When Freeman was a little girl, she and her family lived on Ferry Street in Metropolis near the river. She says they actually lived where the Harrah's Casino parking lot is, up on the hill.
Freeman said her mother and father would make trips up and down the river and would travel by houseboat. When her mother and father got tired of fishing in one place, they would pull up stakes and travel the river in search of a new location.
Freeman explained how her parents had made two trips to Louisiana. Throughout her childhood she can recall her parents being gone about two years at a time and how they had different houseboats at different times.
According to Freeman, she was 13 when she left Metropolis. "That was my last time to live up here in that house," she said.
She moved to Luxora, Arkansas and got married at about age 15, and she and her husband stayed on the boat for about another year before around the age of 16 she left the houseboat. She and her husband made a trip with her parents to Louisiana and after that trip her parents went back to Memphis, sold their boat and moved back to Metropolis.
On another one of her parents' trips down the river, they made a stop in Memphis. It was on that stop in Nonconnah Creek, below Memphis that Freeman said her parents met Ann and Harlan Hubbard. Harlan Hubbard went on to write a book called Shanty Boat: A River Way of Life.
Hubbard's book is about his eight-year journey on a shanty boat from Brent, Ohio to New Orleans, Louisiana. In his book he writes about his meeting with Henry Story and his wife, Lou.
It was author Lois Lenski who came upon the book Shanty Boat and read about Hubbard's meeting with the Storys and with Hubbard's help, she went on to locate the Story family at O'Donald Bend, near Luxora, Arkansas in the summer of 1954.
Lenski went on to write a fiction book titled Houseboat Girl, which is loosely based on the Story family: Henry and Lou and their children Peggy, Irene, Pete and Debbie. For six weeks, Lenski writes in her book she was able to stay in Luxora with the Storys and ate meals with the family. "I ate meals with the family, went out on the river with the children in their johnboats, took notes and made many sketches, helped to sell fish to the cotton pickers and learned by firsthand experience all the intricacies of trotline and hoop-net fishing ... I learned not only to know the Story family, but to love and admire them as well."
Freeman said she was bout 10 years old and was on the houseboat when Lenski wrote the book. "Everything in there is not true," said Freeman, saying that Lenski made up some things to make it more interesting. "But basically, it's about our lives on the river."
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