Something about Ruth

This is a paper I wrote in 2016 about myself for a women’s group I belonged to. I am late with everything so I thought I would just start by sharing this.

A Paper About Me

Some of the Monday Class papers I have enjoyed the most have been about you, the members of Monday Class.  I appreciate getting to you a little bit better.  I like knowing your history, your adventures and even just your everyday life.  So I have decided to tell you about me.  I know this might be boring for some of you so I want pay attention if you nod off.  Most of you don’t know me very well.  I think my claim to fame in Glendale is that I am Roger Foote’s wife.  That I am, but I didn’t meet Roger until very late in life, in my fifties.  There is a lot more to my life than a marriage to Roger.  As I wrote this I realized I could go on and on so I will only touch on the information and try to tell some stories

Let’s begin at my birth.  I was born in Good Samaritan Hospital in 1944, the first child of George and Elva Hittner.  My mother and father were older parents.  My father didn’t marry until he was 41; my mother was 29, 12 years his junior.  My father was the youngest in his family.  His father had died at an early age so George stayed home and took care of his mother until she died. Then he was free to marry.  This was a good German family.   I don’t think this would happen to us today. They’d put us in a nursing home and go off and get married and started their own family.  My mother was the oldest of 5 and her parents died young, in their fifties, and so my mother didn’t marry until her youngest sibling was in the navy.  My parents were 43 and 31 when their first child, Ruth, was born. That might not be old by today’s standard but that was old in my day. The disadvantage to me of having older parents is that I had no grandparents.  They all died before I was born.

I often describe myself as a loved and adored child because I was.

I grew up in College Hill.  As a child I remember my father taking my sister and me for a summertime walk to the neighborhood drug store for a popsicle or ice cream after dinner.  A lady who lived along our route was an avid gardener and would work in your yard most evenings.  As we passed her house, she always talked to my dad saying “are you taking your grandchildren for a walk?”   He never corrected her to say that he was our father not our grandfather.

The first glimpse into my budding personality came in kindergarten. I went to College Hill School for kindergarten and I played hooky. As I look at this now it is hard to believe but I did. I walked to school at 5 years old with a girl that lived down the street.  Her name was Paulette.  She was late and I had to wait for her.  Being concerned that we would be late for school, I convinced Paulette that we should just play in the parking lot behind the drug store,. “ How would we know when to go home she asked?”  Easy I said, “we just wait until we see kids coming home from school and then we go home.”  Well, guess what.  I got caught.  The kids from the parochial school got out at 3 but the public school kids didn’t get out until 3:30. We would have been in much better shape to have been late for school because what we did made our parents come to school as we made an appearance in the principal’s office.

Believe it or not there is one more highlight of my kindergarten years.  I went to kindergarten with Candy Newman.  Only you Cincinnati natives have a chance of knowing who Candy Newman was.  She was Ruth Lyons’ daughter. We knew who she was and all the class was anxious to be her partner in line.

I changed to St. Clare School for grade school.  In those days parochial schools didn’t have kindergarten. So I lost track of Candy Newman.  I had to make new friends. My grade school years were uneventful except for the fact all the children had to go to mass on Sunday and sit with our class and the teachers kept track of who was there,  Your parents had to sit somewhere in the back.  Those were the days of pew rent.  A collection went around and you were supposed to put in a quarter for pew rent.  Isn’t it funny the things we remember from our childhood?

I also remember that I walked home every day for lunch. I cut through the backyard of houses so I could get there quicker. My school didn’t serve lunch.  You had to pack your lunch.  The most you could buy was milk. We had about an hour and a half for lunch.  I always envied the kids that packed their lunch because they got more time on the playground.

My mother was the leader of our Girl Scout troop.  I was a brownie, then a Girl Scout until I finished 8th grade.  My mother was also cookie chairman a couple of years and our 2 car garage was filled with all the College Hill cookies.  That was fun. One year my October 18 birthday fell on the day we had a Girl Scout meeting in out basement so my mother decided to have a little party for me.  Not wanting to put a hardship on anyone (so typical of my mother), she made the party a secret but asked that everyone bring me a handkerchief.  Well you can imagine how disappointed I was!  Nothing but handkerchiefs!! Ah we remember the good times and the bad!!

High School was a different story.  I remember too much, more detail than you want to know.  By the grace f God, my mother and father decided to send me to Ursuline Academy, the old school at Oak and Reading or as the Alma Mater goes “that old gray building on that great highway” That great highway was Reading Road.  I absolutely loved Ursuline.

