Rosemead Kiwanis Club
"Serving the Community Since 1945"
The Fax of Life
A weekly inspiration, courtesy of the Kiwanis Club of Scott's Valley
July 13, 1997 Vol. 2, No. 35
In 1921, Lewis Lawes became the warden at Sing Sing prison. No prison was
tougher than Sing Sing during that time. But when Warden Lawes retired some
20 years later, the prison had become a humanitarian institution. Those who
studied the system said credit for the change belonged to Lawes. But when
asked about the transformation, here's what he said: " I owe it all to my
wonderful wife, Catherine, who is buried outside the prison walls."
Catherine Lawes was a young mother with three small children when her husband became the warden. Everybody warned her from the beginning that she should never set foot inside the prison walls, but that didn't stop Catherine!
When the first prison basketball game was held, she went ... walking into the gym with her three beautiful kids and she sat in the stands with the inmates.
Her attitude was: "My husband and I are going to take care of these men and I
believe they will take care of me! I don t have to worry!"
She insisted on getting acquainted with them and their records. she
discovered one convicted murderer was blind so she paid him a visit. Holding
his hand in hers she said. "Do you read Braille?"
"What's Braille?" he asked. Then she taught him how to read. Years later he
would weep in love for her.
Later, Catherine found a deaf-mute in prison. she went to school to learn how
to use sign language. Many said that Catherine Lawes was the body of Jesus
that came alive again in Sing Sing from 1921 to 1937.
Then, she was killed in a car accident. The next morning Lewis Lawes didn't
come to work, so the acting warden took his place. It seemed almost instantly
that the prison knew something was wrong.
The following day, her body was resting in a casket in her home, three-quarters of a mile from the prison. As the acting warden took his morning walk, he was shocked to see a large crowd of the toughest, hardest-looking criminals gathered like a herd of animals at the main gate. He came closer and noted tears of grief and sadness. He knew how much they loved Catherine. He turned and faced the men, "All right men, you can go. Just be sure to check in tonight!"
Then he opened the gate and a parade of criminals walked, without a guard, the three-quarters of a mile to stand in line to pay their final respects to Catherine Lawes. And every one of them checked back in. Every one!
--- Tim Kimmel
Did this really happen? No less than the Christian Science Monitor affirms that it did - http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0622/p15s01-bogn.html , although it should be noted that (according to Snopes) the Warden's home was still on Sing Sing property - just not with as great a level of security as the cellblocks.
Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time. All of its Clubs are independently-run community service groups.
The Kiwanis Club of Scott's Valley normally meets at the Heavenly Café in Scott's Valley, CA, on Wednesdays at 7 am - see the Scott's Valley Kiwanis website @ http://svkiwanis.org for details; The Kiwanis Club of Rosemead normally meets on Thursdays at 12:10 in Rosemead, CA - see the Rosemead Kiwanis website @ http://rosemeadkiwanis.org for confirmation and directions. Visitors are welcome to join meetings of either club anytime.
There is no charge to anyone for receiving the "Fax," which today is circulated by e-mail rather than literally by FAX. If you have been encouraged in any way by the message, pass it on by saying something encouraging to someone else during the week. To subscribe to the free weekly RKC Reporter, of which the "Fax" is an attachment, simply email email@example.com,
Neither the Scott's Valley or Rosemead Kiwanis Clubs make any representations as to the accuracy of quotes or actions attributed to named individuals; material selected for the Fax of Life comes from a variety of sources and is chosen based solely on its presumed inspirational value to readers.