Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ruth Wright Johnston

My grandmother was never an easy person to love. She had an extremely critical eye, especially for members of her family. She was never comfortable giving compliments to her family. She would talk about how great my aunt was, but only to my mom, never directly to my aunt. She seemed to go out of her way to be difficult, as if she was testing the limits or boundaries of your love. She would say horrible, offensive things on purpose, it seemed, as if she wanted to prove to herself that we didn't really love her.

In the last five years or so, she seemed to mellow. She started to appreciate the people around her, and even learned how to apologize. She wasn't perfect, and she could always be counted on to tell you how fat you looked, but I always assumed that said more about her own issues with weight than it did about my body. My grandmother was:

  • a child of divorce (my great-grandmother ran away from her husband in 1929, and even changed her and my grandma's last name so he couldn't find them)
  • a swim suit model (she had a front cover of Harper's Bazaar and a back cover of Vogue in the 1940s)
  • a mother of three
  • a divorced woman in the 1950s
  • a working woman
  • a mother whose child died (my uncle committed suicide in 1975)
  • a widow (her second husband, my Grandpa Paul, died when I was in high school)
  • a proud, strong, ornery woman

Goodbye, Grandma.

Ruth Wright Johnston
4/29/25 - 10/15/08

Me, Grandma and my mom, with Vivian