These were the days when dances were held at the school gymnasium.  The nuns sat at the end of a hall and everyone was expected to walk their date down that hall and introduce the poor boy to the nuns. I don’t know who was more scared of that me or my date.

 I made friends at Ursuline that are my friends for life. A small group of us meet for lunch five times a year to celebrate our birthdays .As a freshman, I joined the press club and really did learn a lot about journalism.  Our freshman paper was called “Chattering Acorns.”  As a sophomore, I got to work on the real school paper “Whispering Oaks.”For many years when my children were young I was on the UrsulineAlumnae Board.  I remain a loyal alum.  It is a great honor of mine to have become one of Ursuline’s Women of the Year.

One of the values taught me at Ursuline was to give to others.  My Ursuline mothers encouraged me to volunteer my time to help others.  The summer after my freshman year I volunteered at St Joseph Orphanage.  Taking Care of the children was fine but then I had to eat lunch with them.  The food was horrible! Or was it that I was use to really good home cooking?  My mother was a very good cook.  In fact the best compliment my mother ever gave me was that I was a better cook than she was.

Next I became a candy striper at Good Samaritan Hospital.  Now I had found my niche.  I loved most of my jobs working in the hospital.  I delivered flowers, took a cart around to sell candy, magazines etc. and answered phones.  But I didn’t like the job of feeding patients.

The part of the hospital that drew me in was the laboratory.   When I was a junior in high school, I got a part time job as a receptionist in the Good Sam laboratory and thus decided that I wanted to be a medical technologist.

When I graduated from high school, I went to the University of Cincinnati and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology.  My senior year was spent doing a 12 month internship at Bethesda Hospital so it was goodbye to Good Samaritan.

After I graduated from college and passed the national registry for medical technologists, I went on a trip of a lifetime.  My Ursuline friend, Nancy Eagen, and I drove across the country.  We were gone about 3 months.  We looked up any friends or relatives we knew so in 3 months only spent about 5 days in a motel.  Those were the days when gas was 25cents a gallon.  We had a marvelous time.  We went the northern route and returned the southern route. From Cincinnati we went to St Louis, then Kansas City, Denver, Salt Lake City, Reno, San Francisco, Paolo Alto, Ventura, Phoenix, Dallas, New Orleans, Atlanta, and home.  By the time we got to the Grand Canyon, we didn’t think we could see anything more spectacular but we were wowed.  Even though Nancy has lived in Boston all of her adult life, we still remain good friends.  The trip bonded us for life.

When the trip was over, I started work as a registered medical technologistat Holmes Hospital.  My favorite part of working at Holmes Hospital was that they had Graeter’s ice cream in the cafeteria and the lab was right across the hall from the cafeteria! 

It was at UC that I met my first husband, Lou Steinert.   We were married in October 1967.  In 1970 our daughter, Anne  Delano Steinert was born and in 1972 our son David Ely Steinert was born.  I quit working and stayed home to raise our children and again I volunteered.  Anne and David went to preschool at the Montessori Center Room and I was on the board there as well as helping in the classroom and on class field trips.  When the kids went to Clifton School I headed up the Holiday Bazaar for the children.   They could come and buy presents for their family.  Nothing was over $1.  I also worked on the Clifton School paper, “The Examiner Bulletin” using the skills I learned at Ursuline. It was while doing this work that I met Bobby Forstee.  I was working on the paper in a friends kitchen when Bobby came into say goodbye.  They were moving to New York because her daughter had just been chosen to appear on Broadway in “Annie.”  You might have guessed.  Bobby’s daughter is Sarah Jessica Parker.

There were many other volunteer jobs.  Some of the more interesting jobs were cochairing hotdog days at St. Ursula Villa, chairing a Tasters Luncheon and publishing a cookbook at Ursuline. Chairman of the Board of Clifton Meadows Swim Club, where I was the first to fire a manager mid season, working on Roxanne Qualls political campaigns, serving as scheduler and then working in the mayor’s office.

I also had too part-time jobs when Anne and David were in high school.  Each job lasted about a year and a half.  I worked for a psychologist and I could choose my hours so that was a great job.  When the flexible time part changed, I quit.  Then to my great pleasure, I met Chotard Doll, the Rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in Clifton.  I worked as her program assistant until Anne was ready for college and I need to earn some real money. Church work is never known for being lucrative.

That’s when I went back to being a med tech.  I started at Mercy Hospital in Mariemont and when that facility closed I transferred over to Mercy Anderson.  I worked for Mercy for 24 years before I retired.  My heart never went back to working in a laboratory.  It wasn’t as much fun.  Everything was done on a machine and I was to be the mechanic.  I still enjoyed my time looking into a microscope but that was a little part of the job.  There were so many other things I was good at and enjoyed doing but they didn’t pay as well!

