The Maynard
Spring 2015

Evie Ruddy


We visited her in a nursing home on her 90th birthday. I was 5. “Who’s the boy,” she asked, looking at me. I had short hair and was wearing pants. She thought the year was 1920. It scared me that she couldn’t recognize her own daughter. “It’s me, Mom,“ my grandma would say. But Great-grandma stared right through her. Once, Grandma said, “Mom, do you know who I am?” And she replied, “No, but you please me.” Great-grandma thought she owned the nursing home. Sometimes she’d say, “My husband was so kind, he left me all these workers.” Her maiden name was Schultheis. She was a farmwife and a teacher. She wore her hair in a bun and an afghan on her lap. She believed in God and the natural healing properties of apple cider vinegar. She left me a crucifix, a rosary, a sacred heart badge, a prayer book written in French, and the musical notes to a song she wrote. Right before she died, she looked at my grandmother and must have seen her daughter’s face. Her last words were, “I love you,” in German.