JUNE 14, 2014
Everybody who grew up around Louisa knew ‘Pee Wee’
LOUISA, Ky. — Chances are that if you grew up in Louisa or visited for any length of time you would recognize one of the city’s most beloved icons, James ‘Pee Wee’ Marcum, or just ‘Pee Wee’ to all of us who knew and loved him. Heck, most of us didn’t know he had a first or last name. He was just Pee Wee to everyone in town.
Without even knowing it, we cherished seeing him heading towards the old Railway station to meet the incoming train two or three times a day. Never missed a day that I know of because he considered that to be his responsibility.
Every small town has its ‘Pee Wee’ but ours was special. He visited around town on his bicycle and all the citizens would wave at him and he would honk his horn. Didn’t matter to him if you were young, old, man or woman, rich or poor, Pee Wee recognized you in his own special way.
I talked to him all the time when I was a young middle schooler in Louisa because I lived on Perry Street right beside Young Funeral Home where Pee Wee spent most of his time between trains. I never knew he had worked for the the Old Louisa Grist Mill in his younger days and I suspect the folks who owned it matched him up with what he was able to do.
Pee Wee hasn’t been out on his bike in a few years but when Glenda and I moved back to Louisa in 2001, I saw Pee Wee when I visited with my friends at Young’s and although it had been 40 years or so since I saw him, he knew me. I could tell by the look on his face.
We won’t be seeing Pee Wee anymore because he went to be with the Lord this week at the ripe old age of 89. And for me at least, part of Louisa went with him.
But I know most times when I go by the spot where the railroad station used to be, I’ll still think of Pee Wee and I’ll think of him as a real friend and special part of Louisa, an icon of the Gem of the Big Sandy.
So long old friend, I’m glad I got to know ye…