January 1, 2016 • Welcome, weary web traveler! You’ve come upon the blog chronicling a very interesting time in the life of Deepwell USA – the years from late 2009 to the end of 2015, when a strange last will and testament by someone named Ruby Wood wrought some pretty far-reaching changes in our town. If you haven’t yet been to RubysBequest.org, make sure you do so – that’s where all the action took place. (And if you think something’s amiss, better read this.)

Deepwell mourns its friend

Deepwell mourns its friend

As the people of Deepwell struggled with the challenges posed by Ruby’s will, they posted their thoughts here in this blog – as well as events in their lives and the occasional bit of news about the bequest. Most of it is mundane I guess, but some of it I find quite profound. It’s all in reverse chrono order, so best if you start with the oldest posts and work your way up.

But maybe you don’t want to read it. You’re time-pressured, darn it! You shout, “Etta, GET TO THE POINT!” Okay. The point is: It was really hard to think about caring – but it was really necessary, too. It was really hard to talk to others about caring – but that was really necessary, too. In the end, thanks to the hundreds of people who shared, some amazing things happened and some really true things were revealed about the future of caring.

I especially want to thank the people who wrote to us about loss, who gifted us with wisdom they learned through hard experience. Because we in Deepwell are in loss today – one among us, Phil Geddings, has died of leukemia. You don’t know Phil – he didn’t post to this blog, or end up telling his story at Ruby’s Bequest. Like so many people, he was too caught up in caring for real to afford the luxury of talking about it in the abstract. But most of us here in Deepwell knew Phil, many of us worked with him (or wanted to).  He was one of those people you can openly like right away – he was so clearly a team player, and everyone was on his team. Regarding Ruby’s Bequest, he was very much with us in spirit – he still is – and our hearts go out to his family and friends.  Photo by Shad0.

December 31, 2015 • I know what you are thinking, another post about Ruby Wood, and this is just not in the way that you think it might be…………..

I’m engaged!!!!

James has asked me to marry him. I’m thrilled, I’m ecstatic but mostly I’m really, really happy.

You know none of this would have happened if it wasn’t for Ruby Wood (who I still keep thinking of as an actual person who exists, its really hard for me not to).
If it wasn’t for the Bequest and the DCI and Columbia we wouldn’t have had the Mental Health Center and James would never have moved to Deepwell.

So I have Ruby Wood et all and all parties involved to thank for my happiness. Well ok, I have myself to thank for that because I have learned so much in the last few years about actually being happy. When I look back to January 2010, it’s surreal. I like myself now and I’m not sure that I did back then. Continue Reading »

December 31, 2015 • I just wanted to say thanks. This has been a long and sometimes unforgiving six years. I think I have lived another lifetime in its span. I don’t feel like the same person who wrote that first blog post about Bev Orosco. Because I have learned so much from all of you.

We ended up with a DCI of 258. You know what? The Ida May Foundation has given Tau to more people than that. Silvercare has touched more people than that. More than 258 people have participated in Kids Care. So you know what I say? Rot to the DCI.

We know how much we care, and that amount is limitless. It can’t be counted in numbers, because we don’t have the vocabulary.

So even though this part is over, the whole cussed Bequest part (and all the pain it brought back when the story came out), rest assured that Deepwell cares more than anyone will ever know. But I, for one, am darned sure happy not to have to jump through a dead woman’s hoops anymore.

I love you all. Keep on caring.

December 31, 2015 • Okay, we came up short, DCI-wise. Big whup. For me at least, Ruby’s Bequest stopped being about money a long time ago. Somewhere along the line I guess I got the notion that 300 was actually impossible, that no community has ever scored 300 in their Caring Index. Not that I think Ruby Wood was being cruel to us or anything. Sometimes it’s best not to know that you’re attempting the impossible, or else you’ll never even get close.

May 1, 2015 •
…And no, she isn’t “all of us” or some similar sentiment. She was real, and she lived in Deepwell, and I know almost all of the story. Grab a cup of tea or some popcorn, and settle in; it’s storytime.

Honestly, I had given up. Padma and I hit a brick wall in our database inquiries a few years ago, and with all the other things going on in town and my PODCare commitments, I just didn’t have the time or the energy to push further. I knew Ruby must be an alias, or a nom de plume, but I wasn’t getting any hits on that name. Then Nora went to France with her French class for their new Study and Care Abroad program. She came back with a charming accent and an iPod full of French music, among other things. The evening she returned home, she hung out in the kitchen with Brian and me, chattering away about the Louvre, and volunteering at l’hôpital, and plugged her iPod into the dock so she could set the mood. While we made supper (bouillabaisse, in Nora’s honor) we listened to Charles Aznavour, and Edith Piaf, and even some Maurice Chevalier. Then the song, “Puits profond de mon coeur,” poured into the room, with a smoky, sad voice. It’s been a long time since my one year of high school French, but even I could recognize the words “deep” and “well.” Oh yeah, Nora exclaimed, I thought that was cool, a French song with “deep well” in the title. It’s by an old singer named Rubi du Bois. I dropped my ladle in shock. It couldn’t be a coincidence!