In 1979, I began a bereavement ministry at Bellarmine Chapel, my home parish.  This is a ministry that I continue today.  When I get a call that someone has died, I contact the relatives usually coming to their home and work with them to plan the funeral liturgy, choosing readings and music as well writing some prayers and printing a program.  I chair the Bellarmine Bereavement Committee and have wonderful people who also volunteer to come the day of the funeral and help with whatever is needed, from setup and greeting to  Eucharistic Ministers and cleanup.  I am very proud of our team.  I have also been involved in other ministries at Bellarmine. When my children were little, I began a Christmas Eve Children’s Liturgy.  It is still the best attended Christmas Liturgy. Folks come an hour early to get a good seat.

I presently am an acolyte, a lector and a Eucharistic Minister at Bellarmine Chapel.

In 1983 I attended a meeting in Chicago called Women-Church.  I was so taken with the idea that women needed to be equal in the church.  I had never given it much thought before.  Going to an all girl’s high school, I learned that women could do anything, be editor of the paper, class president etc.  I wanted the same in my church.  I came back to Cincinnati and with a few friends, founded Greater Cincinnati Women-Church.  The group is still in existence but not very active anymore.  I consider myself a feminist Catholic and continue to work for equality in the church.  I do go to national meetings once a year to represent Cincinnati.  It is through Women-Church that I have met many feminist theologians.

It was here in Cincinnati for a national Women-Church meeting that I got the great thrill of picking Gloria Steinam up from the airport and giving her a hug.  In those days I could meet her at the gate. I enjoyed our few minutes alone in my car. I only hope I didn’t appear too awestruck. I had someone else return her to the airport. Years later as I was cleaning out my car, I found a plane ticket under the passenger’s seat.  The name on it was Gloria Steinam.  To this day, I have no idea how she got back home.

      I also have been a board member of The Women’s Ordination Conference, a national organizatioon working for the orddination of women in the Roman Catholic church  

Somewhere around 1987, my marriage to Lou fell apart.  I will spare you the details but let me just say that divorce was the farthest thing from my mind.  I hung on for five years thinking he would change his mind but finally gave in.

Let me also saying that marrying again was also the farthest thing from my mind.  I had lived alone for 5 years and thought that I would be alone for the rest of my life.  But you know that isn’t how my story ends.

When I left Calvary Church a man named Charlie Brumbaugh replaced me.  He was a seminarian.  Charlie went on to be ordained and once was rector of the Episcopal Church in Wyoming, Ascension and Holy Trinity.  Cho meanwhile had moved to Oregon, then Washington State.  I called Charlie one day and asked if he had Cho’s address.  He said we hadn’t seen each other in so long why don’t we have lunch; so we did. Charlie was at the restaurant when I arrived.  He got up and gave me a hug saying “Ruth, How are you?”  I don’t know what came over me but I said “Charlie, I’m fine but I need a date.” I just wanted someone to go to the movies or dinner with me.  Well the next week Charlie had lunch with Roger.  He asked Roger about his social life. Roger’s answer was something like what social life?  So Roger agreed to do Charlie a favor and take me out to dinner.  And lo and behold he liked me and I liked him. I started sending Charlie emails about liking Roger and what to do next.  I hadn’t dated in over 30 years.  Well Charlie, unbeknownst to me, forwarded all those emails to Roger!  Guess who was in the driver’s seat after that.

On July 5, 2003 Roger and I were married and I moved to Glendale.  Shortly after that I joined Monday Class and met all of you.  I loved the 10 years I spent in Glendale.  I miss it today.  But Roger needed to retire to be able to spend more time with me, his out of town sons and grandchildren.  He had been at Christ Church for 23 years.  Between the two of us we have 5 children and 6 grandchildren. Being a grandparent has been a highlight of my life. Roger and I now live in Clifton and love that too.  Life goes on, thank God.  I have been very blessed.  I count Monday Class among my blessings

Ruth Foote

November 28, 2016

One thought on “Something about Ruth

  1. Ruth, I loved reading your story! I, too, went to an all-girls Catholic high school, St. John Villa in Staten Island, NY. The nuns there instilled in us that we could be and do anything we set our minds to. They planted the feminist seeds in me. I was born 14 years after you so I thank you and your peers for paving the way for us later feminists. These seeds blossomed slowly over the years but when they finally bloomed, there was no turning back. Like you, I didn’t really think too much about the role of women in the church but for the past 10 years or so, it’s become something I can’t stop thinking about. Thank you very much for sharing your story.

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