Saturday, February 11, 2012

Visit With Ruby & Bob

My meeting ended around noon yesterday, so I decided to make a trip across Florida and visit with my great aunt & uncle who live over by Naples.  The drive from Ft. Lauderdale to Naples was along Alligator Alley, though I didn't see any!

Robert & Ruby (Lambertson) Walsh, 11 Feb 2012
We had a good visit for a few hours.  I was able to catch them up with the latest family news, and they share a lot about how their lives are going.  Both are in excellent health - Bob is 89 years old and Ruby is 85.

Listening to Ruby talk reminds me so much of my grandmother.  They shared memories of how they met, how and when they were married (1944) and Bob shared some stories about his World War II experiences.  Bob shared some letters from friends of his that are sail boating around the world and showed me the nice book on WWII aircraft that his son, Mike had bought him.  Bob was trained on the B-25 bomber.

I learned that they met because Ruby and several of her girlfriends used to like to go dancing at a place in Alexandria, and though the distance between Elwood and Alexandria is less than ten miles - none of her friends had a car.  Bob and a few of his friends had a car, and they were talked into driving Ruby and the other girls to the dance.  Ruby was the last girl that Bob took him, and that's how they struck up a conversation.  Bob, being older than Ruby, didn't really know her in high school - and Bob grew up on the south side of Elwood, Ruby on the north.  Bob's care was a 1937 Buick.

When Bob got around to asking Ruby out on a date, her older sister, Bonnie (my grandmother) was tasked with trying to find out everything about Bob's reputation.  Ruby said that the only thing Bonnie could find out that was negative was that Bob liked to drive his car "really fast."  Bonnie had to loan Ruby a pair of shoes to wear on the dress and make her look a bit older.

Fast-forwarding to when they got married, Bob had already joined the service (Army Air Corps) and had been sent from Texas to college at Butler University in Indianapolis.  He would hitchhike from Butler up to Elwood, and the first weekend in May, Bob and Ruby were married.  They went with their parents to the preacher's house and were married on a Saturday, with Bob in full uniform.  Ruby had to obtain permission from the school to get married.  She was married on Saturday, and went back to school the next Monday.  Later, she followed Bob down to San Antonio and Uvalde, Texas as well as other training spots.  When the war ended, Bob was in Enid, Oklahoma.

I found out a lot about Ruby's parents, Clemon and June (Gilliland) Lambertson, during my conversation and cleared up a mystery.  The mystery was why the family had moved from Elwood in Madison County to up near Greentown in Howard County during the 1940-41 period.  I knew that Clemon's parents lived up there, and had assumed that was the reason for the move.  While that was true, Ruby also added that the major reason for the move was that "dad (Clemon) wanted to have a garden."  He apparently loved to garden, and had about 3 acres to grow tomatoes, etc.  I learned that grandma June canned all types of vegetables.  

Apparently, I get my gardening instincts naturally from both sides of the family, though to be fair I grow vegetables as a hobby, not a necessity.  I would imagine during that time period it was more of a necessity than a pleasure.

Bob stated that they lived near Phlox, Indiana which is Union Township, Howard County.  This fits with the other information I have about the Lambertson land in Howard County - and another avenue for later research.  During the two years or so they lived in Howard County, Clemon continued to drive back to Elwood to work for the Sellers cabinet factory.  Ruby told me how that was a big change for them because she had to ride the bus to school in Greentown.  Back then, families only had one car and her dad had to take it to work.

Eventually, this move proved to be a drain on the family finances and they moved back to Elwood, but in a different house.  My research into city directories in Elwood seems to confirm this.  

Ruby shared that her mother, June, worked at the cannery with the women and loved it.  Bob thought that the cannery was near Point Isabel.  They also mentioned that the family may have lived just north of Elwood at one point after moving from Howard county.  Ruby's dad worked at Sellers and when I asked about painting, she stated that he did some painting and hanging of wallpaper, but not as a business.  Bob told the story about how Clemon was supposed to help show him how to hang ceiling wallpaper one time when they were just married, but Clemon had a hernia operation and had to just "tell him" how to do - he chuckled at the story.

Bob shared about his experiences working with his dad's welding shop and told me about where certain businesses used to be located in Elwood.  His mind is sharp and it's hard to realize that he's not still living in that town, as familiar as he is with it.

We talked a lot about their daughter, Vickie, and the struggles she went through with her health - all of the transplants, doctors, etc.  It was obvious that they are still hurting and yet very proud of Vickie's strength.  They showed me pictures of the church in where Vickie's husband was the pastor and the Christmas decorations that Vickie was in charge of.  They also told me how they would get up early and drive across the state (two hours) to attend church with them.

I didn't write anything down or record the "interview", just allowed them to talk and share their stories.  I hope I remembered it all.  Since I found out that Bob likes to correspond, I think I will start writing some letters and ask even more questions.

1 comment:

Gloria LeMaster said...

Sounds like you learned alot. Glad you got to visit with them.