This is my grandmother. She died in 1959 when I was 2 weeks old.
Mary Roberts’ Memory of Ruby Grace Lundquist Smuin
My mother’s sister Marilyn wrote to her Aunt Mary Roberts asking what she remembered about my grandmother Ruby. Mary was her half-sister. This is what she replied:
I remember a few things when I was a little girl. Our dad (Emanuel Richard Lundquist) died one night in his sleep. I heard Ruby say to her sister, Elsie, “He’s with Mother now.” I couldn’t quite understand it, but that’s the way it was. I remember your mother loved flowers so. In Glendale she saved the apple peelings to dig in under the rose bushes. She said it made them prettier with more color. Also once when I visited your family in Glendale your mother fixed me some fresh figs covered with a bit of cream and brown sugar. Needless to say I loved the taste, and still do to this day. Clyde [Mary’s husband] always said Ruby was the best one in the family. She always had such a sweet disposition.
I remember your mother and dad had a breakfast or lunch after their marriage ceremony and it consisted of raw oysters. I could never understand why anyone could relish oysters.
We all remember Mom’s favorite place, the kitchen. What wonderful meals! Especially on Sunday, we came home from Church to that tantalizing aroma of roast beef, mashed potatoes, rich brown gravy and always fresh vegetables. Dessert was often sponge cake layered with raspberry jam and dusted with powdered sugar on top. Dad’s specialty was turning the crank for the freezer of homemade vanilla ice cream. Meals were not “fancy” but always delicious. Homemade bread, warm from the oven after school was torn apart, smothered with butter and honey and devoured in minutes. Company and holiday meals were memorable events. Everyone loved to come to our place for dinner. My interest and love for cooking began early and I learned a lot from Mom.
She always loved handiwork and made numerous crocheted items, and did cross stitch and embroidery. She took night classes in basketry, lampshade making, and decorative pillow making. She also loved to read, especially historical novels. She had many artistic talents. After we moved to San Gabriel in 1941 she thought about going back to work. She was a cosmetologist and started back to work when I was halfway through high school. She worked at the Del Mar Beauty shop in San Gabriel, and a few years later became manager, and then owner of the business.
All was going well until she began getting extremely tired and after work would just collapse at home. In 1952 it was discovered she had breast cancer. She continued to work at the beauty shop until nearly the end of her life. She died on February 19, 1959. Her cause of death was listed as “adenocarcinoma of breast” and the last 6 months of her life, “metastatic cancer to lungs and liver. She was 61 years old. I was with her at the end. She died in my arms. She was a wonderful mother; how I loved her and wanted to be like her.