Warren Phipps life story
GROWING UP POOR: Warren Franklin Phipps, was born on June 26, 1935 in Boulder, Colorado. His mother was my Aunt Dorothy -- my father's younger sister. Warren is four years older than I am. About 1948 my father purchased a 1936 Plymouth and our family began making trips from Loveland, Colorado to the San Luis Valley to visit our cousins. They lived half a mile from Crestone, Colorado toward Crestone Peak, on the up-hill-side of this small-town. We would drive almost 250 miles to visit them, then drive back a couple of days later. A good part of this trip was through mountainous country. The San Luis Valley is a huge, dry ocean lake bed at 7,000 feet in Southern Colorado.
The youngest of Warren's brothers and sisters was Valerie born on February 15, 1948. She was a toddler when we began making our trips to see our cousins. Warren grew up in a family with four sisters and seven brothers. Of the twelve of them as I write this in 2010, seven are still living. Helen Marie, the oldest, was born May 4, 1931. She told me in 1994 that she had been taking care of little kids for her entire life.
Warren has given me permission to do his biography. He has given me an incredible amount of information about him and his family and has contributed many pages. Gerald Phipps is Warren's next youngest brother, and part of his story is also included. Warren and Gerald are both 'beyond terrific' in my not-so-humble opinion, and I am very proud to have them as cousins. They were this way when I knew them before 1950, and still are now. Both of them are dedicated family men whose marriages have lasted and who have been loyal and loving in raising their children - not that making a marriage last or raising children is a necessary criteria, but it is more than I have done.
Gerald told me on the phone in 2005 that he thinks his own children had it too easy. He says that if they had it even a little bit harder when they were younger, they would appreciate what they have more now.
The youngest sister who is still alive is Lilly and she has had an extremely rough life -- unbelievably difficult. Lilly's 'strength' has always come from her mother's spirituality, which Dorothy taught to her every day when she was a child. Lilly told me this and has shown me in many ways. Warren's sister, Gloria told me the same thing a few years ago.
MY SECOND BIRTHDAY -- written by Warren
"I remember my second birthday as well as my twelfth. 'Ha!'you say, "No one can remember that far back.' Well, perhaps you would had yours been as dramatic as mine. It started out to be a normal day, or at least to me what was normal. I really hadn't been around long enough to determine just exactly what normal meant, but I wasn't complaining. Everything was exciting to me and I just took things all in stride, thinking it was meant to be, whatever the event.
WARREN'S CHILDHOOD: The children had many encounters with wild animals. He says his dad once killed a deer and the family was in their home having a good dinner after the meat was cooked. A mountain lion put his nose in the window—all of them saw it. His Dad went outside and tried to kill it but it had gone.
The boys all had chores and helped their parents bring in water and chop wood. Warren says it was work-work-work for all of them. Their mother made many of their clothes on an old, pedal sewing machine which she oiled and serviced. We have pictures of Gerald when he was about eleven wearing the clothes his mother had just completed.
In their main house the family burned wood in a pot-bellied iron stove (they had no electricity or running water inside). As the family got larger, the older boys built a couple of small buildings close to the main house so they would have room for sleeping. I saw these many times when we visited and it never occurred to me that these had no heat. They used materials that were available and this included tin-cans they had flattened, which they used to shingle the roofs. Charlie, Warren's oldest brother, bragged to me in 1996 about the tin roofs on those little buildings still being in good condition this many years later. Warren tells me now that sometimes snow blew in through the cracks as they were sleeping, but as long as they stayed under the covers they were warm. They would get up and run inside the main house in the morning to get dressed. Dorothy was always ready with a good fire.
The children walked the half-mile to school and back, normally an easy walk but requiring a great deal of effort when there was deep snow. Later, the Crestone and Moffat Schools were consolidated by the county and they all took the school bus into Moffat, riding twelve miles each way. Warren says there were a lot of stops and it was a crowded bus. The population of Crestone was about a hundred and thirty when they moved there and was “about the same when the family moved to Arkansas later in 1955. I recently asked Warren if the hundred and thirty included the fourteen of them or not. He says he's not sure (I think it did).
Warren says that Crestone didn't have a regular church but people would come through and hold revival services. Dorothy read the Bible to her children every night. Their mother also told them "don't ever give up, always keep praying because God hears you and cares." In the last twenty years I have especially noted that every one of my cousins is spiritual. As their small-town didn't have a regular church, I think this shows their mother's influence.
OUR COUSINS BEGAN TO COME NORTH TO VISIT US AND WORK: In 1948 Warren's oldest brother Charlie came to the Loveland area and worked for my parents' long-time friends, the Toy Wilsons (Charles Wilson Jr. and his wife Iva). As my parents sometimes drove back and forth to Crestone to visit, now Charles would drive back and forth too, often giving us rides. On one trip when I was ten I developed a song in my head about the San Luis Valley and I would sing it to my cousins. I copyrighted it in 1998.
About this time Helen Marie had a job as a live-in housekeeper and child-sitter for a family north of us in Ft. Collins. She stayed with us at times and went to Campion for a year, taking her ninth grade when she was twenty-one. She had long red hair and I thought she was really beautiful (we have pictures - she was gorgeous!). Warren had red hair too as did their youngest brother Dale. Years later all of them had very dark, almost black hair. When I reminded them of their red hair in the 1990's (40 years later), they didn't seem to remember it.
Weston Phipps, one of Warren's older brothers: In the early 1950's Weston worked for our Uncle Maurice in Encampment, Wyoming along with my brother, Kent Stenberg. Maurice had a homestead that his father helped him take out in 1915 when Maurice was fifteen, and he also had a timber business which he started in the 1930's (or possibly before). Maurice's wife, our Aunt Ellen (mother's sister) cooked for the men who worked for her husband, several of whom lived in their large two-story house. The house also had an unfinished basement and the freezer was down-stairs. Ellen did laundry for all, sewed, cleaned house, kept a full garden and had two meals on the table for seven or eight people, every day of the week.
