Scenes from a Life - Quandary

The quandary over whether to go forward with Ruth’s story continues. Since the article and then the critical letter to the editor appeared in the Sunday news, I have been talking with quite a few other people about whether to proceed with this project.

As I mentioned in my blog post this past weekend, I met with six of Ruth’s relatives and asked for their perspective. They surmised that since Ruth so carefully and thoroughly documented and preserved much of her own history and her family’s history through her scrapbooks and photo albums, that she would not have wanted all of that to go into the dumpster. They also felt that she would have been pleased for other people to know about some of the unique things she did in her life. These family members were inspired and touched by what I’ve written about Ruth so far, and they felt the story of her life had the potential to inspire and touch other people as well. They observed that since the writer of the letter to the editor of the Sunday News was a co-worker of Ruth’s for only a few years when Ruth was in her early 20’s, the concerns he raised might not be relevant to Ruth’s later years. However, they also acknowledged that none of them were close to Ruth, that Ruth was a private person and somewhat “separate” from the family, and they weren’t really sure exactly what Ruth would have wanted. But they encouraged me to continue, with their support and blessing.

Today, I received input from one of Ruth’s closest friends for 40 years. She “basically agrees with the man who wrote a letter to the editor of the Sunday paper – that Ruth was a very private person, very sweet person, but she wouldn’t want a book written about her and she wouldn’t want to relive” painful events from her life nor have them made public.

I also received a perspective today from someone who knew Ruth and Sol, and whose grandmother was friends with Ruth for many years. That person said: “I’m not sure that her leaving scrapbooks out meant she wanted the house and her life to be on public display.” This person added: “I am very glad that you treasure her house and her garden. That would have pleased Ruth immensely.”

Next week, I am meeting with another person who was friends with Ruth and Sol for many years, and with a couple of people who knew Ruth quite well in a professional capacity. I will seek their perspective as well. And once I’ve done so, I intend to make a clear decision whether to continue to research and write about Ruth’s life or not.

I greatly appreciate the many emails, phone calls and messages I’ve received from YOU, my readers, neighbors, friends and family members, offering your own affirmation and encouragement to continue. It means so much to me to know you have enjoyed following Ruth’s story and our project to restore her childhood home. Rest assured that I WILL continue to look for interesting, inspiring people and stories to share via my blog and perhaps via another book. But in the case of Ruth’s story, those who knew Ruth personally are the people whose perspectives I must respect and give the greatest weight in making this decision.

Thank you for following my blog! Please stay tuned for a decision about Ruth’s story, and of course, for new blog posts about the other topics I cover: Lancaster city life and culture, community activism and restorative justice…

Posted by Melanie Tagged as: city life lancaster pa ruths story

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