So now I had a name and a place. Rubi du Bois in Paris, circa 1970, the year the song came out.  Was this really our Ruby?  I learned everything I could about her, depending on Nora and Google to translate as most of the material I found was in French.  The best I could piece together was that Rubi had moved to Paris in the 60s, and, most important, there was a mention of a sister named Evelyn who lived in Chicago.  I knew I was on the right track.  Evelyn must have lived in Deepwell at some point.

There haven’t been that many Evelyns in Deepwell over the years, which helped.  If you’ve lived in Deepwell for as long as MeelieSue and Brian’s parents and a few others have, you may have heard the sad story of Richard and Evelyn Broward.  That family was in the newspaper quite a few times over the years, none of it good.  Out of respect for the family, I’ll not repeat the stories here, but the curious can come down to the library and read the microfiche just like I did.  Just keep in mind that this is someone’s personal history, and there is still a lot of pain out there.

So things being what they are, I have put faces to those long-ago names and I know something that Etta doesn’t, for probably the first time since we both moved to Deepwell, heh. Ruby was originally Rosemary, and she is Etta’s aunt.

Rosemary Alice Carr, aka Rubi du Bois, aka Ruby Wood, died September 12, 2009 in Paris, and was cremated and interred there, the only place she truly felt at home.  Her gift to Deepwell was her attempt to reconcile with her past, and give hope for the future.  There is one other person who plays a part in this story, but I think she needs to tell her side of things for herself.  And no, it’s not Etta.  Although I’m sure Etta has a few questions of her own.

R, if you’re out there and you’re reading this, please speak up.

Feb 15, 2015 • Emelia gets to stay now that the anti-immigration law has thankfully been repealed. This is such a huge relief!! Particularly since she is teaching my brother how to crochet and knit. He started when he became clean. I guess quitting drugs (and I’m assuming drinking. smoking or anything similar) left him with a bunch of nervous energy and working with his hands and keeping busy (NA meetings at the center) really help. He has gotten really good at it. As a matter of fact I am wearing a huge, snuggly muffler that he made me to keep warm, particularly since I haven’t been running the heater much since we are having an energy shortage.

Well the cat is out of the bag since James and I were spotted walking in downtown Deepwell hand in hand. but it’s ok now, it’s been five months. James and I met at the Deepwell Community Mental Health Center where I am volunteering (earning my rubies!!) and he works as a Psychiatric Social Worker. We don’t really work too closely so it’s not uncomfortable or weird. I’m just really happy right now.

Someone else who seems really happy is Sam. She has joined a Panic Support Group at the Center and participates via their Telemedicine/e-health program, using a webcam and Skype. It has helped her a great deal to have more close interaction with others who have Agoraphobia and Anxiety Disorders. I can’t wait for the day when she can walk right into the center on her own.

Also as some of you know I have decided to start a small non-profit organization bringing therapy animals to the Deepwell Senior Day Center, the Mental Health Center and the Pediatric ward of the hospital in Robertson. It is a lot of work but I have decided to give up some other activities, mainly civic and political, in favor of this, which feels more fulfilling to me. One of the interesting things I have discovered is that several of our clients at the Mental Health Center already have service animals, mainly for Bi Polar Disorder and even a couple for anxiety related issues.

But here is a huge new development, with all this talk of therapy animals, Sam has gotten a therapy dog. It’s a cute Lhasa Apso named Suki. The change in Sam has been amazing! She is even walking Suki up and down her street!!

Feb 15, 2015 • Over the past few years, so much has changed in Deepwell. I can’t believe it’s been six years since all of this began. While we’ve worked to make Deepwell the town that does care right, I’ve tried to be the man who cares right. I’ve cared wrong in the past and thought I had it all figured out afterward. Ruby’s Bequest has taught me so much more.

Throughout all of this, I’ve known that I’ve been avoiding a big caring issue in my own life. I knew I had to sit down with my father and talk about the future. My father lives up in Wisconsin, far from the rest of the family. I often wondered what we would do if something happened to him, but it wasn’t something we ever really talked about. Well, I finally bit the bullet. I sat him down and we talked. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and I don’t really know why I was ever avoiding it in the first place. All I really had to do was start the conversation and my dad rambled on and let me know everything he wanted. So here it is. Seventeen minutes of our heart-to-heart talk. (Can you take it?) 😉

Hopefully, it might help someone else get up the nerve to start the same conversation with their parents.