My brother Kent spent summers with them starting in 1948 and was there for nine years just during the summers. He worked helping Ellen the first year and then worked for Maurice after that. When he was twelve he was driving tractor breaking up raw land. He tells me in really scary detail how he would get bored being out in the field by himself all day, so he would get off and let the tractor run free. Then he would run to catch it, having to cross in the path of the rotating plow. A few years later Maurice let Kent work in the mountains with the men, and he loaded and hauled lumber. One evening when he was almost seventeen his was the last truck off the hill and found he had no brakes. He had the expertise and supplies to fix them. He brought the load down safely. A year prior to this he had built his own hot-rod at Campion using parts from cars he salvaged and brought down from Encampment. Maurice was paralyzed in a timber accident in 1964 and was a quadriplegic for the rest of his life. Ellen took care of him at home for seventeen years until his death in December of 1980.
TRIPS WE MADE TO VISIT OUR COUSINS STARTING IN 1948: I remember the first trip we made to the San Luis Valley to visit our Phipps cousins. I was a social idiot in those days and even through my high school years. I told silly stories and the whole group listened and were a terrific audience. My Aunt Dot let me know, "That was really a good story" - all for something very foolish I hadn't even thought out in advance (I still remember the story). I noted they didn't have a telephone or a cow or a piano like we did, but sometimes they did have chickens.
Once when our family visited them from Loveland, all of us kids got in someone's truck and went down to the sand dunes. We ran up and then tumbled back down the beautiful Dunes all day. Oliver had given me a couple of silver nuggets which were the size of his thumb (quite large). I lost them out of my trousers pocket and when I told Uncle Rusty at the end of the day, he said someone would find them some day and think the sand dunes had silver. This was funny to all of us and pacified me a bit in losing my treasures (I still wish I had those beautiful nuggets). Warren tells me now, that he and Gerald had made leather bill-folds at school when they came and lived with our family at Campion (they were with us for two school years). Gerald had a five-dollar bill in his bill-fold and lost it at the Dunes the same day. Warren says he kept his bill-fold and eventually wore it out.
For all my issues which surfaced later in my life -- how the church brainwashed us and how the little-kid bullying bled the passion out of us, taught us to accept being dis-respected, and then we ourselves became bullies; at least our education did give us crafts like this. Mother (Polly Stenberg) found many other things to keep us busy too, and we had the up-to-date library in Loveland, and the Bookmobile. I don't think Warren's brothers and sisters had anything like this. I do remember all of them played checkers and were experts. Today Vern and Lee both play guitar very well, and I think both learned as teen-agers without a teacher.
One time we all went up toward Crestone Peak and I helped my young cousins dig a small tunnel six or seven feet into the side of a canyon beside the road. This was very easy in soft, sandy soil. They let me know later that one of the miners came along and dynamited it to fill it in. On one of our last trips, a bunch of us drove down a mile or so past Crestone to visit Weston at his job. He was the only one in the family who was employed at that time. We came inside a big work-room and Weston saw us and came across the floor with a power sander, letting it run and threatening us all in a kidding way. But he didn't act like he was kidding and it was a powerful tool. Warren says the place where Weston was employed as a carpenter was owned by Lewis Maria Baca Grand and was part of a Spanish Land Grant going all the way back to the 1500's. It covered a twelve square mile area between Crestone and all the way down to the sand dunes. My mother had brought along two big pans of macaroni and cheese that she had baked at home in Loveland. All of us made a meal of it and she let me know later that the money Weston was earning was all the family had to buy food, and that if she hadn't brought the two big pans of macaroni, none of us would have had any food while we were there.
Afterwards at home when I was having a good time going on and on about the trip we had just finished, Mother took me aside and spent quite a few minutes letting me know this family didn't have money for basic needs because their father didn't support them. She made certain I understood. I remember I was twelve. My bubble was burst. She didn't tell me other things she may or may not have known - that Oliver and Dorothy owned the property they lived on and that Oliver had mining interests. Warren let me know a lot more about this many years later when he and I started talking.
Warren writes: "Our Dad was overly protective, a bad mistake on his part which caused most of his children to hate him. I didn't hate him because I understood him. He and I communicated quite well. He often told me of his dreams to someday buy a farm so we could raise most of what we ate and not have to be so dependent on everyone else for our livelihood. His mines, we both believed would eventually supply the money for that, as we did have very good possibilities of such and had the high grade minerals and very rich deposits of uranium ores which at that time were very valuable."
From what my brother Kent says about his conversations with Warren recently, Warren didn't realize things were so bad during the 1930's, as poverty was pretty much taken for granted by everyone he knew. Even a few years before this period of time, many people lived this way, and some still do in remote areas of the U. S. I note that our United States has been de-evolving for some time now. In the 1930's and 1940's it was evolving - people were trying.
Helen told me in 1994 that their father, Oliver, smoked and money for tobacco was the priority. The usual fare was that each family member got a pancake for breakfast and a pancake for supper - unless money was tighter than usual and then they got only one pancake a day. Their syrup was a sugar mixture. Warren told me recently that this is true but the situation was only this bad for about six or seven months. He and his brothers would work in their neighbor's yards during this time and get paid a quarter. They used this to buy pancake flour. Oliver had worked in the mines since he was about thirteen years old and had mining claims he staked later in the Crestone Mountains. Along with these possible riches came mining partners and wanna-be partners. Warren wrote a thirty-page story a few years ago in which he tells how he and his brothers stood beside their Dad when the partners and hangers-on tried to muscle in. The problems were on-going and guns were involved. Oliver's family would have been in even greater danger without them. A lot of people thought they were going to get rich from Oliver's efforts.
Warren writes; "The thing that nobody understood about Dad was that he was a very sick man. He did not look unhealthy so everyone thought he was lazy and didn't support his family. But the truth, which was unknown to almost everyone, was that he couldn't support them. He had miner's consumption, or silicosis, which is another term for the same thing. His lungs were almost completely full of rock dust and coal dust from working in mines since he was thirteen years old. Also, before he ever married my mother, he was in a mine cave-in and everyone thought he was dead. They took him to the morgue after the doctors had pronounced him legally dead. He was conscious and could hear everything that was being said but he couldn't move a muscle anywhere. He told me, "That was a horrible experience." And to realize (while you were helpless) that you were going to be buried alive. I'm sure would be a very terrible thought! His chest was crushed and his ribs were broken and pushed all the way back to his back bone. In those days there was no way anyone could do anything for a problem like that. But Dad just kept trying to move or say something until he finally managed to wiggle one eyelash just as one guy turned his way and miraculously caught the movement (one chance in how many million?). The man shouted, "This guy is still alive!"
