Last Letter from Ruth to Anne & Lois: November 19, 1983

Dear Anne and Lois,

It makes me so happy — you are coming! And Buck, too! All of you are so dear to me! You hear little from me because I have nothing to say, I suppose.

Patt and Mickie are so good to me, and Marlin (Mickie's son) — he is a fine person.

As you come, if you haven't seen this world of fall colors, you'll see one. The Home is surrounded by trees and shrubs of all kinds.

As you know, Dwight's home – so dear to us all – burned and with it Bibles and books of all kinds. The Bible that you gave me is so very welcome. There is a Gideon in the room. Also there are Bibles in a small room, but your gift is a wonderful type.

Patt and Mickie outfitted me. People heard of my loss. I was given several nice dresses. (I have made a number of friends here. Some of them are former students and are the parents of my former students.)

The Home is a lovely place in which to live — slightly expensive. I try to forget that.

We usually think of such institutions as places of sadness. There is, of course, much unhappiness. However, many things happen that cause smiles and downright laughs.

I am in excellent health – do not walk very well, but you know I was unsteady before coming.

My roommate, Mrs. Nolin, a lovely person, is some over 96. She does not see well – does hear – is strong and is fairly well active. She is a large woman. Up the hall lives Mrs. Nolin's sister, very frail but active in wheelchair movements; does not hear well, but does see well. She is between 96 and 100.

You are quite young. I am looking forward to seeing you.



Aunt Ruth


p.s. All goes well now. The electricity cut off and had some of us off schedule. We wanted coffee and breakfast.

Letter from Ruth to Anne: January 2, 1982

Dear Anne,

You and Lois were beautiful! Keep up your program, whatever it is.

I had not been in Patt's new set-up either. He needs just such a place for the work he does and for rest. Here, I do both, but in an area 3 ft. by 6 ft. – my work packed in sacks.

Emmie's daughter, Mildred, has a home near Eufaula, and J.W.'s son and daughter work in Eufaula. Jim Angus is in Troy.

They have been under a strenuous schedule because of J.W.'s illness. Mildred said someone of the family was with J.W. in Montgomery, all the time. He was able to use a walker when I heard last.

May you have a Happy and Prosperous Year!


Aunt Ruth

Letter from Ruth to Lois: February 9, 1981

Dear Lois,

As we talked about Garrett you must indeed have felt that Rip Van Winkle had called! As it happens, I had – for the moment – been asleep for a year. It was so exciting and so good to hear your voices. I understood much of what both of you said. Another call or two and I can communicate. Those who try to talk to me have a trying time.

Garrett is a wonderful little person. Most babies are howling as they try to achieve what he has done so early. Another year and his remarks will be up with his speed in steps.

I feel fine – at the moment – have had breakfast (grits, etc.) and now a snack of chicken soup. I am cooking chicken, but intend to have collards for lunch. They are young greens, about a foot high.

I don't doubt that Garrett looks like you. Are his eyes dark? And the hair, blond? In Lisa's picture, the eyes look blue.

Love to all,

Aunt Ruth

Letter from Ruth to Anne: February 9, 1981

Dear Anne,

How good to hear your voices – and understand much of what you say! I'll tell you on what day I'll call. If I don't get you, I'll give another try or so until I do. (I intend to get the number from Patt. I'll have him on the line at the same time. He was here last night.)

One of you asked about having a cold. I have not had a cold in several years. The only trouble I ever have is in the throat. Shots were always effective.

My wrist gives me no trouble. The fall did not affect me in any other way.

Alice Carroll (Uncle Dan Munn's daughter) fractured a wrist. It was in a cast for six weeks. The dear lady is 94.



Aunt Ruth

p.s. I am sending your letter to the same address as one I am writing to Lois, since you are together some of the time.

Letter from Ruth to Anne: Christmas, 1979

Dear Anne,

Your plans for Christmas are made and shaping up, I'm sure. I would like so much to hear from you, how you spent Thanksgiving and what you will be doing Christmas. Mostly, though, how ARE you? Let me know.

My ten toes – corns, ingrowing nails, etc. – are much improved. I walk better. Of course, other ailments must constantly be remedied.

The day before Thanksgiving, Patt and Laverne gave a barbecue. The guests seemed to be, chiefly, Laverne's co-workers. On Thanksgiving Day, I went with them to her mother's home for a family gathering. (I supervised myself and everyone else – by going.) I had seen none of them since Dwight's death. Oh, yes, I had seen Mr. and Mrs. Sutton at church several times. It was an enjoyable day. I felt out of place, but for they made me feel welcome. Patt and Laverne carried a cake and a turkey — large, well-browned. 

The calls made by Patt and Laverne, and Frances certainly eased my worry. We could not hear anything after Hurricane Frederick hit.

Let us hear again.


Love from Aunt Ruth


p.s. I shall be at home Christmas Day. This is the time of steal-outs.

May you have the best Christmas that you have had in a long time. May you feel that it is really Christmas.


Note: "Steal-outs." The phrase itself and the way Ruth constructed the sentence are interesting.  I think it means to slip away quietly. Does anyone reading this have any experience with this phrase?

