Jun 3, 2007

Ruth M

This morning my pastor (and friend) touched on friendships. He reminisced about a boy in school nobody talked to because he was different....not that my pastor/friend didn't want to talk to him....but because when you're a teenager, friends occupy your time, and it just slips by.

I stopped hearing what he said briefly, my mind flooded with memories. Memories of that one untouchable girl. Ruth M, the girl with nothing, the girl who smelled, that showered at school because there was no running water in her home, whose teeth were never clean, the front one chipped. I used to talk to her, for awhile, and just casually...no plans to hang out were ever considered, much less verbalized.

I try and recall when I stopped talking to her and when I began to view her with disdain. I can't pinpoint the year.

Disdain. I didn't understand her. Nobody did. She was different. Why didn't she just wash, shave, wear clean clothes that FIT? I honestly didn't know those simple things were beyond her reach--I don't know if any of us in my circle of friends understood what that entailed. Poverty was something on television, kids starving in Africa. In our early years as parents, John and I struggled, stretching our shampoo to the last drop, cutting dryer sheets in half. Before I was responsible for a family myslef, I would just drive over to Dad's drugstore, buzz in on my way home from school and grab what I needed. And if it was a Friday, grab some perfume, maybe beg a few bucks off Dad, then off to get ready to see my friends or boyfriend. It was that simplistic.

So, in the teenaged, self-indulged, incredibly insensitive-at-times life I lived, it was Ruth's fault that she was different. So she didn't deserve to have the attention of our small town's self-elected elite. And I wouldn't be able to rescue her from hateful words lobbed her way every day--why should I when she WOULDN'T help herself? I knew she was poor, I never got it, though, that that meant she wouldn't go out with friends, she wouldn't go home and jump into a bath, put on afun Madonna-inspired skirt and meet her boyfriend for dinner.

As our school years dragged along, her circumstances didn't change but she did. Suddenly she was harddened....in fact, she could be down right mean from time to time. Angry. I recall pondering this turn of events my senior year. It kind of justified the treatment she got.

I knew better than most what she felt, just different venue, different reasons. For survival's sake, I wasn't about to empathize with Ruth, lest I bring it to my locker. Honestly I think back and I know by the time my senior year rolled around, I was far too broken to help her. But I very much wish I had. Despite it.

I think after hearing today's sermon I will email Ruth. We had our 20th reunion in October (hence the pictures)...she emailed the organizer, who was our class Type A. Ruth told her what her life was now, how she looked forward to seeing everyone. I saw on that public bulletin what she wrote, I waited to see what Type A would say. And waited. Waited.....Should have just written her myself...so I can't completely opt out of blame here. But the risk! Taking over and writing a response to a letter not directed to me would be.....rude. And maybe when I got to the reunion, others wouldn't approve.

Ruth M wasn't at our 20th reunion. I will probably find a woman defeated like I sometimes feel myself...but with just enough hope left in her that there are people who care. That God is faithful, he won't let us break completely.

I know this isn't a very upbeat entry--my latest haven't been. I'll try and do better this week--maybe it's the time of year, idk. I wanted to post my side by side comparison of Alan Colmes and the Wizard Of Oz flying monkey--helloooo!--they're twins, only the monkey has a cute little vest and hat. But....John saw what I was about to do and stopped me because it was mean. Me? I'm still giggling! xo

June 5 Update: Brief email and pictures of have been sent.


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Cat said...

yep, I knew of some kids in school like that myself. I was one who always was nice to them, but never took it a step further and included them. I could never be rude or mean to anyone to their face. but I didn't want to be associated with them either. I too thought of this during Chucks sermon, after getting over the embarasement of the "talking to myself" incident. LOL
Going out of town today, will be back on Wednesday sometime.
Take care and will call you soon.

tegdirb92 said...


Thanks for stopping by my blog today! Regarding the question you had about substituting cottage cheese for ricotta cheese in the bread recipe I have posted:
you could use cottage cheese, but you would have to strain it for a few hours to drain the whey out of it. Otherwise the moisture content would be too high in cottage cheese.

You have a great blog!! I somehow missed your wordless wednesday so I signed it :) Your dog is adorable!! I've had a Ruth M. in my life too. Amazing how much you remember as a child, those vivid memroies. Take Care.


Cherry said...

I have Ruth M in my highschool too. But communication is hard in here since at that time only very few of us actually own and check email. So if RuthM changed phone number there would be no way to contact her. All we have in record is just phone number and name :(.

Girl Gone Wild said...

I never stayed at a school long enough to be the nice but non-committal friend nor the Ruth M. But I can see how it happens. I think it's wonderful that you're willing to reach out now. She might be apprehensive at first, but at least she'll know she wasn't invisible to everyone.

Side note: Cat was talking to herself in church?!?!!? What was that?