Brian Ramone Childers

  1985 -
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Brian's Story > Categories > People in my Life

"Big Ruth" 


Date Range: 07/13/1995 To 12/31/2008   Comments: 5   Views: 5,416
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All my parents friends were very good to me growing up, but I had a favorite "friend" who came around regularly - my dad’s old boss, Ruth.  She was a character.  She smoked like a fiend, and was quite tall and - to put it politely - obese. She had a laugh that sounded like a donkey's hee-haw and she cursed like a sailor. She wore too much make-up and too much perfume and always smothered me in her ginormous breasts when she visited.

She married four times (!) and at least one of her marriages I heard the story, along with the guffaws, about how she left him DURING the honeymoon. She called her brothers, also very tall, heavyset and imposing people, to pick her up. No one said boo to her.   

She and I were close. I would even sometimes stay at her condo overnight, and I always thought her place was really glamorous because she had all these imported voodoo dolls and masks from Africa and tribal regions. I used to ask her all the questions I couldn't ask anyone else, especially not my parents. Why my brother's voice changed, why my dad was a jerk, why my mother stayed with him. She would always suck in a wad of ciggie smoke, hold it (gross, I know) and then exhale loudly as if buying time to think. Then she'd point the thing at me and "Here's what I think, kid...." and then proceed to tell me, in her awkwardly charming way, exactly what she thought.

I never understood what she saw in my father as a "friend". They'd worked together at the lumber yard where she was the office manager (but ran the show) and he was a woodsman. They worked together for almost 8 years, and she used to tell me that she heard my father say maybe a "total of 25 words the entire time." Somehow they respected each other and got along, which was interesting because my father didn't respect anyone, certainly not my mother.

She came to see my father, or so she said, but my father was often off on one his excursions (read: hissy fits). She and my mother would sit in the kitchen (my mother wouldn't allow smoking in the house) with their coffee, and Ruth would go outside once in a while to puff away.

I like to think my mother confided in her, with her no nonsense approach to life. But maybe she didn't, because as much as I tried to eavesdrop I never heard anything good. Sometimes she'd stay the night at our house, if the coffee drinking went too far into the night, and I could hear her creaking around in the metal wireframe mattress above me while I slept on the couch. When she'd leave, she'd slip me a $5 bill and wink at me.

I didn't realize until much later that she was quite poor. Her last husband had cleaned our their bank account when she left. She had so many health problems no one wanted to hire her, so she lived off disability. That $5 probably meant a lot to her, but she gave it to me without fail.

When I left town, I didn't see her much. I knew she still came around. The last time I saw her she looked much worse for the wear. She was heavier and more stooped, and had problems walking and seeing. Too proud to ask for help though, she had a relative move in w/ her to help her out. I wonder if the help was financial as well. I wondered if I could help her, but I was just a broke college student.

She died last month. I hadn't seen her in over a year, although my mom would give me updates. I cared but I guess I didn't care enough to actually pick up the phone or write a letter. If it's not email or quick then I guess I don't do it.

I didn't go to the funeral. I didn't even know about it. I made a big donation to a charity I know she liked, but it feels like blood money. Guilt easing. Phony.

She would have liked nothing more than my time. And I was too busy for that.

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Member Since
Aug 2007
Archibald Sharron said:
posted on Oct 01, 2009

Mr. Brian, Ruth sounds like a wonderful soul and she'll watch out for you from above.

With regards,
Archibald Sharron

Member Since
Aug 2007
Brian Childers said:
posted on Oct 04, 2009
She was

Will light a candle for her :)

Member Since
May 2009
Klarity Belle said:
posted on Oct 04, 2009
Lovingly told

A beautiful and very real testament to Ruth's life and what she meant to you.

Member Since
Aug 2007
Susan Janneck said:
posted on Oct 05, 2009
Great story of Ruth

We all get so caught up in our day to day lives and before you can blink an eye someone who we cherished is no longer with us. I'm so glad that you shared Ruth with us. Your description was so good that I can just see her sitting at the table with the cigarette dangling from her mouth and then pointing it at you and calling you "kid". Maybe you don't feel you did justice by her in life but you sure did now and I'm absolutely sure she knows it.

Member Since
Aug 2007
Brian Childers said:
posted on Oct 05, 2009
man she was forward

I can still see her, using words as a kid I'd never even heard of. If you bleeped it out it'd bleep out every other word. But she had a very gentle soul. I think she was pretty much walked on much of her life. I know her growing up was tough- lots of abuse. Probably why she was so empathetic.