[Ruby Thompson Woodruff was the great-aunt of Anna Belle Gray Wilson. When Anna came to live in her grandparents’ household as an infant due to the illness and eventual death of her mother, Alice Madora Thompson Gray, Ruby would have been about 10 years old.]

I am Ruby Thompson’s oldest grandaughter. She married James (Richard) Wayne Woodruff and they migrated to the Central Valley in California in the early 1930’s. Eventually, not being able to conceive, they adopted an eleven month-old baby girl, whom they named Patricia Lorraine. “Patty” was to be their only child, as they were in their mid-thirties when she was adopted, and they were deemed too old to be able to adopt any more children. Patty grew-up and married and had 3 daughters. Grandmother and Grandfather could not have possibly spoiled us more!

Wayne and Ruby eventually built a “Sears house” (ordered from the Sears Catalogue!) in Corcoran, California. Their home was small, but always emaculate and their yard was the envy of (and source of “starts” for) the entire town. At some point of which I was too little to remember, they donated a huge, blue spruce out of their yard to become the city Christmas tree.

Grandmother worked as a telephone operater for the phone company and Grandfather worked as a lineman for the power company. Ruby and Wayne were also very active in the Methodist Church for many years. I remember Grandmother having so many knacks: for sewing, knitting, crochetting, cooking, canning, baking, playing Bridge, Canasta, and playing DoubleSolitare and Chinese Checkers with me for hours on end. Her rose garden began the Corcoran Hospital’s rose garden when the hospital expanded. Her camillia bushes grew taller than their one-story roof top.

Both of Grandfather’s thumbs were green as well. He grew vegetables and fruits all over their back and side yards. This included the big, tall, beautiful, watermelon-red poppies. They were actually community favorites, decorating weddings, funerals and whatever else the Ladie’s Auxillary at the Methodist Church had in mind. Everyone was so sad when the County Shariff had to ask Grandfather to stop growing them.

Grandfather died in Corcoran and my mother sold their house and moved Grandmother to a very nice retirement home in Fresno, where she was then living. All of them are now buried in the Corcoran Cemetery. I hope that we will be able to keep in touch! cdq…

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