Dad was immediately taken to emergency care and worked with until he finally came around. But they could not fix his ribs and just let him heal the best he could. He lived the rest of his life with not enough room for his lungs to expand, even if they could have gotten enough air to breathe right otherwise. It also crowded his heart to the point it could hardly beat, but somehow it kept him going for many years after that. But he was very uncomfortable with the condition, even to the point of panic sometimes because he could never get enough air into his lungs to be comfortable. He was tough - I'll have to give him that much. I put my fist into the cavity of his chest one time, and tried to measure the distance between my fist and the outside of his back to my other hand. I'm telling you the truth, there couldn't have been more than two inches between my hands.
Dad worked in the mines for many years after that and I remember many times he would have to come home and recuperate for a few weeks, and sometimes a month or two, and then he would hitch-hike back to another mine somewhere and work as long as he could stand it. This went on for years until it finally got to where he couldn't do it any longer. So then he went and staked a lot of mining claims on his own. These were open pit mines and he was not underground breathing more of the rock dust that was so unmercifully killing him by degrees. The trauma finally weakened his heart so that it seemed it would stop beating any moment. One night while I was sitting up with him, his heart did stop. I beat on his chest with my fists so hard it started beating again. The mining claims that Dad owned could have been a very good thing for us. But numerous times when they were on the very edge of a break-through of paying off big, something always happened to prevent it at the very last minute. Only one time did we ever get enough money in a large enough sum to do us any good at all. That was when Dad got several thousand dollars in a lump sum and made the down payment on the place in Arkansas. We still have the place and it is in a Family Trust.
My Dad was extremely overly protective of us all as I said earlier, but I stood up to him and I believe he actually respected me for it. One time I told him I was going to go get a job driving a truck long distance. He didn't want me to go because (I guess) he was afraid I would never return and he didn't want to lose me. So he said, "Oh, you can't do that, you have to have special training to drive one of those Big Rigs!" I was rather put out about it and snapped back. "Oh yeah, don't tell me I can't, you just watch me!" I went and landed a job driving a semi rig for Ashton Truck Lines out of Monte Vista, Colorado. I drove truck a lot after that and whenever I told Dad I was going to do something, he just said, "Okay, whatever you feel you need to do.
Jobs were hard to come by in the 1930's and even in the 1940's. Compare the necessity to survive with forty and fifty years before (very similar) as homesteaders lived off the produce of their land. Dorothy and Oliver took care of their growing family the same way other people had done for decades, both in good times and lean. Large families meant there would be more hands to do the work."
Warren and Gerald at Campion - Fall of 1950 to Late-Spring of 1952: In 1950 when Warren was fourteen and Gerald was thirteen, the two of them came and lived with my parents at Campion so they could go to school. My brother, Kent, was twelve and the three of them were in seventh grade together, then all were in the eighth grade during the next year. In this way both Warren and Gerald took their last two years of grade-school at a private school - gratis of my parents. In 1950 I think both Warren and Gerald did quite well under Mrs. Durham (Blanche Durham, our new teacher during these two years). Our grades five through eight were taught in the same room and there were fourteen or fifteen of us, also about the same number in the other room. I don't remember who taught the lower grades that year. It was a new teacher after Mrs. Jones left.
We have several pictures of Warren, Gerald and Kent during this time, all dressed up, ready to go to church. They are impressive, good-looking boys. The second year that our two cousins were here, there were seven boys and one girl in the eighth grade - quite a large class. I don't think Warren and Gerald had any strong competition for grades from their class-mates. Kent says the girls paid attention and the boys probably didn't, and Kent was dyslexic and had a lazy right eye - hence a slow-learner. Kent didn't realize that he was dyslexic until he was about forty. Although the teacher was thorough, she ruled by fear and attack. I wasn't the only one who got slapped around or knocked out of their seat. My brother, Kent, gives me many details now of all kinds of things he remembers that happened during these two years (I seem to have blocked a lot of it out of my mind). One thing my brother remembers is of Mrs. Durham running across the class-room to quickly close the blind, letting it fall with a big crash when she saw a bull in the field getting friendly with a cow. She said, "They're playing." This story shows the attitude of many adults in this small-town who thought they were doing the right thing by the way they handled factual information. These were the children of farmers or of teachers who worked at the Academy. I had seen our cow's first calf being born with Marjorie when we were both nine. That didn't mean I understood the basics. Mother carefully told me the facts of life when I was ten, but sex was very hushed up and considered to be bad in our community. Some of the grade-school boys said bad words and this left a negative impression. Sex was talked about between the girls as a rumor. I talked to my brother on the phone recently, confirming what I finally figured out - that our parents paid the vet to come do artificial insemination with our cows to get the new calves started.
A FULL HOUSE, NOW FULLER: We had a lot of people living at our house in the Fall of 1950 - my mother's mother, Ada Strickland (an invalid since 1916), Mother, Daddy, Kent, me, my Aunt Maudine when she wasn't working in Denver or San Diego, and now my two teen-age cousins - I think that makes eight of us. Oh, and Helen came and stayed with us at times. Even though she worked on the north side of Ft. Collins she would come down and visit, and she stayed a year at one time and went to the Academy as a Freshman when she was twenty-one.
Our big yellow house at Campion had three bedrooms and a south-facing sun-room where my Aunt Maudine usually stayed. Warren and Gerald climbed a ladder in a middle room, then slept on two beds in our attic - each beside the opening. Once my cousins came, my new sleeping place was on the back porch. The folks put up plastic screening on the windows of the three, outward-facing sides. It was the same temperature as outside, except now there was no wind. Mother would give me a hot rock for my feet when I went to bed and I was quite comfortable with a lot of covers. Warren would be up early in the morning and grind our breakfast wheat. I would hear him come out on the cold, back porch and would keep my head covered. It didn't bother me that the grinder was just a few feet away on this small back porch - I knew it was time to wake up. Underneath my bed was the finished opening in the floor over our cistern. Our parents paid to have 1,000 gallons of water delivered by truck when the cistern was empty.
