I called her Grannie or Ruby Lee. Either was fine with her. She lived in north central Austin on a short street, just off of Burnet Road, up in the 5500 block.
As an adult running around Austin in the construction business if I was anywhere close to her neighborhood I would drop in. That is if I had time to kill. There were no short visits with her. She always had a lot to say. The only thing that would stop most of the talking was when the Price is Right came on.
I’ll never know how anyone could live in a house that was so hot or a with television turned up that loud.
I was sitting there with her the day the Challenger blew up. I never will forget watching that with her.
She was always an independent person, spending her last forty years without a husband. She had learned to be cautious, living alone in the city. There was always someone coming to the door trying to play a con on an old woman. She always kept her doors locked.
One day I went by to see her but she wasn’t there. I figured she had just gone off the the grocery store so I decided to wait. My pickup was parked along the street as was many other vehicles on any given day in that neighborhood.
I little later when she opened the front door and I was sitting on her couch watching TV. She was startled. She knew I didn’t have a key, so how had I gotten in?
I told her to put her purse down a come with me into the kitchen and I’d show her how I’d gotten in.
I must tell you is that she was a fairly rotund woman. She was so ready to see how, I could have gotten her to climb up on top of the refrigerator.
I said “get down here and look at the crack under the back door“. She got lower and lower. Finally she was laying completely down in the floor peering at the smallest of cracks underneath her back door.
By then had also gotten down in the floor with her. With my head next to hers I said “okay now look at that window screen up above the kitchen sink…… I took a screw driver and reached in through the little hole in the screen a flipped the little latch on it, then I climbed right in”.
She had always considered that the window was too small and too high for someone to crawl through, so she always always left that window cracked for ventilation. That’s nothing she would ever do anywhere else in the house.
She started to laugh, because I had gotten her down in the floor. The more she laughed the more helpless she became. The more helpless she became, the more she laughed.
I couldn’t get her up. It became a ridiculous scene. I think I even became worried that I would have to call for help to get her off of the floor. Finally I suggested that she turn around, with my help dragging her, she crawled to the living room, where I helped her finally get up on the couch.
She shut that little window after that and nailed it. I don’t think it was ever opened again.