The Story of Ruth

Ruth was born in Norman, Oklahoma, one of four children.  She had one sister and two brothers.  Her father owned a grocery store and her mother stayed home and took care of the children.

When Ruth was a young woman, she met a man she loved.  He was attending school at the University of Portland when his grandmother invited Helen over to her house for tea – setting up a meeting between Ruth and the young man.  The young man had already heard a lot about Helen from his grandmother.

After he graduated they were married and moved to South America where they lived for fourteen years.  Ruth entertained while her husband worked as a businessman.  He was a very smart man.

After his death, Ruth returned to New York all by herself.  They had previously lived in New York for a short time, but when she returned all their friends had moved away.
Ruth had very little money so she walked from New York to Grants Pass, OR, where she knew some people.  It took months to get there.

Ruth is now 96 years old. She reads a lot and had fewer adventures now than earlier in life.  Each day she rises, dresses in pretty clothes and puts on earrings and perfume.



Being in the Military

I was a gunner on a B-17 during WWII.  I was in the top turret.  I saw Europe from the air.  We would kid about our expense paid tour of Europe.  I was wounded and now my knee has gone sour on me, but I’m not a complainer.

I would like to visit Europe on the ground and see the country.  We were stationed in England during the war.  Those countries are small by our standards.

The government is slower than the second coming.  Don’t volunteer for anything and keep your head down!


My Story


Evelyn found joy in her seven boys and realized sadness when her son, Leonard, was killed in a car accident.  Evelyn says, “That’s a pain that never changes or goes away.”  She lost her son in 1980 and her husband in 1990.

When I went to the hospital in 2000 I was ready to die.  I was having multiple problems and surgeries.  I didn’t care because I was going to a better place, but God wasn’t ready for me yet.

Things that bring me joy are writing poems and music.  I’ve been copy-writed five times.  My poem about Mt. Saint Helens was published in the Lewis River News.  It’s hard for me to accept compliments or believe in myself however.  I also ran a ceramics shop for thirty years.


Leslie's Life Wisdom

“Life is what you make it.  Get out and meet people.  Don’t hurt anybody.  You can always find someone worse off than you are.

I take one day at a time.  It comes natural for me to deal openly with things.  I take things as they come.  I don’t try to push things.  I listen to others and if I can give a little advice, I do.

It’s a shame that people let things ruin them.  After my divorce I went on with my life and made a life of my own that I was easy with.  I kept visiting my friends and we all went on with our lives.  You are only as old as you feel!”
Leslie was 96 when this was recorded.



Go for the Gusto!

The support of all of my family has enriched and blessed my life so very much.  The strength of my kids has helped my get through things.  We all got together and just said this is the way it is and we’ll just deal with it.  My gratitude goes beyond words.
I’m happy with my life.  I’ve never identified with my physical problems.  Dwelling on my sickness doesn’t get me anywhere.  

My parents were great role models and taught me the courage to go in life, to be good to the people who take care of you and to have faith.  People have to get on with their lives and not let anything stop them.  When I had knee surgery, I met an 80 year old lady who had surgery on both of her knees.  She took in stride and kept right on going.

So why get depressed? Go for the gusto!


"Please read this and make it work for you." by Bill

Both of my parents drank.  They both died from alcohol.  That hurts. I am proud of myself because I don’t drink anymore.  I learned to be happy without alcohol. 

My life has done a complete turnaround.  My purpose is to help other people with their alcohol problems now.  I feel like a man again.  People don’t realize what kind of life they can live without alcohol.  Being drunk is so awful and depressing.  I’m sure God helped me get off alcohol.

I am the first in my family to become dry.  Life is all about supporting each other.  It will change your whole life around.  If you look for help people will be glad to help you.

"I don’t know when the depression started, but for us it was quite early." - Sarah

My father came into the house one day and told mother he just couldn’t take the heat anymore.  He had been gassed in WWII and only had one lung left.  Before they met he had lived in Seattle and thought that would be a good place to go.

While working on the bridge to West Seattle, a timber fell and Father was home with a broken leg.  Jack was born and I had to have my tonsils out.  There was no medical insurance of course. Mother had thick, very long red hair.  Rent and grocery money was needed.  While daddy was home to watch us children, mother left to get a few groceries.  When she got home, she handed him some money.  She’d sold her hair.

That fall my oldest brother, Don, got sick.  He had polio.  Mother had been reading about Sister Kenney and she said it made sense to her.  Even though she was still nursing Jack, she kept hot packs on Don.  He got over the polio but had leakage of the heart, which they didn’t know at the time.

In the spring, I was going on 7 and in the first grade.  Mother said I could ask a few kids to come Saturday afternoon to help eat my birthday cake.  We live nine blocks from Lafayette School.  I stopped at every house on one side of the street going and the other side of the street coming home.  I made sure to tell them absolutely no presents.  Just come, play and eat the cake.

About 12:30 they started to come.  Mother said she lost count after twenty!  They ate the cake, the pies she’d baked for Sunday and the cookies for the next week’s lunches.
There was a big field in back of our house with a huge pile of clippings from pruning our and a neighbor’s fruit trees.  Daddy and Mr. Johnson, the neighbor, burned it and when there were just coals, daddy put in potatoes and apples.  I can still remember the wonderful smell.  Everybody had roasted potatoes and apples.  Going home they said it was the best party they’d ever had.

Another Christmas came and went.  I was in the third grade.  We had deep snow and on January 7, 1930, my dad dropped dead while waiting for the streetcar.  That was the end of an era and the depression went on worse than ever.  Looking back at this difficult period of time, I think we all learned how to survive and gained confidence in our ability to make better lives for ourselves.


"Oh yes you can!" by Donna

I have worked hard all of my life.  I’ve been supporting myself since the age of thirteen.  Life has not always been easy, but I was blessed with a good sense of humor and a loving family that helped me be a survivor.  Also, my “can do” attitude has helped me to be self-sufficient in the many businesses that I have successfully owned and managed.

I was always self-employed and didn’t retire until my early 70’s.  As long as you enjoy your work, you’re never too old.  My various business experiences at different times included grocery stores, hamburger stands, owning and running a motel, residential and commercial management, and being in real estate sales for 23 years.

During the early 1970’s very few women worked in real estate sales.  I was a leader in a man’s business.  The men said I couldn’t do it, but I proved them wrong.  I was successful because I liked people.  I liked to protect them and help them.  My clients became my friends and trusted me.  I was organized, ethical, had a vision, and “wanted everything done yesterday” so I worked hard to make my business run smoothly.

I tried to pass on some of these beliefs to my children.  At a young age, I taught them by example the value of hard work and a business ethic.  Both of my sons run successful businesses.  One is a general contractor and the other is a realtor and developer.

I fought for what I believe in- faith, family and friends.  I now try to be a spokesperson for the other residents at Fort Vancouver Convalescent who have difficulty expressing themselves.  Also, I try to make every day a learning experience and get to know new friends.

Dreams are worth having.  If you can’t sleep don’t count sheep, talk to the Shepard.  That’s what I do when I pray.  When I look back I can’t believe what I’ve accomplished.  It’s what you learn after you think you know it all really counts.  And that’s the truth, too!