The Woman In black who saved my mom.....

WOMEN IN PIONEER BLACK DRESSWhen my mom was a bout 12 she came down with a sickness that dam near killed her but in today's medicine world it would have been considered a nuisance cold. But back then Colic was deadly especially during the depression when people didn't have access to money or doctors for that matter.

As I was explaining, my mom was real sick and sick for several months, I think she said she was sick for about 18 months. This was back in the 1930's and shortly before the Long Beach Earthquake.

My mom told me that at the worst of her sickness, a woman in black would come in and sit at her bedside and attend to her, giving her food, and some medicine, and always dressed in the same black dress and black bonnet. Typical pioneer woman dress.

Later on after she was free of fever and feeling better, my mom asked who the woman in black was. Her mom asked her what she meant, there was no woman in black that she knew of and she went on to say that this was the 1930's, no one wore that sort of dress anymore except the Quakers and there were no Quakers in Hemet.

As the years went by, my mom often thought of the woman in black, the woman who tended her when she was sickness, but no one knew.

Then, when my moms mother died (she was 86) she and her sisters were going through my grandmothers things and they found a bunch of photos, some take almost 100 years ago. And in one picture, there sat with a stern face and dressed all in black was the woman who some 45 years earlier was at my mom's bedside.

Nothing was written on the photo telling who she was. But in another letter they found addressed to my moms great grandmother, was a note to her sister. At long last, was my mom able to find out who this was and where she was now.

To everyone amazement, my mom read out that the woman in black name was Ruth E. Smith, a great aunt who had died in 1898. 35 years before my mom claimed she was at her bedside.

What was more amazing is that my mom's maiden name was Ruth L Smith. It seems that her name sake was looking after her when she was so sick so long ago. My mom never felt her presense again. Until the day she died.

My aunt Francis was with her at the hospital when she passed away in 2001. We were all getting ready to go see her. Francis told me she was praying for her when my mom got a smile on her face and said this. Ruth again. With that she took her last breath and passed with a smile on her face. We think that perhaps her namesake was waiting for her on the other side. who knows. Only they do that's for sure.

Gary Hall, the ghostpainter

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