Letter from Ruth to Anne: August 18, 1979

Dear Anne,

Your call was such a pleasure to all of us. It is good to know that you people are on the go. I suspect – like me – there are times when you don't go far! You are so much younger than I that I seldom think of your having ill feelings. In some respects, I am permanently improved. For the most part, I have ups and downs.

What is your area code and telephone number? There is an amplifier in my telephone, now. I might succeed in a call. I can try, anyway. I'll tell you what night I'll try, but I need the telephone number. If I should not get an answer, I would try at other times.

Years ago, I made calls from Ozark to Dothan (dental appointments, etc.). I could understand the speakers well. Now, I can understand people on the lines here – most of them, at least.

Occasionally I receive no answer at Frances K.'s telephone. I at once wonder why and where about her. Usually, it turns out that she is away for a few days. She would tell me, but I never hear the ring. She doesn't or can't use her fingers in writing – hence the lack of communication.

Emmie McLain's granddaughter, Lisa McLain, married August 4th. There was a wedding in Pea River Church. Emmie uses a walker – I'll bet she attended. She hasn't reported. She says her hearing and her eyesight are both much poorer.

Patt and Laverne declare that they are briskly on the go. She did not answer today. She works on Saturday morning occasionally. Either that is where she is or she is away. Patt is away on Saturday some days. I have not seen him since last Saturday. He may show up shortly,

The Jackson and Keahey families have been friends from way back. That is one reason I have an interest in their affairs. Another is your tie-up with them.

How is Mrs. Pelfrey? (Clyde's mother.) No doubt you know all about them.

Alto Loftin has been on the Board of Education for many years. I do not know Superintendent Edson. When I was in the system, it was considered one of the best in the state. Too, that was true when I was in school in Clio.

Love to you all,

Aunt Ruth

Letter from Ruth to Anne: April 1, 1978

Dear Anne,

Your call was such a pleasure! We want to hear of you, how you are. Yet you hear little from us! Frances seems hopeful of self and sister – much of the time. But, like me, she hits bottom at times. Patt and Laverne seem all right.

Just now, and for several months, I have a toe – doesn't hurt – that is losing its nail. This handicaps me in many ways; at least it is the cause of trouble – lack of exercise in walking – so much needed. Of course, I must move slowly to protect the nail. The toe could hurt!

What a pleasant Easter Day you had before you! I suspect you had a world of blooms. In Dothan, the azaleas and camellias, usually so pretty, were lacking in blooms. Dothan has a celebration at Easter usually.

Here, jonquils, daffodils, and narcissus have been blooming; also early spirea. Many of the spirea shrubs are still in full bloom. Several red bud trees on these grounds are blooming. No azalea blooms yet. There are many camellia blooms here and down home. Those are very large.

Tell Lois I am writing her.

Love to all –

Aunt Ruth

Letter from Ruth to Anne: July 18, 1977

Dear Anne,

Just a note to say how glad we are to hear from you. The news is so interesting. Mine (in a letter) will not be so interesting, but I'll write.

As I never attend services in Union, the matter may seem serious. Really, it is of no concern. Face to face, I would give you reasons. (Mr. Willis gives excellent programs.)

Heat and no rain has been hard to bear.

I am glad that you and Lois are near each other.

Love from Aunt Ruth

Letter from Ruth to Anne: December 21, 1976

Dear Anne,

Lois mentioned your trip with Jack to select a gift for Lois – the orchid. She enjoyed the plant so much. Orchids, it is said, are easily grown. Can you imagine it? Some plants are tougher than we realize.

A storm, hurricane or whatever, came in September, 1975. Angel's Trumpets (large white blooms) were twisted, pelted, and banged. Blooms and leaves were hardly damaged. The stalks stood. There were twelve or fourteen stalks, some as tall as eight feet. Many blooms were on the stalks.

I'll write you a letter soon. I'd like so much to hear from you.

Love from Aunt Ruth.

Letter from Ruth to Anne: October 2, 1976

Note: Clearly Ruth was sufficiently distraught about something that her usually hard to read handwriting became completely illegible in spots and somewhat incoherent in others. I can feel her heat, and wish she were here so she could tell me the whole story.The fact that this letter was written in red ink and scattered out all across the front and back of one page adds to the overall feeling of emotional upset.

Dear Anne,

"I enjoy." Well, now, if that means taking and having "a ________       of," then I am sitting (plus, so much that I can't yet move) in Patt's home. He would like the situation to be different, I am sure. So would I!

To enjoy – take pride and pleasure: well, (Take Care of yourself!) then, there is much.

Among ________all these nieces and nephews. If I am counting, then to date, I can list twenty-one!

This place gives me pleasure in being surrounded by all colors of the rainbow, just now. Many consider it a mass of whatever! Later, it will be surrounded by camellias and a shrub that makes red berries – all winter.

p.s. Red usually means Christmasy! Just now, it means last resort. The pen came to me, by chance. My regulars have given out.


Aunt Ruth