07 September 2008

Aunt Ruth


Manic Monday Logo courtesy of Jannaverse



A LIFE


I didn't appreciate her then when forced on someone to care for me, but when she was long dead, I became a Jew (She wouldn't have approved) and made the promise of Ruth on the Bema moved by things taken for granted: Socks perfectly white bleached into submission every night, reddened knuckles on a washboard. Fresh squeezed juice with every dawn, dresses ironed to perfection, and angel food cake beaten by hand.

She raised someone who didn't want to be there. I only knew her in her middle years. A barren woman who loved me more than I did her. How do you pay back a roof or place to be from a woman once young enough to give me an Uncle Don who opened a mind to classical music by osmosis, and taught me to read when I should have been too young to read at all.

Aunt Ruth read condensed books when she read at all, but bought me Alcott rather than unwanted dolls and the Great Books for graduation with a quote by Hume on the dedication page. She didn't lead a happy life. There were too many reasons to complain, and she never learned to say thank you for favors done. They didn't exist when she had to clean up after everyone while no one understood her pain.

But then again I must have loved her. I still can't stand juice made from concentrate, and when she was gone, I took her name.


13 comments:

Lois Grebowski said...

It's funny how we don't appreciate certain things in our youth and then when we get older we totally get it.

anthonynorth said...

Experience of age verses inexperience of youth. No contest, I think.

the teach said...

Jamie, or shall I say Ruth, I am an aunt to 3 nephews and a niece and I felt the love in your story and Aunt Ruth's part and on yours. They gave you a love of music and reading and learning. I know you thank them in your heart. I hope my nephews and niece thank me in their hearts... :)

onangelwings said...

Very loving post for someone unappreciated. It seems as if there is a lot of love there.

Thanks for sharing you story.

Janna said...

I like the part about appreciating classical music through osmosis.
When my mom was pregnant with me, she listened to classical music.
I still love listening to it.

bv said...

This was a really thoughtful post. I had to read it twice to take it all in and I really enjoyed it!

Happy Manic Monday!

Ivanhoe said...

That story reminded me of my mother a bit. Beautifly written :o)

the teach said...

Jamie I have an award for you at my blog...come see! :)

After Hours said...

Wow that was deep and very moving. Nice post.

Border Explorer said...

Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

Mags said...

As always, well written...

Marilyn said...

I have people like that in my life too. Funny how complicated relationships seem but in the end they boil down to caring for eachother as best we know how.

This Eclectic Life said...

Oh, Thunder, Jamie. You gave me chills. Now I have to go cry. Very good post.