Rushville Republican

Community News Network

December 6, 2013

A 67-year-old caroling tradition

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

From an early age, Ruthanna learned the importance of a healthy mind and body. How could she not? Her mother was a nutritionist who lived to be 107. Yet though Ruthanna did as her mother said and ate a green and a yellow vegetable every day, she was always small for her age. To her frustration, the nickname her brother gave her, "Puny," stuck for a long time.

The Great Depression hit as Ruthanna was graduating high school, and she had to decline her acceptance to Mount Holyoke College, because her father, who was in the oil business, couldn't afford the room and board. Instead, she enrolled at Findlay College just a few blocks away, from which her mother had graduated.

Ruthanna had taken up piano at age 4, and though she didn't study music in college, she played in a band. As a child, she had discovered she could "play by ear," often needing to hear a song only once before being able to play it. In high school she often performed at school shows. "The only trouble was that I was always down at the piano while the others were up on the stage having fun," Ruthanna remembered, chuckling.

After graduating from Findlay and to help supplement her pay as a high school English teacher, Ruthanna gave piano lessons and directed a church choir. She enjoyed teaching but wanted to make music a bigger part of her life. Ruthanna spent two summers at the University of Wisconsin in Madison working on a graduate degree in music. But she would never get to finish her thesis.

On a blisteringly hot day in August 1942, waiting for her train home, Ruthanna saw a poster of a young, female Uncle Sam exhorting: "Join the WAVES. The Navy Needs You." Three hours later she had set herself on a completely different career path and was enrolled in the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service.

Text Only
Community News Network
Featured Ads
AP Video
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.