During this time we made even more trips to the San Luis Valley to see our other cousins. Charlie (the boy's older brother) would take us back and forth, as he worked only eight miles from where we lived. I came home from church one Saturday and found Oliver sitting with Warren, Gerald, Kent and my folks, eating dinner at our table. Kent has told me since then about the arguments Oliver would have with our folks. I started to walk into the kitchen, say something to my folks and then walk out again. But I stopped, did a double-take, then went to hug my Uncle Rusty. I was very surprised to see him. He was always very cordial to me. I left our house immediately afterward, pre-occupied with whatever it was I was doing that Sabbath Day. I never did find out how Oliver made this trip or how long he stayed. I see now that I was carefully excluded from these conversations.
LOOKING BACK AT MYSELF: It is quite amazing to me in retrospect to look back on myself at age ten and remember what my priorities were. I had been boy-crazy for many years and now had an enormous crush on my handsome, red-headed cousin. It didn't get out of hand, thank God and thank Warren, but it wasn't for my lack of trying. Warren was a gentleman in all ways. Gerald too was all business (it seemed more so to me at the time - he was very serious). The two of them helped my folks with chores and made attending school and church their priority. I know they didn't cause my folks any problems.
THE THILL BOYS: We went to Harvest-In-Gathering that fall (an annual Adventist money-raising event) and met a family who lived a mile north of us as you go directly down the rail-road tracks toward Loveland. I was one of the two who knocked on their door and remember our initial conversation. Two of the family's sons were our age. We told their folks about our grade-school and they soon enrolled Donald and Leroy Thill with us. Donald was older than I was and Leroy was in my class. All of us were very mean to each other at that school, our bullying education under Mrs. Jones having enhanced and encouraged this negative behavior. I was definitely a part of this bullying. I mostly remember being the one who was bullied in the second and third grades, but then I became one of them. Our group all picked on another child together, and it didn't even seem wrong or mean. It was how we survived in that social structure.
Our whole group picked on the Thill boys. The two of them walked home together each afternoon going the mile down the rail-road tracks after school, and only had each other to back themselves up in case one of them had a problem. This was common for the times and not a concern for their parents, but there was the bullying situation at the grade-school. However, the bullies were basically cowards and wouldn't act on a situation unless there were several involved to give each other support. I have often thought about the Thill boys since then, how we invited them to come to a good Christian School and then were so incredibly mean to them. They never went to our high school later or came back in following years to the best of my knowledge. But Gerald remembers this differently. He says Donald Thill was one of his best friends.
Gerald's grammar: Gerald says his English was always bad. He came home one day and left a note for my mother that said, "We have came home and went swimming." He laughs about this now. He says Kent was always correcting his English. There was a large irrigation ditch running about a quarter mile south-west of the grade school. The water was turned on in the spring and turned off in the fall. In the back of the Johnson's place we had a swimming hole where a drainage pipe joined the ditch - it was about seven feet deep there. The water got shallow again about thirty feet down-stream. There was a bridge just above this with a water-fall under the bridge. Gerald says that Donald Thill jumped off the bridge into deep water and panicked because he couldn't swim very well. Gerald helped him to shallow water and Donald was very grateful to his friend.
Kent tells me more about this swimming hole at the Johnson's - the family across from Ray Enoch's place (Raymond was our classmate for over ten years and is still our friend). Kent says that Marjorie Roman would ride her horse up to the Johnson's and the horse was more like a pet. "Sally" would watch the kids jumping off the bridge into deep water, and she finally came over and jumped in herself. It developed to where four or five kids would get on the horse and ride when the horse jumped in, with all of them on board. Sometimes when they were all swimming, Sally would come and jump in by herself. Someone would yell, "Here comes Sally!" and they would all get out of the way. I asked Gerald about this on the phone and he doesn't remember it or it happened at a different time. I don't remember it either. It is Kent's story. But I certainly remember the swimming hole - it was a great place. Mother would walk up with me and spend the day.
THE BEET DUMP: I think the beet dump I knew was the second one - my brother says it had been rebuilt. It was only a quarter mile west of our house and sat beside the rail-road tracks and another set of side-rails. I remember trucks driving up and dumping their beets in a freight car on the side-rails when I was a little kid. This stopped sometime during the 'Forties. I don't know when the first beet-dump was built but Oliver Furman says in his biography that it had been there in the 1920's. I don't know exactly when the beet-dump was taken down. I left for college in 1957 and it was still in good shape in 1960, the one summer I came home. It was gone in 1969 when I came back for my father's funeral.
WARREN AND KENNY JOE CLARK: One day in late 1950 when I was ten, I was home after school. I remember there was a lot of snow on the ground and Warren came in with an enormous amount of blood on his face and clothing, his nose still bleeding profusely. He said very little but came to the kitchen sink and began pumping water and splashing it on his face. I was really concerned. Whatever answers he gave me were very short - he was preoccupied with cleaning his face and getting the bleeding stopped. It was pretty obvious what had happened. Kent and Gerald showed up a little bit later. They hadn't been in the fight. I didn't know anything more about this until I asked Warren a couple of years ago. He told me who he fought then and when I asked him again recently, he gave me more of the story.
Warren, Gerald, Kent and Jerry Powell (all seventh graders) were in the field on the way home from school, and there were "a lot of high-school guys" up on the beet dump. They started throwing snow balls down at the four so Warren picked up some snow and peppered them back. When the high-school group came down from the beet dump and ran over to where he was, Warren says that Gerald, Kent and Jerry had the good sense to leave the area and head for our house. He doesn't think they even looked back, assuming he was coming too. He says he was very mad because "all those guys were picking on JUST US FOUR." He stood his ground - he says he never did have any sense. One of the boys, Kenny Joe Clark, grabbed him, spun him around and hit him in the mouth. "Oh, a big brave tough guy, huh?" Warren said. His nose began bleeding really badly but he returned the blow to the mouth. Then Kenny started throwing punches so fast Warren couldn't dodge them. Unknown to Warren, Kenny was a champion boxer.
