Dr. Freddie made a deep impression

By Mary Frances Shuler Johnson ('48)

Otto Frederikson

Dr. Otto Frederikson, or "Dr. Freddie" as we called him, was a short, stocky man who loved teaching young women. He had a good, strong voice, and he made a deep impression upon me. Especially since he told us that it was important that marriage occur within five years of graduation or we would end up old maids.

Well, I barely made it! I graduated in June 1948 and got married in November 1953, but I did meet my future husband within the five-year time frame. Thanks to Dr. Freddie for warning us or I could have become an "old maid". I guess I learned that in sociology class. In economics class, I learned the importance of living within one’s income, and that has guided me all my life. I have always been creative and able to manage without numerous trips to the store.

I also remember Dr. Freddie taking our class from Reed Hall [now Keezell Hall] over to Alumni Hall near "the Rock" to listen to the big radio in the reception room when President Franklin D. Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945, in Warm Springs, Ga. Dr. Freddie never told us any of the gossip about President Roosevelt that we would certainly hear on television these days. He showed great respect for the president as we all sat in mourning listening to the news of the circumstances of his death without mention of his mistress.

Dr. Frederikson was a wonderful teacher, and he sponsored the International Relations Club of which I was a member. I am proud there is a building on campus — Frederikson Hall — named in his honor. He was dedicated to teaching and did not flirt with us.

I was a home economics major, and wish I could remember something exciting about a home economics instructor. I do remember that Bernice Reaney Varner was on crutches a longtime after she fell in a grease pit at a garage. I also remember President Duke and his wife were guests for dinner at the Home Management House and Mrs. Duke lost a filling because the chocolate sauce I made for the homemade ice cream was very stiff and hard. I was embarrassed, and I’m certain it must have been embarrassing for my teacher, Mrs. Pearle Moody, as well.