My aunt, Ruth Wolfe was my dad, Allen Spencer’s younger sister. She had three older siblings, Laura Fredrick, William Spencer, and my dad; as well as two older half siblings, Dorothy (died when she was six months) and Norman Spencer. To my knowledge, the kids might have met Norman a few times, but not very much for sure. That makes me sad, because from what I have learned of Norman, he was a wonderful man. I wish they all could have known him better. Life as a child was good for Aunt Ruth, even though money was never abundant. Aunt Ruth learned to be resourceful, and she really excelled at it.
Aunt Ruth had a softer side. She could play almost any musical instrument by simply picking it up and playing. I’m not saying that she was a world class musician, but she could make music, and that is far more than I could do with an instrument. Aunt Ruth could “spin a yarn” too. Sometimes I wasn’t sure if her stories were true or fiction, but I think they were likely a mix of both. She knew a lot about weather patterns, which she demonstrated once in our kitchen, when she noticed that the wind (which is almost never still in Casper), had stopped. She jumped up and went to the window, proclaiming that there was a tornado or funnel cloud nearby. We later learned that there had been a funnel cloud…and I was shocked.
Aunt Ruth was also quite self-sufficient. She gardened and canned, and she could build things too. All these things led later to the family’s ability to be “off the grid,” when living “off the grid” was not a known word or a “thing” at all. While living “off the grid” was really unusual in her lifetime, Aunt Ruth, her husband, Uncle Jim Wolfe, and their family chose that lifestyle in the 1980s. She was one of those people who could make a meal out of what most of us would view as nothing. Dinnertime was simply “different” by today’s standards, but them these days, anything that isn’t a hamburger is considered unusual…ok, maybe not exactly, but you get the picture. I’m not saying that Aunt Ruth ate “possum grits” or squirrel, but I can’t say she didn’t either. I suppose in some places, those things might be considered a delicacy, but I’ll pass. Nevertheless, at Aunt Ruth’s place, you might get mustard and onion sandwiches (that might have been invented by Uncle Jim and maybe my dad helped), but you might get it at Aunt Ruth’s table…probably not my cup of tea either, but I’m not a huge onion fan. Nevertheless, Aunt Ruth could fix just about any meal and make it taste great. Today would have been Aunt Ruth’s 98th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Aunt Ruth. We love and miss you very much.