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September 13, 2006
Role of wife and mother a career
| RUBY MCCALLUM stands beside a few of the salt and peppershaker sets she has collected over the years.|
|Jean Gray photo|
HAXTUN, Colorado (STPNS) -- Ruby McCallum?s small home is filled with knick-knacks and photos of family. As we talk, she sits behind a small school desk where she had been paying bills. Her husband Charles admits he has not written the check to make one payment on their home. She has always paid the bills, he said. ?If they were to ask me to show them where I made an payment on this house, I couldn?t do it. I was working. I never had time. She took care of it all.?
Ruby and Charles have a comfort with each other that comes with time and learned respect. Charles seems to know as much about Ruby?s salt and pepper collection as she does, and he pulls one off the shelf to tell about where it originated and how it ended up on Ruby?s shelf. He also respects the role Ruby has as a homemaker, understanding that it is a job. When Ruby said she has never worked at a job, Charles disagrees. ?Well, you did too,? he said. ?By the time you wash the dishes, wash the clothes, vacuum, dust this and dust that, and pay the bills, you?ve done a lot. I?d call that a job.?
Ruby was born Ruby Wasson on Oct. 3, 1921 in Kit Carson County near Siebert. She jokes that her mother found her out on fence post where she was left by a bird. It was a family joke where one perhaps was needed. She was the fifth of six children and has outlived her three brothers and two sisters.
Growing up between Siebert and Vona, Ruby attended a country school north of Siebert. That country school is gone now, said Ruby, as is the town?s country store. Ruby recalled that one of her fellow students, a young man a couple of years younger than she, tried to kiss her during recess. ?I hauled off and slugged him in the head,? she said, adding that the young man did not try to kiss her again. ?He changed his mind after I got through with him.?
At the time, Ruby was in eighth grade. A couple of years later, at age 16, she was married. She said it happened so many years ago, she does not recall the date, but the couple had four sons. They later divorced and he has since passed away.
Her oldest son, Ronald, died as an infant at age four months, from pneumonia. ?It was winter and we didn?t have much for heat,? said Ruby.
Son Wayne Rasmussen and wife Virginia live at Wray. They have no children. Son Richard Rasmussen lives in Grass Valley, Calif., which is 80 miles from Reno, Nev., with his girlfriend. Richard has three children from his previous marriage.
Son Alvin and wife Ruth, live at Babley, Minn., which is about 100 miles from the Canadian Border. They have two children. Alvin has a third child from his first marriage. Ruby also has 14 great-grandchildren.
Ruby?s parents moved to Sterling in 1956, and Ruby and her family moved to Holyoke that same year and her three sons graduated from Holyoke High School. Her first marriage lasted 32 years, but finally ended in divorce. She met Charles in 1972 at a dance.
Charles explains that he had watched her from across the room. ?I would dance with any woman that would dance with me,? said Charles, explaining that they were both single at the time. He has been married twice before, but has no children. ?I?d been there for about an hour and I noticed that nobody was dancing with her,? said Charles. ?So, I walked over and said, you been a wall flower long enough. How about a dance? She said, ?well, sure.? So, we danced the rest of the evening.?
?And he took me home,? said Ruby. ?Otherwise, I would have had to walk.?
She said after that, Charles kept coming to see her. They were married in 1973 and moved to Haxtun in 1975.
After being married the second time for over 30 years, Ruby said she has been married for most of her life. Charles anticipates that it will be for the rest of her life. ?We are figuring on being married another 33 years, then it?s debatable what we do after that,? he said. Ruby does not disagree.
These days the two spend a lot of time playing bingo in Sterling. They play at the Knights of Columbus Hall, the Elks Club and the American Legion.
They also make trips to see Ruby?s children, that Charles now calls his. They have made trips to Minnesota to see Alvin and his family, as well as California to see Richard. This year they plan to meet Richard in Elko, Nev. for a visit.
In addition to her hobby collecting salt and peppershakers, Ruby also, does embroidery and used to craft two or three baby quilts a year. She does continue the lost art of patching Charles? overalls. He is proud to show off her handy work.
Charles collects platters, some for himself, some to give away. He said every niece and nephew who gets married gets a platter. Both admit that they have both been collecting for stuff for over 30 years.
Ruby said she and Charles used to walk downtown to watch the Corn Festival Parade, but these days it is hard for her to walk that far. Charles said he would make sure Ruby shows up to ride in the parade as a grand marshal.
?If they have room, I?ll ride,? said Ruby.
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