Do any of you know Ruth Elliott? I met her in the 80s when she lived in Springfield and used to come by my office now and then at the block company. She was an aspiring novelist, active in the area chapter of Writers Guild, and had an opinion about everything. She sometimes reminded me of a pepper pot and wasn’t much bigger than one.
Years passed. Ruth’s husband, Mike, began to suffer from poor health, so they moved to Las Vegas to live with one of their children. Not long afterward, she finally got that novel published. She was 85 when it came out. It was a singular achievement and one of the highlights of her life. But hardly the only one. She took up teaching at a college for seniors, an idea I’ve tried futilely to get established in Springfield.
Ruth lost Mike but kept up the pace. In 2016 she turned 96, still drove, and was teaching three semesters each year. She sent me a list of “Immutable Laws.” I kept it. Here are some examples:
Law of Logical Argument
Anything is possible IF you don’t know what you are talking about.
Law of Physical Appearance
If the clothes fit, they’re ugly.
Law of Public Speaking
A closed mouth gathers no feet!
And that was the last time I heard from Ruth — November 14, 2016. Since then my notes to her have gone unanswered. Yesterday I heard from Ruth’s daughter, Sara, who explained that her mother is very ill and can no longer handle the phone or computer. Sounds like a warrior is about to lay down her sword and rest.
I hope you’ll keep Ruth Elliott in your thoughts.