Recently, Ninety Over Ninety guest Ruby Lambert was asked in her interview if she had any regrets over the course of her 96 years. Not expecting this question, Ruby pledged to get back with me. Several days later I received a package of some of Ruby’s writing, containing descriptions of some of her “regrets”. With her permission, 900 Words is publishing a few of these for your reading pleasure. Thanks Ruby for your candor, your memory, your humble spirit and your goodness.
Dear Ninety Over Ninety:
I want to thank you for inquiring, (rather reluctantly I thought) if there had been anything in my life I would change if I had the opportunity to go back. As a result of your inquiry I have decided to address this very subject. I think for me this will be very therapeutic. You did not know your were delving into psychiatry did you?
Way back in the forties, when I was a member of a women’s group at Salem United Methodist Church, we were given the name of a little girl to whom we would write and send a Christmas gift or birthday present. This was a child who had no place to go on summer vacation. We wanted to see her and extend an invitation for her to come visit some of us in our homes for a week in the summertime. A group of us went down to visit her. She was so excited I can still see how her brown eyes sparkled with anticipation when we talked with her. For some reason we never found the time to follow up on this and it still bothers me. There is no valid excuse for disappointing a child in this way.
When I was about ten years of age my best friend invited me to go with her family to a church service at White Plains Baptist Church. On the program there was a family group composed of the father, mother, and two little boys who had been invited to sing for us. They were obviously very humble, very poor but quite talented.
The next day my friend was visiting me and we were out in my front yard weeding my mother’s flower garden. We saw this little family coming down the road and thought it would be a good idea to mock their singing (I can think of no other motivation). We sang out a few words of one of their songs, in a very mocking manner, as they walked by.
I can still see the expression on the little boy’s face as he turned to look at us, and I think it must have been like the expression on the face of Jesus when Judas betrayed him. You can bet I never again succumbed to the temptation to mock anyone. I have tears in my eyes as I ask myself how I could have been so cruel. This is the first time I have ever written this down.
I will start this narrative with what I hope will be an explanation of my behavior. When I was in high school I was going steady with a very handsome and popular young man. He graduated a year ahead of me and when he went away to school that was the end of our romance. He fell in love with someone else and I was completely out of circulation. Everyone assumed I was still his girl but I finally got back in the mainstream of activity and I said to myself, “self, somebody may get hurt in this relationship but it’s not going to be little old me.”
I was so determined not to get hurt again I am afraid I developed a mean streak. My poor mother was placed in the position of having to explain why I was not at home on the several occasions when my dates appeared at the door. Mama had been so faithful to daddy, not dating when he went overseas and never dating anyone else, she was totally perplexed at my treatment of my boy friends. Yet she tried valiantly to cover for me.
I always wanted to have a date on Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday nights, as well as Sunday afternoons, so I would give somebody a date, then if someone I liked better came along I would give him a date and go out with the first one who arrived at my door. For about six months I got away with this but then I decided I had inflicted enough pain and decided to try to be a good girl. It wasn’t easy but I tried!
Ruby Blackburn Lambert was born October 14, 1920 in Lambsburg, Virginia. She was married to the late Fred Lambert for over sixty-three years and together they raised three children: Fred, Arlette, and Jim. She is the proud grandmother of six and great grandmother of twelve. She is retired from a career as a corporate administrative assistant and enjoys writing, reading and bringing joy to everyone she meets. She is also involved in her church life and spends time keeping up with her family and friends by way of the internet.