“Good morning, Cath-urn,” she’d say with a big smile, eyes shining behind her big glasses.
“How’ve you been, my friend?” she’d ask.
I’d pause by her desk in the front office and say, “Not too bad, Rosie, not bad at all,” and we’d both laugh.
My trip down memory lane as the retirement date approaches would not be complete without a remembrance of Rosie.
Whether sipping on her signature drink—warm water—or pounding on the keyboard of her trusty electric typewriter (which she bought at a garage sale years ago), things were just about always, always rosie in Rosie Ruby’s world. Likely things still are, because even though her life was cut short by a brief battle with a very aggressive form of cancer, you just have to end up somewhere really great when you’re as sweet and as happy as Rosie was.
I was always a little jealous of Rosie. Her life was beautiful because that’s how she saw it. She loved everything about it. She loved her parents, and was so proud of her dad Kenneth Ruby, who was the Imlay City Fair manager back in the day.
She loved her brother, Ronald Ruby, very much and was proud of his service in the Vietnam war.
Her mom, her late sister, her friends, her pets, her home and her hometown were all beloved by Rosie.
As was her job. The first job she ever had. The only job she ever had. She was hired in at the Imlay City Times when she was just 18 (in 1963)—encouraged by her dad to schedule an interview—and it was a job she performed almost right up until she passed away at the age of the age of 72 in 2016. My 25 years or so on staff here at Tri-City Times are a mere moment in time compared with Rosie’s lifelong stint.
As with all of my colleagues here at the paper, Rosie and I got to know each other over the years. Rosie liked being front and center in the office—she greeted just about everyone by name because she’d been around so long. She also had zillions of cousins, and we’d joke around that everybody was related to Rosie.
As different as she and I were in every day life, Rosie and I had much in common, too.
We both liked Progresso soups. We shared a fondness for animals, and we…uhm….both had an appreciation for a good looking man.
So when my mom, sisters and I planned a surprise party for my dad’s 80th birthday in October of 2007 and I wrote about it—complete with a photo of my absolutely beaming dad—Rosie made her appreciation known.
On the day the column was published (November 7, 2007), there was a handwritten note on bright pink paper taped to the handset of the phone on my desk.
“Good morning, Catherine (she spelled it right but I still heard “Cath-urn”). Enjoyed your article about your Handsome dad. Rosie”
The word ‘Handsome’ was underlined four times.
Never one to turn down a compliment, I called up my dad to pass along Rosie’s observation. He and I had running jokes about our sometimes over-active egos and how much we both relished a good boost when one came. I delivered the note the next time I visited, and more teasing ensued.
Years later, after my mom’s death in January of 2018, my sisters and I were again together, but not for as fun a cause as planning a family surprise party. Alternating between deep sorrow and semi-maniacal laughter, we were riding the emotional roller coaster as we tackled going through the folks’ things.
Turns out, there were more fun surprises in store, and this time the surprise was on me. There was Rosie’s note! My dad saved it along with a copy of the column I’d written—both neatly tucked away in a clear protective sleeve in his office.
Rosie had a knack for making the world a better place, as did my dad. Obviously, they both still do. Running across this reminder proves that unequivocally.
Email Catherine at email@example.com.
Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.