Betty Lou Ruby was born April 7th, 1928. I think she was a bit of a surprise baby, she had 2 sisters and a brother who were much older. She survived Scarlett Fever and diphtheria–when she was 8 her Momma died–and that, she never got over. Betty kept house in a little one room garage with her daddy until…
Betty Ruby married a Marine hero back to finish High School after WW2. Kenny liked her dark brown eyes and wanted to breed some long noses into the family (he liked to say with a twinkle in his eye). They graduated and married and…
Betty Elliott was the quintessential fifties Mom. 2 girls and 1 boy. Mr. and Mrs. Elliott built a modest house, raised a family and put down roots. When I look at the pictures all I notice is the perfectly ironed cotton dresses and hat and gloves–shiver I can’t even imagine such business.
In the 1960’s Betty was a working Mom. Got her wiglet rolled and her hair set once a week at the “Curl up and Dye” (I swear!) She bowled and did volunteer work and ran for a place on Con-Con (Constitutional Convention).
All of this life was lived before I even met her–before she became Gramma Betty. Her first grandchild came when she was 40–I had my last baby at that age. She would come pick me up for a shopping adventure at K-mart, or a sleep over. Gramma Betty would bathe, powder me and tuck me in, laugh at my stories and tell me hers. Mrs. K.W. E. was political and never shy about an opinion–about anything or anyone!!
I grew taller than her by the time I was 7-my feet bigger than hers too. She loved to work circles around everyone else and how in the world her and Pa (Mr. Slow and Steady) ever got along is beyond me. She made magic every Holiday for us kids–with every corner decorated it was a wonderland for us. Gramma Betty wasn’t perfect–but us grandkids felt loved and special and equal and admired.
I didn’t lose any grandparents until I was in my 30’s. I knew them! Gramma and Pa came to all of my jobs to tell my bosses how special Sara Beth was…yeah–true story. Gramma B wanted to live to be 90–kick higher then her head and drop dead. Gladys and Sib, her sisters had both suffered with dementia–she was afraid of that fate. She loved the “Good Lord” and loved to say “Land ‘o Goshen” and” Heaven Sakes” 3 times a day. She started to be angry–confused–scared–forgetful, I don’t know for sure when it started. I would notice when I went to visit or when we would get together. I don’t know if she and Pa were trying to hide it or if they were just members of the greatest generation and knew nothing more than to soldier on.
Gramma Betty came to my wedding in the barn. She watched me get ready–we laughed and cried, I held her hand and she clapped for me when she saw me in my dress. That was the last time she called me by name.
Along comes Betty Lou into my life. Things were going downhill quickly and she was getting hurt at home. Betty Lou had to be in the hospital and then into a long-term Alzheimer care facility–Betty Lou had the same laugh and the same hands–she was always happy to see me. When I came to visit pregnant–she looked up and said, “uh–oh, look what you did!” and when I brought my first baby there to the home she squealed with glee and said “Give me the fat!!!” I liked her! I missed Gramma–when the caregiver becomes dependant–that is the hardest part of the circle of life!
Betty Lou went to heaven in December of 2009. The funeral home was decorated with beautiful lit trees and wreaths–just like she would have wanted! I miss her so..her laugh. I have a few of her chickens in my kitchen and 2 of her necklaces and I talk to her sometimes–I know she knows me now.
Happy Birthday Betty Lou Ruby Elliott. Thanks for the love, laughter and the memories!