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My Grandma Ruby

Ruby Swanson


Brady Swanson


6th Grade 1998, Tri-County School, Karlstad,MN


My report is about my grandma Ruby Swanson. She was bornRuby Ardell Dunham, in Fordville, North Dakota, on July 29, 1928. Her fatherwas Palmer Dunham and her mother was Ruth ((Olson) Dunham. When my grandmawas about four, her mother died. Left with three children to raise, Palmermarried again to a lady that had adopted two other children. Some yearslater, she died also. Palmer married for the third time to my great grandma,Ethel, and they had one son. Because of this, Ruby and her brothers andsister had a very different childhood than most kids have. I think it wasa very hard time for her.

Palmer, her dad, was a depot agent. A depot agent is aperson who would keep track of the train schedules, passengers and freight. He would send messages by Morse Code over the telegraph. He must havebeen very smart to know how to send and receive messages and translate them. My grandma has two brothers that also learned how to do this, but my grandmadidn't. They moved quite a bit as the railroad could transfer them to anew location. They lived in a lot of small towns in North Dakota beforemoving to Karlstad when Ruby was a junior in high school.

The depot agent has to be close by the depot office atall hours when they were needed, so the Soo Line Railroad supplied livingquarters for the agents and their families over the depot station. At thattime, they did not have indoor bathrooms, so they had to use an outhousethat was outside of the building. Other than that, my grandma says it wasnice living in a depot.

The depot was a busy place because trains would come andgo at all hours, day and night. The passengers would wait downstairs inthe waiting room for the train to come when they were going somewhere.

When my grandma was still in high school, she worked forMrs. Mehlum doing housework. Grandma graduated from high school in 1946. It was still Karlstad High School then, and my grandma was a "Rabbit." She then worked for Dr. Mehum, a Karlstad dentist, until he moved to Arizona.

About that time, a new doctor moved into town. His namewas Dr. Rudy Skogerboe. She worked for Dr. Skogerboe as his first receptionist,secretary and office nurse. Dr. Skogerboe lived and worked in Karlstadfor many years. He wrote a book called "The Vanishing Physician." My grandma Ruby is in the book. She is called Alice. Grandma Ruby hadthe job of developing the x-rays for the doctor. The dark room where shedid this was in the basement. Grandma said the doctor's worst idea wasputting the darkroom in the basement because when it rained the basementflooded and she had to wear rubber boots to develop the x-rays! Grandmaworked for Dr. Skogerboe until she married my grandpa, Stanley Swanson,in June of 1948.

My grandma had five children, my dad is second to the oldest.

Grandma and grandpa lived in various parts of Karlstaduntil 1958. At that time they bought a farm in Marshall County, about fourmiles out of Karlstad. They raised crops of wheat and also raised cattle.

When her kids were young, my grandma did not work off thefarm. She said she had enough to do at home. After her family was older,my grandma went to work as a nurse's aide at the Karlstad Memorial Hospital. She worked at this job very hard until she retired in 1995. Many peoplehave told me that she was a very good, hard working, nice and kind nurse'saide. I am very proud of what she did for people all of those years. Helpingpeople is very important to her. She tries to help whenever she can. Shevolunteers at the nursing home and does a lot for her church. She and mygrandpa like to help out the old people in town too, driving them to appointments,calling them and taking them places.

My grandma really doesn't have any hobbies, so I guessyou could say helping is her hobby.

This is my report on my grandma, Ruby Swanson, I hope youenjoyed it.

I got the information for this report from my Grandma RubySwanson, my mom, my dad, and the book "The Vanishing Physician"by Dr. Rudy Skogerboe.

, and the book "The Vanishing Physician"by Dr. Rudy Skogerboe.