Warren decided he was going to have to change his strategy because he was being hit about three times to every one or two punches he threw. He quickly hooked one leg behind both of Kenny's and gave him a hefty shove. Kenny went down fast and Warren straddled him and began hitting with both fists, letting the blood from his nose come down all over Kenny's face. Kenny began yelling, "Pull him off, pull him off, he's killing me!" Three "big tall guys" grabbed Warren and held him at arm's length. Warren says he guesses he really did lose his cool, and it was probably a good thing they pulled him off because he was really enjoying what he was doing. Warren now went to kicking them all and pounding with his fists, elbows, knees and head. He says they couldn't turn him loose fast enough. One of them shouted, "That guy's crazy mad," and they ran, with Warren right behind them. They came to a barbed-wire fence they had to crawl through (I remember the fence very well) and Warren caught them. When he got through the fence himself, he made a grab for Kenny Joe again. They prevented him and Kenny got away (again). Then Warren yelled after them, "This ain't over, you jerks!" All this time his nose was bleeding profusely.
A day after the fight Kenny Joe showed up at our house and told Warren, "You've got to clean my suit," regarding the blood stains that wouldn't come out of his jacket. Warren said, "Oh no, you didn't win. We'll work this out again - let's settle it now." Kenny didn't want to fight so Warren persisted. "We can settle this now and if you win, I'll get your jacket cleaned." Kenny wouldn't fight him again and let it go. The next day in grade-school Warren asked his little sister Jeanne if she was mad that Warren had whipped her brother. She said, "No, it serves him right."
A few days later Warren says that Aunt Polly and Uncle Clarence invited the Souths over for dinner and he recognized Larry South as one of the guys that had been at the beet dump. "Hey you," he said, "you were one of those guys at the beet dump. You got any complaints or anything to say about what happened?" Oh, no, no," Larry said, "I'm neutral, I was just there is all."
I was surprised to know who Warren had fought. Of course, I remembered Kenny Clark. He was a Freshman at the academy at the time. His little sister Jeanne was my class-mate for five or more years. Their older sister Shirley won the Amateur Hour event at the academy in 1953 with an accordion solo. I often spent time at their house hanging out with the two of them and listening to Shirley practice. Kenny Joe had a sort of sour, non-communicative attitude whenever I would see him. Jeanne and I still keep in touch through our Christmas letters. I had some very warm letters from her about seven or eight years ago and wrote her back. Neither one of us has ever mentioned this incident - then or since. In 2006 and again in 2007 I saw Shirley Clark at about the same time and place - at the Annual Reunion back at Campion. Both meetings were late on a Saturday afternoon and very brief, very much by chance. She was 'all smiles' each time.
Warren's Life after Campion: Warren and Gerald graduated from eighth grade with Kent in May of 1952. Campion always had a nice event for the graduates and we have pictures of the three of them in their graduation exercises. Then our two cousins went back to Crestone. I write more about Campion here.
MY COUSINS MOVED TO ARKANSAS: In 1954 when I was fourteen, I learned that Oliver and the family were moving to Arkansas. I was quite heart-broken as this meant I wouldn't get to see my cousins anymore. In 1955 Oliver and Dorothy and family (all except Helen) moved to their new home in Arkansas, a farm and timberland that was over 182 acres. Thanks to Vern, Warren, Gerald and Lee, part of this property is still in the family. These four brothers and the next generation have helped immensely. They call it Haven's Rest. I visited it in 1998. It is beautiful Arkansas acreage layered on several major ridges of rolling hills. Warren's younger brother Vern (Lavern) Phipps and his wife, Barbara, have lived there since 1998 and have invested many thousands of their own dollars making improvements. Besides this, they have made the property welcome to the entire family.
HELEN MARIE: Helen told me in later years that Oliver had kept his family isolated from outsiders. She had friends in town who helped her when she 'escaped' from her parent's house at about age seventeen. She told me in 1994 that she "just had to leave." Although this was extremely stressful for Helen, and the trauma of how she was raised followed her during her lifetime, it is not uncommon for a family to break up in some similar way as the children become mature. The alpha kicks some of the siblings out. Helen turned to our parents at that time and was desperate.
Years later when Helen was about sixty, she had open-heart surgery and a pace-maker was put in her chest. Then she moved from Reno to be with Warren at Chama, New Mexico. She rented the house next door to Warren and his wife, and was employed in their pizza business. She would fly back and forth to Reno to visit her children and grandchildren, and I would meet her in Las Vegas for an hour or two during the layover between her two planes. We did this several times, plus I drove to Chama several times during the 1990's and visited all of them. In 1994 I was able to spend two very special private days with Helen when we drove back to Knowles, Oklahoma together for the family reunion. During the drive she told me many things about the family.
On February 4, 1996 Warren took Helen for medical care, driving seventeen miles before parking outside an Urgent Care Unit. She had been sick for about fourteen hours before this and died in his car in the parking lot before he could take her inside. Helen was my life-long friend. She was sixty-four and had always been close to her brothers and sisters. She loved them very much and loved her children and grandchildren.
Even before moving to Arkansas, the four oldest brothers had been hitch-hiking to find work so they could get money to send home to their folks. Warren says that between 1955 and 1957 this turned into a full-time obsession. Warren and two of his brothers drove their 1946 Chevy pick-up truck to Subblette, Kansas and got jobs working on grain elevators. The jobs didn't pay enough, or jobs ended, so Warren and Gerald went to Wisconsin. Warren worked for the Oconomowauk Canning Company in Waunakee, Wisconsin. Gerald stayed and got married later (he had already met Della), and Warren went to Denver. He worked awhile, then went to Crestone to help his Dad, who was still involved in mining projects. Warren tells me that he and Weston (who we later called Fred - Frederick Weston Phipps) went to California but didn't get work there, so they hitch-hiked to Reno, Nevada. They worked for Isbell Construction Company building highways and stayed with Bob and Helen (Helen Marie had married Bob Bishop).
After working in Reno, Warren went back to Arkansas. He was drafted into the Army on January 28, 1958 and went to Fort Sam in Houston, Texas for medical training. He got his high school equivalency GED while he was in the Army and served most of the next two years as a Medic, stationed at a hospital in Okinawa. He traveled overseas by ship on the General M. M. Patrick and came back by plane. On the way back his plane was laid over in Honolulu for three hours, but he wasn't allowed to get off. He tells me he was boiling mad at the time - not to be allowed to get a glimpse of beautiful Hawaii. When he was ready to be discharged, his unit arrived in Oakland, California, and the Army held them over until after Christmas and New Year's. Finally he was processed out of the service. He refers to this, saying he got out a month early on good behavior, but that's just something he likes to say. Although he was restless to get home once he was back in the U. S., he was able to pay fifty cents for a bus pass each day, and play tourist between Oakland and San Francisco. This was long before BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit).
