Two happy cruisers — Freda and James Parker enjoyed a Caribbean cruise to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary and Freda’s 75th birthday.

Two happy cruisers — Freda and James Parker enjoyed a Caribbean cruise to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary and Freda’s 75th birthday. (Mike South)

A Tribute to Freda Parker

When David B. South and his son, D.J., invited Freda to come in for an interview for a writer’s position at the company, she had never heard of a Monolithic Dome. In fact, she and her then fiancé James Parker drove to Italy, Texas to tour the Monolithic property and take a closer look at the unusual round buildings along I-35. Little did she know that over the next dozen years, she would become a true expert on the topic.

In 1998, Freda was hired to write articles for the Roundup Magazine. In the ensuing years, most of her articles were put online as the magazine went digital. Today, she continues to write for the website, updating readers from around the world on the latest news in the Monolithic Dome industry.

Freda is also the author of David South’s biography, “Think Round.” She is the one who had to sift through three boxes of personal journals that David had kept over the years, and then sit down with him for many in-depth interviews. The result is a book that chronicles the life and accomplishments of Monolithic’s founder.

Freda also wrote “Dome Living,” and edited Dr. Arnold Wilson’s book, Practical Design of Concrete Shells, as well as the “R Fairytale.”

When Freda took her first writing class in California more than four decades ago, she had no idea that she would one day become an author and make her living as a writer. In fact, she only took the writing class because the child psychology class that she had planned to take was full, and her only other choice was a class called: Advanced Tailoring.

“I felt like I knew everything I needed to know about sewing, so I thought, I’ll take creative writing,” Freda recalled in an interview recently. “I always liked to write, but I never thought I’d do it professionally.”

As it turned out, her professor wanted every student in the class to get published, and Freda actually sold a story to a national magazine called Modern Romances. The $250 that she received for the piece was a large sum for her at the time, and it marked the beginning of her professional writing career. She spent the $250 on a new, electric typewriter.

She continued to freelance from her home in California throughout her long marriage to Jack Grones, raising their two children. Later, they moved to Northern Nevada where she continued to write. After Jack passed away in 1993, she moved to Texas, and has called the Lone Star State home ever since.

Freda met her current husband, James, at an AARP group called WPS, or Widowed Persons Services. While neither was looking for a spouse at the time, romance bloomed and they will soon celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary by going on a cruise.

When they’re not busy traveling or enjoying outings with friends, Freda and James work on theater productions for a group they founded called “Stage Hams.” Freda writes all the productions, and the group does their own directing, producing and casting.

As for her writing career, Freda has no plans to retire. She’s having far too much fun to do that. Says Freda: “I can’t believe I’m so lucky. I don’t see how anyone can have a better job than what I have?”