Ruby was the first woman of her family to attend and graduate from college. She got a dietician’s degree. She went to work for a local hospital and met and married a charming, handsome man. They had a little girl and a couple of years later, a little boy. Life was good. For awhile.
But the handsome man started drinking. A lot. He started yelling at Ruby and the kids. Then he took a mistress. And then, one day, while Ruby was at work, he took the kids to live with him at the mistress’s house. That was it for Ruby. She took the kids to a town two states away, and didn’t tell anyone, even her own mother.
She found a job running a truck stop and just about single-handedly pulled it back from bankruptcy using some innovative marking techniques. The kids went to school and began to settle into their new home. The handsome man was furious because he could not find them and went to Ruby’s mother and put a gun to her head to get her to tell where Ruby and the kids had gone. Ruby’s mom could not tell because she did not know. The handsome man hired a private detective, who found them. One day, while Ruby was at work, Handsome man came and took the kids back to their home two states away. Handsome man promised to stop drinking and Ruby went back to him. She got her old job back at the hospital. But Handsome man did not stop drinking and Ruby left him again. She took the kids and a year later Handsome man died of the drinking and a heart attack. He was 38 years old. Ruby raised the kids alone and put them both through college without child support or government help.
I am proud to say I knew her well and she taught me about hope and how to tell if a garment is of good quality and standing tall and which fork to use and that we treat everyone with courtesy and respect, regardless if their station in life is above or below ours.
Ruby Allen Carter was my grandmother and she raised her family during the difficult years of the depression and World War II.