Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Day Ms Ruby Lee Bates Helped Shape My Life

Its funny how you remember things in your life that happened so many years ago. I was thinking of my maternal uncles who worked for the Texas-Pacific Railroad in Marshall Texas. The railroad must have been on my mind when I woke up the next day because all I saw was Ms Ruby Lee Bates and my momma. You see I got a big time punishment and it was not even my entire fault. Or so I thought at the time. Years later I can see how I could have prevented the consequences.

My buds Gloria Parker, Jean Pete and Hazel Bowen and I got out of school early. It had to be something with grading tests or Parent - Teacher meetings scheduled for later on in the day. Now that was legit but we forgot to remind our mothers that we were getting out early. Why bother them anyway because they were hard at work and no need to have them worry about us.

I now think that Gloria, Hazel and I should have headed in different directions after school let out.

That was our first mistake. I said "our" because Gloria and Hazel lived South past 7th Ave and Watkins, and I lived north and way west in back of the Capitol. Jean was the only one of us headed in the right direction towards home. Besides Ms Pete had to have some good food that we all could partake before we headed to our perspective homes.

I remember we were laughing and talking as we headed towards Jeans house when we got to the railroad track.

Our second mistake: We thought we had skills singing....(sounded good too)
To compliment those skills we saw this railroad man working. He had this large steel like gizmo he was using to turn the track.

We decided to sing a song and tease this hard working man. "I been working on the railroad, all the live long day, I been working on the railroad just to pass the time away." We sure giggled and pointed and sang that song again...heeheehee! " Can't you hear the whistle blowing, Rise up so early in the morn"

Then we heard a voice! It was Ms Ruby Lee Bates... "Vicky, does your mother know you are here, you better get your tail on where you belong. How come you are not in school? " We were so busy laughing, giggling and singing we did not hear Ms Ruby Lee's car stop. Nor did we hear Ms Ruby Lee come up to where we were. I do remember though her arm stretched out with her finger pointed in the direction I should hurry up and take.

Needless to say, I took my rear end home and waiting for me was my momma. Ms Ruby Lee had snitched and I knew it before I even got through the door good. I had to sing for my momma that day with tears streaming down my face. I been working on the railroad, all the live long day. This time the words were not so measured and the tune was all my own, made up by me.

Now I know what it means when they say it takes a village. Ms Ruby Lee and my mom were good friends and that was a record that stood til the end of their time on earth. You see, Ms Ruby Lee Bates moved back to Texas from Arizona. Her and my mom would keep up with each other by telephone. Several years later I also moved to Dallas and would visit her from time to time. I still remember that good ole roast she cooked that day I went to see her. I think that was the last time I visited because I moved back to Arizona shortly after.

I had run into her son Vernon Jr from time to time in Dallas but her daughters Ruby Lee and Jessie Mae I lost contact with. I got curious and decided to look around and research I see where they got their names.

It was from both their paternal line and maternal lines. Vernon Jr was named after his dad Vernon and Jessie Mae was named after her dads mother Jessie Mae who was the wife of Ford Bates.
Here is the 1920 census record from Ancestry (click to enlarge)

Ruby Lee as we see was named after her mother Ruby Lee Record daughter of Mose and Addie Bell Washom/Mosely Record.

According to a delayed birth record her mother Addie was born in Navasota Texas the home of my father and his parents. Did I say record! That was Ms Ruby Lee Bates maiden name.....Record (One thing we do have to remember is how we connect our research even though the spelling on the records may be unclear.)

The AR Dictionary states that the meaning of record is to recall to mind, to remember, to recollect, to meditate.

I did all of those things as I reflected that long ago memory. As I delve into my genealogy research I always record or make a record of what I find.
Little did I know that Ms Ruby Lee Record Bates would cause me to meditate (with a little help from my mom) on decisions I make throughout my life.

R.I.P. Ms Ruby Lee along with your daughters Ruby Lee and Jessie Mae

In Rememberance of those who share names in a historical perspective I honor

R.I.P. Civil Rights Legend Daisy Lee Gatson Bates of the Little Rock Nine

R.I.P Mr Eugene Record former member of the Chilites recording group and writer of songs like "Have You Seen Her" and "OH Girl"


Kristin said...

It does make a difference when you live in a real community. When I saw the title I thought it was going to be about the Little Rock Nine and Daisy Bates.

Ms Vicky said...

Daisy and The Little Rock Nine changed many lives for sure.

LindaRe said...

A friend and I were discussing about growing up with watching eyes everywhere. Your Mrs Ruby had her eyes on you.

Michael Patterson said...

Hello, my name is Michael Patterson, the Grandson of of Ruby Lee Bates, I came across your story and wanted to reach out to you and hopes of meeting you and to discuss how you knew my grandmother

please contact me at

thank you

Princess Williams said...

WOW...this is wonderful and warmed my heart. Thank you for sharing your memories of my grand mother Ruby. Her son Vernon Jr. was my dad. He joined his parents and sisters April of this year. Again, thank you!

Princess Williams said...

Thank you for sharing your memories of my grand mother Ruby. Your experience was heart warming and I could see her pointing her finger(smile). Again thank you!

Ms Vicky said...

Oh My! you have just warmed my heart also Princess. You know, Vernon crossed my mind not too long ago. I looked in my book for his number but for some reason I could not find it. Wow, my sincere condolences to you and the rest of the family. Many blessings to you and your family and thank you so much. Your family and mine shared many great memories.

Princess Williams said...

Thank you for responding. Today would mark his 76th birthday so reading your post has really made this day more sweet than bitter. I would really like to speak with you. Please contact me at