I called her Granny or Ruby Lee. Either was fine with her. She lived in north central Austin on a short street, just off of Burnet Road in the 5500 block.
As an adult running around Austin in the construction business if I was 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.
How anyone could live in a house that was so hot or a TV turned up so loud, I’ll never know?
I was sitting there with her the day the Challenger blew up. I never will forget watching that with her. We sat mesmerized for hours that day, watching the coverage.
She was always an independent person, spending many years without a husband. She had learned to be cautious in life, living in the city. There were hucksters always coming to the door trying to play a con on an old woman.
She was meticulous about keeping her doors locked. One day I went by to see her and 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.
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 made entry?
Another thing I must tell you is that she was a fairly rotund woman. When this incident happened she would have been nearing 80 years old.
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 then had her get down in the floor. 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.
I 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 and flipped the little latch and 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 open. 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 ridiculously comical scene. I think I even became concerned that I would have to call for help to get her up. Finally I suggested that she turn around, with my help dragging her she crawled to the living room, where I helped her get up on the couch.
She shut that little window after that and nailed it. I don’t think it was ever opened again.