Today is my Grandmother Ruby’s birthday. She died on the 19th of February, a few weeks after I was born in 1959, so I never really knew her. But I know she met me and held me, and that’s enough for now.
My mother, Grace Helen Smuin Laemmlen recorded this:
My mother, Ruby Grace Lundquist Smuin, was born in Salt Lake City January 6, 1898. She was a gentle, loving and caring lady. All loved her. I remember Mom and the beautiful red rose bushes along the entire length of one side of our home in Eagle Rock. How she loved roses! She would mulch them, spray them with a little hand sprayer, prune them, pinch back buds to make larger blooms, and care for them so tenderly. On the opposite side of the lawn was her flower garden with so many beautiful flowers of all kinds. I especially remember the yellow cosmos and when they turned to seed, how intriguing it was to pull them apart seed by seed. Also among the variety of flowers were her specialty of roses and sweet peas. There were tall blue delphiniums, zinnias, marigolds, and even a row of beets and onions planted in between. It was always colorful. There were always fresh cut flowers in the house. Our small back yard had two apricot trees with a swing in each one. It was shady in the yard and there was a spot for violets and mint. By the time I was 10 I knew the names of nearly all common flowers and shrubs.
And here are some memories of Grandma Ruby from my Aunt Mary Roberts (a step sister to Ruby):
We all remember Ruby’s favorite place, the kitchen. What wonderful meals! Especially on Sunday, we came home from Church to that tantalizing aroma of roast beef, mashed potatoes, rich brown gravy and always fresh vegetables. Dessert was often sponge cake layered with raspberry jam and dusted with powdered sugar on top. Dad’s specialty was turning the crank for the freezer of homemade vanilla ice cream. Meals were not “fancy” but always delicious. Homemade bread, warm from the oven after school was torn apart, smothered with butter and honey and devoured in minutes. Company and holiday meals were memorable events. Everyone loved to come to our place for dinner.
She always loved handiwork and made numerous crocheted items, and did cross stitch and embroidery. She took night classes in basketry, lampshade making, and decorative pillow making. She also loved to read, especially historical novels. She had many artistic talents. After we moved to San Gabriel in 1941 she thought about going back to work. She was a cosmetologist and started back to work when I was halfway through high school. She worked at the Del Mar Beauty shop in San Gabriel, and a few years later became manager, and then owner of the business. All was going well until she began getting extremely tired and after work would just collapse at home. In 1952 it was discovered she had breast cancer. She continued to work at the beauty shop until nearly the end of her life. She died on February 19, 1959. She was 61 years old.