Warren went home to Arkansas, then went to work at a hospital in Springdale, Arkansas. He wasn't making but a dollar an hour and his schedule was eight hours a day, five days a week with no overtime. He says he couldn't even support himself on that, much less a family (this was in 1960), and he had a family ready made, a big one. Warren says he quit a lot of jobs back then because they didn't pay enough. Good jobs were few and far between. He needed to make a good amount of money so he could send it back to his folks. Even if you found a good job you had to work ten or fifteen years at least before you started making enough money to do any good at all. I couldn't allow myself to get tied up like that. I had to have the money immediately if not sooner, or everyone would starve. The Lord knows they nearly did anyway.
Warren went to work at the Phipps Dude Ranch in Creed, Colorado in 1962. Gerald and Allen Phipps, Senator Lawrence C. Phipps' boys, owned the ranch at that time. Senator Phipps was his Dad's second cousin. Warren worked there from October 1962 until March of 1963. He got his mail delivered to the same mail box as the manager of the place and everyone thought he was just one of the main people because his name was Phipps. Warren says he stayed away from town as much as possible because he didn't want to put up with all the silly girls who knew he was single. They were all wanting to marry into the Phipps' wealth.
Warren writes: "After that was when I told Dad I was going to get a job driving a tractor-trailer rig, and I went to driving for Ashton Truck Lines out of Monte Vista, Colorado. I hauled sheep to the high country where they pastured all summer. The drivers had to take them up as high in the mountains as those big trucks could go, and believe me we took them high! Sometimes we took them farther than the roads went. I also hauled heavy equipment, hot road oil, cattle, feed and flour all over New Mexico, potatoes in Colorado and you name it, I hauled everything."During this time in Colorado Warren would start at 3:00 a.m., do his driving, then be back from his trip about 10:00 p.m. He would get his groceries and flour, come home and then go back at 3:00 a.m. the next morning. There was no relief driver and he wanted to make as much money as he could. He sprained his ankle and suddenly couldn't drive to make the next trip. His boss had made him haul heavy equipment and now he was only getting straight time. He hadn't been making all that much before and now it was like whatever money was there suddenly ran out. He quit and went to Fort Smith, Arkansas.
WARREN MET MARY: On his next job he was working at Fort Smith Rim and Bow where they made table tops and things like that. He went home to see his family - his folks' place was about ninety miles away. He met Mary Glosson who had come to spend a week with Warren's little sister, Gloria. Mary was 18, and Warren was 28. Later Gloria married Mary's brother, George Glosson.
Mary says they both loved each other and knew they wanted to marry. In August of 1965 they met again and got married on November 19, 1965 at the Central Assembly of God Church in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. Mary says she became a house-wife. She also became a ready-to-go-traveler as Warren says that in the coming years they LIVED EVERYWHERE. He couldn't send money to his folks anymore because it was all he could do to support Mary and himself, but he did send a couple hundred once in a while to "help save the farm from getting confiscated by vultures." They moved to Harrison, Arkansas where Warren worked for a gas pipeline and hauled pipe to the construction site. They rented a place to live.
On this job, his truck got loaded with pipe and he drove up to the construction site. Then a caterpillar would LET HIS TRUCK DOWN THE OTHER SIDE OF THE HILL WITH A LONG LINE! Warren didn't even tell Mary how dangerous this was. The job shut down at the end of the season and they drove to Ft. Smith, Arkansas (in February of 1966). In Fort Smith they stayed in Mary's folks' house, as her folks were away at the time.
LOSSES IN THE FAMILY: In 1962 Helen lost her little girl to pneumonia - her oldest, and her only daughter. I was just out of college a few months and went to Reno, meeting Kent and my mother for the funeral. Some of Helen and Warren's younger brothers came too. Helen had two more little boys at this time. Linnie was five. I was very glad I was able to be with Helen at this incredibly sad time and appreciated that my mother was there. 'Aunt Polly' was very supportive to Helen. My mother had lost her own first child in 1929 when she was twenty-three and her little boy was seventeen months old. Years later (in 1994) Helen told me her father told her that she lost Linnie because she had sinned. This was probably common thought for the times but it was very hard for Helen to hear this from her own father. It was just one more thing to push Helen farther away from her parents. Oliver and Dorothy had lost their own first child in 1930 before Helen was born. My brother's third child was born on April 10th of the next year (1963) and he named her Shannon Lynette, the middle name being given to remember Linnie.
In 1965 the entire Phipps family had an unbelievable tragedy. Warren's next to youngest brother Kenny (Kendell) took his own life on the family farm. He was twenty-two and had been released from the service to come help his mother. I was shocked to hear this news when I was twenty-six years old living in Los Angeles. My second cousin, Charles Young, has posted a heart-felt tribute to Kenny.
Warren writes: "When we moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas, I worked for Norge, which later became Whirlpool Refrigeration Company. Then in May of 1966, Mary and I went to California, Oregon and Washington where we picked cherries. Mary had picked cherries every summer for the last ten years so she already knew how to pick.Mary says Warren became a very good cherry picker, but they weren't making enough. They were in Stockton, California first, then in Dallas, Oregon later. Warren drove over to Bingen, Washington and got a job driving a log truck for SDS Lumber Company. He started work there in July 1966. Mary says they went to Portland, Oregon and bought an eight foot by thirty-five foot trailer. This was set up for them in the Spring Street Trailer Court in White Salmon, Washington and the rent was $25.00 a month. This included electricity, water, sewer and trash and free use of a wringer washer and clothes lines. It was a very good deal and now they had a home in a nice place and were comfortable. Warren drove the log truck until the middle of December when the logging stopped for the winter. Then he went in the plywood mill and worked there through the winter until the logging started up in the spring. The job lasted into August of the next year when all logging in the National Forest was shut down because of a severe drought. On January 16, 1967 Mary gave birth to their first child, Warren Franklin Phipps Jr. He arrived three weeks late but was healthy and kicking.
