"I really would like it if you don't see any other boys," he said.
One year later, they were wed.
One night, as they snuggled at the drive-in, Fred whispered, "There's one thing I haven't told you."
Charlene's heart sank.
Oh my God, she thought, he's going to tell me he's been married.
"What is it?" she asked.
"I've been drafted by the Baltimore Colts."
Early on, the match had its skeptics.
"Fred's daddy was worried about me," Charlene said. "He said, 'Fred David, she's too little. She's not going to get you any boys."
Charlene's father wondered about Fred's prospects.
"You're not going to do 'poor' well," Chester Coco warned his daughter.
Charlene's mother worried they might starve, for other reasons.
"I knew how to make two things — fudge and fig preserves," Charlene said. "Momma would say, 'Fred, I hope you like water, because you'll be getting a lot of it.' "
They were eager to marry, but Fred had promised his mother that he would wait until finishing college. On Jan. 29, 1963, he graduated from LSU with a degree in forestry. Four days later, he and Charlene were wed.
Fred's family was Baptist; Charlene was Catholic. Fred's favorite aunt wouldn't set foot in the church in Marksville, or attend the reception, because booze was served.
More than 600 people attended the wedding, including the governor of Louisiana, and then dined on roast pig and all the trimmings. Fred enjoyed none of the repast, a fact that still sticks in his craw.
"Everyone else was drinking and eating and dancing and singing, and there I was, standing in the reception line, giving hugs and kisses to every old lady in town," he said. "I shook hands 'til I was plumb wore out. Then they took pictures, and did the thing with the cake, and we left. Never got one drink of champagne.
"As a matter of fact, they put two bottles of champagne in our car, and when we stopped to get gas, one of them fell out and broke."
The honeymoon, in Biloxi, Miss., was underwhelming.