ORLIN, Tn. – James Wren was born in Wrens, Georgia. December 13, 1923.
98-years later, and James can tell you countless memories of his life on the farm, his seven invasions in World War II, but the stories that made him smile ear to ear were all about his Shirley.
After five years in the navy, 24-year-old James returned home as a decorated Naval Veteran.
He followed his brother to what was then Nashville’s Andrew Jackson Business University where he spotted 18-year-old Shirley Phillips.
“She caught the Franklin bus to go home every afternoon,” Jimmy recalled. “We’d sit there and talk till the bus came. Then I gone up to [my] house.”
92-year-old Shirley recounted, “When I met Jimmy, we both knew that we were meant for each other. In fact, we talked about that, that we were meant for each other. He tells me, ‘Every time I saw you, I knew that you was the woman I wanted to live the rest of my life with… Well, we’ve gotten so far.”
And true to his word, after six months of courting, the lovebirds decided it was time to tie the knot June 4th 1948.
Jimmy remembered the wedding, saying, “Mom, and Dad and Shirley and I went to the church, and we got married right there. [We] kept going, and we’re still here.”
In 1989, The couple packed their bags and bought acres of farm land in Orlinda, Tennessee – only 300 yards outside of the Kentucky border.
Shirley said, “The real, true secret [to 74 years of marriage] is, “Love the person that you’re engaged with.’ And it’s true. I loved Jimmy from the day one. Still do.”
James agreed, saying that they push past hard times by holding hands harder every night.