Warren's father, Oliver, was in the hospital in Poteau, Oklahoma and wasn't expected to live. Warren says Oliver hadn't taken care of himself over the years, and he and Mary made the long trip to see him. They couldn't take their baby in to visit him but he held Warren Jr. up to the window so Oliver could see his grandson. After getting back to Washington they received word that Oliver had died. They had already made one trip and weren't able to go back for the funeral. It was August of 1967 and no more jobs were available in Washington because of the drought. The trailer was packed up and they headed south to Arizona. They stopped in Flagstaff where Warren got a job hauling logs from the Kaibab Forest to Flagstaff. They were only there a month as the job wasn't a good one. Not only was the job not good, Warren wasn't getting paid except for completed loads and he had to wait too long to get unloaded. Also they had to go through some incredible weather. There were three feet of snow at first, then eight feet of snow! This was in Flagstaff in early September of 1967. They packed up the trailer again and started south to Phoenix.
I have driven down Highway 17 from Flagstaff to Sedona (I made this trip in the November of 1998 and had beautiful weather). I'm sure the road I traveled in 1998 had been re-done more than once since the road that Warren and Mary were starting to navigate together with their trailer and baby Warren. Highway 17 winds down, down, down, down, down—dropping from over 7,000 feet to about 2,200 feet before you come out just above Sedona. Mother Nature had a good time making this.
MARY'S PRAYER AND ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL BABY: Fifty miles south of Flagstaff was the very small town of Camp Verde, Arizona. Warren stopped there to check for a job just in case there might be one. While he was out, Mary says she was in the trailer with baby Warren praying. She did not want to live in Phoenix and begged God to provide them with a job before they got there. Warren came back and said that Woody Deal, the boss at the Arizona Gypsum Mine, was coming to the trailer to interview him. Woody came and Warren got the job. He started to work there in September of 1967. On May 25, 1968 Warren and Mary had another blessed event. Mary Margaret was born about thirty miles from Camp Verde in a hospital. Mary says that she was only one week late. Warren Jr. loved her from the moment he saw her.
Warren Sr. worked this job for fourteen months, but there was plenty of dust, and he knew what dust had done to his father's lungs. He worked for the Gypsum plant running heavy equipment for another fourteen months. Then the family moved to Colorado where Warren worked as a carpenter on a big bridge through the winter. They moved to Glenwood Springs, Colorado in December of 1968. A friend from Camp Verde was working at the gypsum plant and got the job for Warren. He now worked on a construction site building a bridge, which was an overpass bridge in Glenwood Springs where they were widening the road. They brought their trailer to Havel's Trailer Court, which was out in the country, not in a town at all, but the address was Carbondale, Colorado. Warren went job hunting and was hired at Portomix Cement Company. He now hauled and poured concrete.
Warren writes about BEAUTIFUL ASHCROFT, COLORADO: "I had had my eye on a job up at Ashcroft, Colorado that paid really good wages. This was because most people were deathly afraid of the mountain where we had to drive big, off-the-road trucks, hauling iron ore down to the rock crusher. The crusher was at 9000 feet of elevation. Our top quarry was 13,500 feet above sea level, and we dropped to nine thousand feet in six miles. There were switch-backs and the road was very narrow and steep when I first started working there. They did widen it over the years while I was working for them. It rained almost every day and the road got very slick. We used to see what long streaks we could make going down the mountain when it rained because you could not keep from sliding at least one or two wheels in the mud (my God, Warren!). If you kept at least one or two wheels on the back turning at all times, you could pretty well manage to keep the rig straight and not slide down the hill side-ways or backward. We had retarders on the back differential and Jake Brakes on the engines. If you lost your air pressure, you lost everything because brakes didn't dynamite back then like they do now when you lose air pressure. By that I mean the brakes didn't set up automatically and stop you, like they do now. I lost my air-pressure several times, but that's another story in itself.KEEPING UP WITH THE FAMILY: Warren would often take his family back to the yearly family reunion in Oklahoma or Arkansas. All the family kept in close touch with each other. They also kept in touch with my mother, Polly who always relayed the family's news to me. However, I was negligent and didn't start keeping in touch with my cousins again until the mid 1980's. My mother took a trip with Helen and Bob in their motor-home in 1979 and visited most of the family. In 1985 my Aunt Dorothy, Warren's mother, passed away. Valerie, Warren's youngest sister, died in 1987. Valerie is buried with Dorothy close to Centerville, Arkansas. Helen's ashes are with them too. The other members of the family who have passed on are with Oliver in Venus, Arkansas including Kenny who died at age twenty-two and Gloria and Dale who died in the late 2000's. Dorothy married again after Oliver died. Warren says that Pat Ewing, John A. Ewing, gave Dorothy's children some of her family pictures that were salvaged from many that had been ruined under a leaking roof. I'm fairly sure that Kent and I have matching pictures of the ones before 1952.
