Sunday, June 11, 2017

The One Fail In My Life

Friday in 'On the Trail of (a) Beauty', I said that I had expected Frances would turn out to be one of Aunt Lulu's daughters, but she wasn't. I mentioned that Lulu & Jack Fail's two daughters were Nellie Ruth and Lucylle Maxine and they were my Grandpa George's first cousins. I don't think I ever met Lucylle, but Ruth (the name she went by) was a part of my life. By the time I knew her she was Ruth Fail Wyatt, the Mrs. Wyatt who was the librarian at Corning High School.

One of my old diaries has helped refresh some of my memories of her. It was my senior year in high school and on the first full day of school during study hall, I went into the library and signed up to work sixth period because I couldn't stand the study hall teacher!
A week later I wrote: "I worked in the library 6th hour. Typed for Mrs. Wyatt today. Really lots of fun. I like it loads." And a week after that I wrote that I had changed my opinion of that study hall teacher and decided I really liked him. I did not go back to study hall however.

Most of the work I did in the library was typing, sometimes cards for new books, etc., but quite a bit for Mrs. Wyatt's sorority work. I wish I knew now which sorority she belonged to.
In fact there's much about her I wish I had paid attention to. I know she talked to me some about how we were related and about other family members, but at that time in my life I wasn't too interested.
Mrs. Wyatt brooked no nonsense in her library. She was strict about following the rules: no gum, no talking, no cutting up, etc. If you were in the library it was to do research or to check out a book. She came across as crabby and some thought she didn't like kids because she had none of her own. But even on days when she wasn't overtly friendly toward me, I knew she liked me. Whether it was because I was family or just because I loved books and reading, I don't know; possibly both.

One hazy memory I had was of her bringing a cake for her young library helpers. But what was the reason? I found it in my diary - the family of the girl standing on the far right in the above photo was moving to Nebraska. Mrs. Wyatt brought the cake as a going away recognition for her. That's me second from right leaning over someone seated in the same pose as Mrs. Wyatt leaning over and pointing to something in the middle of the photo.

On November 21, 1960 I wrote in my diary, "Uncle Bill died." (Dad's uncle, my great-uncle.) On the 23rd I noted "Mrs. Wyatt went to Uncle Bill's funeral". Well of course she did. Even if I didn't grasp the connection at the time, they were first cousins.

On the last day I worked in the library before Christmas break, "Mrs. Wyatt gave me a blue rhinestone necklace". (As you can see, I still have it.) I don't think it was meant as a Christmas present; more likely a 'thank you' for helping in the library. I never mentioned the library in my diary after the holidays, so maybe I only worked for/with her that one semester.

At the Awards Assembly on May 10, two weeks before high school graduation, I received this Library pin. (Also a Quill & Scroll pin for work on the school paper.)

Ruth Fail Wyatt was the only Fail directly in my life as a memorable part of it. My fail was in not paying more attention to her when I could have - how much I would appreciate her stories now!

No comments:

Post a Comment