Friday, September 19, 2008


Someone suggested that I write about my children. I have done that, early this year, when I first started blogging. I did a sort of summary of my four. I've also written quite a bit about my youngest, Kitty, and did a post on the next youngest, Rita. I had every intention of going on to the other two, but somehow got distracted along the way. So, today I will talk about my third girl, Ruth. She is the oldest of the four.

Ruth had to be the most eagerly and happily anticipated baby that ever was. Ralph and I were both anxious to start our family. She was born on December 30th, just in time to give us a tax deduction for the year, thank you. We carried her home and put her under the Christmas tree.

She was an angel. Slept through the night from the very first. She talked very early - never baby talk. It was startling to hear grown up words coming from her little mouth so early.

She was only fifteen months old when her little brother arrived. She looked him over, saw the piece of umbilical cord still on his tummy and wanted to know what that was. I gave her the briefest possible explanation, and she said, "Oh. You mean he was plugged in." OK. That was a pretty good answer. She seemed delighted with him.

In another sixteen months, they were joined by another baby girl. I don't think that Ruth was quite so thrilled about this one, though she never acted out. She always seemed to know what we wanted to hear, and that's what she gave us. Joe was a big boy, and always seemed able to hold his own with big sister. Rita was always very small for her age, and Ruth often tried to bully her. She was feisty though, and could usually manage, but we had to watch them. Ruth gave her a pretty hard time, except when we were looking.

Because she acted older than her years, and simply because she was the oldest, I think we may have expected a bit much of her. But she rose to the challenge, and she was always
as good as gold. Never gave us any problem - until she was five. Then one day she walked into the kitchen alone, came out looking all innocent, and shortly after, when I happened to go in there I found all the gas jets turned on. "Did you do this?" "No" And that was how it all began. She really gave us a run for our money. She was smart as a whip, and had a very strong opinion of her own capability to do whatever she set her mind to, with or without our approval. She never told us if she got into any kind of difficulty - until she had found her way through it, and the whole thing was resolved. Then she might confide what had gone on. (She's still like that.)
I used to tell her she was responsible for every gray hair on my head. We lived in New York, and as the kids became teenagers, they had a curfew. She never kept it.

Ruth was ten years old when number four came along. She immediately became a second mother to Kitty. Here they are in 1969. The oldest and youngest remain close to one another today. But Ruth often tried to override my advice or wishes concerning Kit. And guess who Kitty listened to more often than not.

Isn't it lucky for us all that kids do manage to outgrow most of their less than charming traits as they get older?

Two years after Ralph passed away, the rest of us moved to New Jersey, where we could be close to family members. Ruth remained in New York, where she was attending college. She has never left. She is a true Long Island girl. This is how my girls looked in 1980. The three of them are so different in appearance.

Soon after college graduation, Ruth married Gary, the boy she had been seeing for some time. They remained on Long Island. In due time, there were two children - now adults. She and Gary have since divorced, but we haven't managed to persuade her to join us here. Her life has been in New York forever, and she has many good friends there and is enjoying the job that she has now. And of course, her children are there.

This is one of my favorite pictures of her. I think it's typical of her today.

Ruth has become more than my daughter. She is now my very good friend. I am very proud of her. She is a warm, wonderful person. She has a gift for story telling, and can keep you in stitches of laughter at any given time. Whenever she might decide to re-locate to Jersey, it would make me very happy.
But I'm not holding my breath.


kenju said...

This is a good post, Bobbie, and it's nice to get to know your eldest. I love seeing the photos (what a handsome family you had).

ratmammy said...

i could relate to this post, bobbie. I'm the ruth to my parents.. and a lot of what i saw in ruth is what makes me tick too... i think oldest children often give the most gray hairs to the parents.. .my sister was the good one, while i was the one that pushed their buttons...

Ramblings of a Villas Girl said...

That is the first time I have seen a picture of Ruth under the x-mas tree. She was a beautiful baby and has grown into a wonderful-beautiful woman. I agree, her company is a pleasure.

I noticed that there is a owl on the carriage. Would that be one that you knitted? Lisa

Mental P Mama said...

I was the Ruth. She will always be the boss!

Sylvia K said...

Ah, Bobbi, the stories we can all tell about our kids. As you know, I have four, too. The two girls are the oldest, then the two boys. All so different! And as you know, I live with my youngest -- his idea, not mine, but it's worked out well. The rest are all over the country and I miss them, but we talk frequently, email a lot and that helps. You have such a handsome family and I know so well how you feel about each one. Lovely post!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing something of Ruth with us, Bobbie. Your pride is quite evident. Lovely post.

By the way, our youngest, who is now 8, has always refered to the umbilical cord as 'the extention cord'. Great minds, eh?

You put her under the Christmas tree...what a fantastic present!

Unknown said...

I love this post! My favorite photo is of you, Ralph and the kids in the car. You two are so attractive and the kids so adorable. And that picture of Ruth under the Christmas tree. Beautiful.

My girls are 16 months apart, so I can really relate to having babies close together. When they were toddlers, people often wondered if they were fraternal twins. Lots of people made the comment "Irish twins" which I always had mixed feelings about!

Ruth sounds like a wonderful daughter. She certainly has a great mom and I'm sure her dad would be so proud of her and you!


Unknown said...

Oh, I got so caught up in your wonderful post that I forgot to tell you that you have a blog award waiting at my place. The reason behind this one, I think, is less frivolous than some. But of course, as always with me, there is no obligation.

Peace,my friend

Linda Murphy said...

What a touching post. She is very special and wonderful!

blah said...

i never bullied anyone. i have no idea what you are talking about. really. no. idea. none.

blah said...

oh i'm sure she will remember. no offense taken. i'm perfect now.

bobbie said...

OK. Now I know, you're just wising off. It's hard to tell sometimes when it's just in print and I can't hear you say it. You made her miserable, big sister.

bobbie said...

For those who don't know, "Ruby" is Ruth. It was the way her son said her name when he was just learning to talk.