Warren writes - BACK TO OKLAHOMA: When we went back to Oklahoma in November of 1980, I got a job planting trees to kind of fill in for survival until I could get a better job - more 'pinch hitting.' It didn't pay much but that is where I landed the job driving for Red Devil. That was one of the most unlikely places to look for a job, or a job that I could feel was satisfactory, you might say. I hauled logs to Wright City, Oklahoma and to Nashville, Arkansas for a while. I think I did this three or four days a week as the mills were not taking logs on the other days. Then I would plant trees again the rest of the week. I got acquainted with a truck driver's wife who was also planting trees and she said her husband, who was a truck driver, was keeping his eye out for someone who could drive a big rig to New Jersey every week. So that's how I heard about Red Devil - a company based in New Jersey. I drove for them four years. My children were teenagers now. When I was 'lucky' I would drive from Oklahoma to New York via Union, New Jersey and come back three and a half days later. Then I would have four days off. However, I wasn't lucky all the time as my trips also took me to Saint Paul, Minnesota, to Chicago, Illinois, Houston and El Paso, Texas, and California. This was all before cell phones and these would be one week trips, sometimes going to New York by way of California on the same trip. I was paid by the trip and kept those miles rolling as much as possible. I was the first driver. The other driver didn't like it because I could tell him what to do and also could get him fired if he didn't comply. I was paid a $20 subsistence for food each day above my pay per mile. When the company decided to change things all around and make us drive seven days a week fifty-two weeks a year, I said, "Huh-uh! When that happens I'm getting off because I'm not going that route!" So the big change came and I left. But I had told them I was quitting as soon as they did that. It was a year before they did it and when they did, I quit.STARTING A PIZZA BUSINESS: Warren Jr. wanted to start a pizza business and his parents did this in Chama in 1988. That means they moved from Albion, Oklahoma. Warren Sr. traveled back and forth during this time until their Oklahoma home was sold. Warren and Mary bought a house in Chama just a block off the main street and started making pizza in their second building - a house they used for their garage later. After five years they moved their business to a store-front shop a mile south down Highway 85. Although Warren Jr. wanted this to be his own business, it turned out to be quite a bit more than full time for all three of them. Chama is a small-town and they did very well, but they also had to keep up with the pace of the demand. For nine years they only had Mondays off. As if this wasn't enough work for them, in 1993 they started a second pizza location in Cuba, New Mexico. Warren Jr. stayed in Cuba and Warren Sr. drove the 120 miles back and forth bringing supplies EVERY DAY EXCEPT MONDAYS - that's 240 miles each day. When he got to Cuba each day, he helped with everything Warren Jr. needed - including making pizza deliveries. Warren Jr. started getting work at the ski resorts during the winter and would try to drive home at night and help with the business. It was obviously too much and Warren Sr. and Mary ended up running both businesses. Helen came and worked with them full-time between 1991 and 1996. I visited them four times during the 1990's. The family sold both pizza businesses in 1997.
IF YOU GO TO CHAMA AS A TOURIST: Chama is on the Continental Divide in northern New Mexico at a little less than 8,000 feet - where Highway 85 meets Highway 17. Warren has told me about the times when he's been driving at night and hit a deer. There is a really neat tourist thing in this small-town, where Mario Andretti and his family retired during the 1990's. During the summer months you can pay a modest fee and take a train ride on a Thirty-Six-Inch Narrow Gauge Rail for a daily tour. Two engines couple together to pull the four or five passenger cars up over Cumbres Pass about six miles away heading north, and then down the far side of the mountain. Warren says there used to be three engines because there were so many riders on the train. There are not that many engines needed now - sometimes only one. A trestle burned down in 2010. Before they re-built it, buses would take the riders to the far side of the damaged bridge so tourists could still ride the train. Soon after they moved in 1988 Mary started working for the railroad in the summers. The failing economy hurt the railroad business in 2008, but she started working for them again recently, and you can still visit and ride the train.
I asked Warren recently about an incident I remembered that he talked about - a cougar going into the building across the street from their pizza business. He said, "No, it was a bear," and that it went into a taxidermist place across the street in broad-daylight. No one was there at the time. Then the woman who ran the place came in and she hollered and got people's attention. Soon the bear came across the street and went behind their pizza shop trying to get into their garbage. I thought that was pretty dangerous, but Warren said it wasn't - just interesting while it was going on.
After selling their two businesses Warren Sr. made a full time job of remodeling their house, expanding their rooms and putting a ladder up to their large attic - like my folks had done at our house in Campion a generation earlier, except that my folk's attic was much smaller. In their 'spare time' he and Mary often plant a garden, and they make trips.
During the early 1990's daughter Mary Margaret went to Vashon Island in Washington State for her first teaching assignment, teaching grade-school where she met Tony Garcia in church. He was a single parent with a four-year-old son and was working at a ski factory. A year later she brought Tony and Joey home to visit her folks. They were married soon after. At present Mary Margaret lives a few hours away from her folks, just past Colorado Springs, with Tony, Joey and their own three children, Christopher, Anthony and Christina.
Warren Jr. and his wife Kimberly live in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, and plan to go to Honduras, and then Hawaii. They were overseas as missionaries previously. On this next trip Warren Jr. will be teaching scuba diving. He is getting certified to teach before he goes.
This is most of what Warren Sr. did over the years to support his family. I thank him for his contributions here about his biography. He hasn't always been in good health but both he and Mary appear to be doing very well right now. I miss their dog, Cody, who died about ten years ago. Whenever I've visited them Mary has always made me welcome. Mary is the daughter of Lonnie Glosson, a well-known musician and entertainer in the western and mid-west states during the 1950's and 1960's. Warren says that he and his family often listened to Lonnie on the radio before he met Mary. A couple of things I'd like to add about Warren Sr., my wonderful cousin (he is wonderful)! Twice he has told me on the phone that he knew how to squeeze every penny "til Lincoln hollers." And I found out recently that he smoked at one time and quit. The third thing, the most important, I asked him to tell me how he and Mary raised their children, and how they passed on the importance of God in their lives. He told me he had God's help and that he and Mary had family worship in the morning and evening. Warren says their children never gave them any problem, and that he and Mary always made them feel important. The children always had a say in important things like 'Where are we taking a vacation this year?' They always knew they were important. As I talked to Warren this year, getting his permission to finally show what we are writing here, I mentioned that he was going to have a birthday in July. He said, "No, it's in four days." Then he said, "I quit having birthdays - they just make you old."
JUST A NOTE ABOUT GERALD, WARREN'S NEXT YOUNGEST BROTHER: Gerald stayed in Wisconsin in 1957 and married Della in 1958. They have three children and are blessed with grandchildren. Gerald says that in 1957 Oliver let them know about a job in Colorado that would pay big bucks. Warren left and said, "If you stay here, you're probably going to get in trouble with that girl (Della)." So Gerald says, "I guess I've been in trouble ever since." He has given me permission to quote him where I've mentioned his name. I really appreciate this as I don't wish to ever say anything about him or anyone else in the family that isn't appropriate. Della recently received her Master's Degree in Counseling and is now completing a two-year internship. She has had Gerald's full support. Gerald keeps in close touch with his brothers and sisters and often goes to the family reunion in Arkansas or Oklahoma. I saw him for a couple of days in 1996 and spent time with him then. We talk on the phone occasionally. We should do it more often. He has gone by Jerry for quite a few years, but we still call him Gerald. I am very proud to be his cousin.
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