The Stories That Should Be Told' can be found in the Tags List on the right-hand side of this blog.