Ruth lived one block up on the left of my street, kitty corner from the neighborhood swim club. Up until a few years ago, I didn't know Ruth. She lived in a house with a 3' high chain length fence around it, ivy crawling up the chains. There was a protective front door and black security bars on the windows.
She was one of the neighbors you just saw. Ruth. She was not the type of person just to come out and chat. Once in a while she drove her car. Another while you would see her walking around the block.
I got to know Ruth when I worked at a neighborhood health club. She came in a couple of times a week. We would chat. She was a nurse, a Vietnam Vet. She was married to Leonard an officer. I remember because that is my father's name is Leonard. She was the same age as my dad, 86. Ruth said Vietnam wasn't a bad post until they started shooting at you. She only mentioned her only family was on the East Coast. She had been raised by her father.
In the summer months, I would see Ruth in the evenings when I was dog walking. She was usually on her way home from Raleys, carrying a plastic bag each hand. Each bag contained one cylindrical carton of ice cream. Ruth appeared to love her ice cream. Some evenings we'd chat for a minute, some evenings just wave.
Last week there was a moving truck in front of Ruth's house. I found out she'd passed away. The house had been sold. She only had one nephew living on the East Coast. He commissioned the company to sell her estate. The estate sale was to start the next morning.
The garage was full of kitchen items for sale. Sitting in the middle of one of the tables was a Saucy Walker doll just like the one I had when I was little. I felt compelled to go back to the sale.
By the time I got there, the doll was gone. The inside house was immaculate just like I'd expect from a nurse. I found some railroad books to give to my father for Father's day, some records in perfect condition to play on my new turntable and a string of deep blue pearls to remember my neighbor Ruth. Pearls were Ruth's birthstone.
Two days later, the house was closed up. the van was gone. I'm left with memories of my neighbor Ruth.