Scenes from a Life - Ruth’s Story - 1945 - End of the Ogontz Years

Scenes from a Life - Ruth’s Story - 1945 - End of the Ogontz Years

All the clues I’ve uncovered so far point to Ruth having been an unconventional young woman, even perhaps a bit of a rebel. For 13 years, Ogontz headmistress, Abby Sutherland, had been trying to shape and mold Ruth to the ideals of young womanhood upon which Abby had so carefully developed the Ogontz School’s reputation. It appears that, at times, Abby Sutherland was exasperated by Ruth’s intransigence. Yet, it is also clear that Abby cared deeply for Ruth and had become somewhat of a surrogate mother to Ruth. During the spring of 1945, Ruth’s final semester at Ogontz, it appears that Ruth tried very hard to do at least some of what was “expected” of Ogontz girls.

She worked on the school magazine, called Mosaic, as Circulation Manager. The yearbook for May, 1945, the year she graduated from Ogontz Junior College, indicates that she was in the Pan American Club, and appeared in the Senior Show, titled “Off the Record.” For the Senior Play, Pride and Prejudice, she was an usher. Ruth was also the Class Historian, as she had been at Ogontz longer, by far, than any other girl at the school.

In the school’s military drills, Ruth had risen to the rank of Second Lieutenant of Company D. She was also in the Anti-Nic Club (though there are no clues about what THAT might have been!) and she was in the Navy League.

An article in the school magazine mentions that on May 22nd, 1945, Ruth was among the “Pupils of Henri Deering and Evelyn Tyson in Recital”. The article goes on to say that, “One of the most delightful selections was the ‘Valse for Two Pianos’ played by Ruth Ehrhart and Mary Ann Muth.” Ruth also played the Organ Chorale from Suite Gothique by Boellmann, and At Evening by Kinder.

The next day was May Day, where Ruth and all of the Senior Girls were Attendants. She was at the organ again during Commencement, playing the Sortie in D Minor by Rogers.

During the spring semester of 1945, her final semester at Ogontz, Ruth finally made the Honor Roll, apparently for the first time in her Ogontz career. At the year end Awarding of Honors to the Graduates, Ruth received “Miss Austin’s Award” – though there’s no information about the purpose of that award. And Ruth received a special award for Longest Continuous Attendance: 13 Years.

It must have been bittersweet for Ruth to not have her father there to celebrate her graduation with her. It appears that her mother was in California visiting friends or relatives when Ruth graduated from Ogontz. But Abby Sutherland was most certainly there, and I can imagine her quietly cheering for the young woman she’d shepherded through childhood and all of her growing up years.

In the graduation edition of the school magazine, her friends and classmates wrote this about “our Ruthie”:

“Many years has Ruthie studied,
Played and laughed and grown up tall.
Into other hands we give her,
College, Music. We pray all
That’s good and true may follow
And the best of luck befall.”

It was time for Ruth to move on, beyond the sheltering walls of the Ogontz School . . .

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

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