SHERMAN - Small towns are not always noted for having talented people living there, but it can be a pleasure to meet some very artistic and otherwise gifted people in just such towns. Loeta Werren is one of them.
In her warm, cozy home in Sherman, one can see it is decorated with many of her artistic endeavors. A children's book, "The Little Man In The Big Hat," is her first published book. She hopes to have more published and already has another one written and waiting in a drawer of her little home workshop.
After passing the true test of its merit in a Sherman Central School pre-school class, what was once a series of letters between her grandson and Werren became book.
Photo by Elaine G. Cole
Loeta Werren, the author of the recently published children’s book “The Little Man In The Big Hat,” hopes to have more published and already has another one written and waiting in a drawer of her little home workshop.
Trish Murphy, a newly retired pre-school teacher from Sherman Central School, read "The Little Man In The Big Hat" in her class last year. Murphy's children liked the story so much, Werren decided to illustrate it.
Werren's family and friends were so impressed with the finished product, she decided to copyright and publish the book. "The Little Man In The Big Hat" is based on a series of letters Werren, a retired Sherman teacher herself, wrote to a grandson about 25 years ago. Her daughter bound the originals in a desk drawer over a year ago and gave them to Werren, starting the project.
Werren was born in Westfield and spent her childhood living with her parents in Ripley, except for two years when the family lived in Olean. She grew up during the Great Depression in the 1930's. For as long as she can remember, she recalls having loved drawing pictures, and from sixth grade on, she also loved writing poetry and stories and knew she wanted to be a teacher.
As she grew older, she wanted to go to college, and her parents always expected that of her.
After graduating from high school, she attended SUNY Buffalo to study art in particular. Later, she got her Master's Degree and began teaching art in Falconer. After two years, she joined the Sherman school staff as an art teacher. She retired after being there for 32.5 years of faithful teaching. She taught long enough to have had two generations go through her classroom.
Werren not only taught art, but also served in numerous other capacities in the school and in other places. She started a creative writing and journalism class for students who desired to learn it. She was also active in the Sherman Minerva Club, her church in Ripley and a variety of other things.
Teaching was not all that Werren did. Over the years, she wrote stories and poetry, painted several pictures and even did some copper art. She does all her writing in long hand and then types it up.
In recent days, Werren has not been able to get out as much, but she continues writing and painting. She also always liked to bake and now days she bakes a lot. Although her diet keeps her from eating all the goodies, she says she makes it for family and friends.
Werren has two children. She stayed at home with them for nine years when they were little. Her son lives with her and her daughter and four of her grandchildren also live in Sherman.
When asked what the most important thing she ever did over the years was, she stated, "Whatever I was doing at the moment. I keep myself busy writing, painting, drawing, baking and watching all the wonderful things in nature that I can see through the windows in my work area."
"The Little Man In The Big Hat" is on sale at East Branch Books, 113 W. Main St., Sherman. During the winter, the store is open on Fridays and Saturdays afternoons and can be reached at 761-6600.