She’s a wiry little woman, clipping along as if she’s late. Sometimes we meet
in a store or on the street, both grinning, our hands reaching out to shake. I
hold on to that tiny hand for a few extra moments so Katherine Warren won’t
get away. I remembered her from 50 years ago, when she sometimes walked four
miles to town, worked all day and then walked home!
Her husband, affectionately called “Boy,” worked for my dad. I’d often see
three or four of their boys shooting a basketball for hours at a time;
although they had no backboard, just a bare hoop on a light pole.
The Warren children were polite, intelligent and obedient. Katherine went back
to work after the younger ones reached school age. She has worked 44 years for
an attorney’s family, but now it’s just part of the time. “Sometimes I think
about giving it up,” she said. “I just work certain days.” I said that was
understandable -- Katherine is only 95 years old!
Lorene stopped in to visit her Mom, who had settled down in a comfortable
armchair that is just her shape. “Do you own this comfortable home?” I
asked. “Yes, I’ve been right here for 47 years.” I remembered that Boy sat
out on the screened front porch a lot, until his death when he was 92 years
old. “You two had 10 children?”
“No, 12, and they’re all good citizens,” she said, proudly. Lorene helped
her tell me the boys’ names, in order. “The first boy was Charles, then
Freddie, Lawrence, James (“J.C.”), Cecil, Harold (“Hal”), Ray and Woodson.
The girls are Frances, Lorene, Victoria and Marva Jo. Four sons served in the
Army, and four are morticians.
Harold owns Warren’s Funeral Chapel here and there’s a Warren Funeral Chapel
in Fulton, and one in Mexico, too. Ray owns Warren’s Yard and Tree Service
here and preaches at Mount Celestial Church. Three others are ministers. The
list goes on, but it is Harold who cashed in on shooting those baskets. He
made national headlines in “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” because he played
four years of basketball at Douglass High School, every minute of every ~game,
and never made a personal foul!
Harold is also a former city councilman and was recently appointed to the
committee to help select a police chief.
Eris Lytle, a brick mason, recently said, “Boy Warren was my mortar man, and
he carried such heavy loads that the steps sprung down with each step he
took.” He said Boy also could carry two bales of hay at the same time, back
when block balers made bales 120-130 pounds each.
“How did you and Boy raise such good citizens?” She stared at me intensely,
lips gripped tightly together, with a grim, silent message. I began to feel as
if I were the errant child, and I grinned a little. She suddenly jutted her
index finger out at me, still holding that grim, silent pose. Lorene broke the
spell. Pointing out the window she said, “See that tree? It used to have a
lot of long, low branches.” Message received.
Seriously, this 95-year-old mother topped it off by saying, “My Daddy taught
us, and we taught ours: If you see something that you didn’t make, you didn’t
buy it, and they didn’t give it to you~, it isn’t yours!” That’s why one of
the boys angrily reported, after his first day in a city school, “Poppa was
talking, and one of those city kids stole the food right off my plate!”