Mrs Ruby Clarida Celebrates 100 years on February 12!

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    1916, one hundred years ago, the President of our nation was Mr. Woodrow Wilson, the U.S. National Park system was created, Charlie Chaplin signed a deal to earn $10,000 a week and Albert Einstein completed his theory of relativity. But most importantly to the Clarida family a little girl was born near Marion, IL on February 12 to John and Bessie Cravens. Ruby Mae Cravens was followed by six brothers. The family moved around a lot in order for Mr. Cravens to find work, mainly jobs related to coal mining. Because of that, Ruby only attended school until the 3rd grade. What she lacked in formal education, she made up with common sense and a strong work ethic.
    Mis Ruby met and fell in love with leeman Clarida and on October 15, 1934 they married. They set up household on a small farm in the Harco area. Soon came along the children, Leeman Ray, Betty Laure, Linda Lou (Howver), James Lawrence, Larry Gene, David Lee and Gary Robert. Mr Clarida worked in the coal mine and various other jobs. Mrs. Clarida was well known for her laying hens and had many customers on her “egg route”. She also aided the family’s income by takin on housekeeping jobs. She worked hard to make her family as comfortable as she could.
    Ruby knew (and was known by) everyone in the community. She took the Lord Jesus Christ as her saviour when she was 18. In 1946 she helped organize a small church near her home. Smart’s Chapel was completed and dedicated in 1947. Mrs. Clarida is the oldest member now and the only founding member left. The church was a busy place for many years, then, as many small contry churches do, people began to move off or traveled to attend other larger churches in the surrounding towns. But not Ruby! For many years, even during long stretches when there was no pastor or congregation Ruby would get dressed up on Sunday morning and walk the short didstance down the raod to open the church doors to any who might enter. She rang the bell, read from her Bible and sang praises to the Lord. Eventually, Mrs. Clarida’s unwaivering dedication paid off and Smart’s Chapel again has a pastor and a fine congregation.
    Mrs. Clarida has seen and endured many things over the past century. She has lived thorugh two world wars and all the other wars that have happened since. She has seen sugar sell for around $1.20 for 20 pounds to over $2 for 4 pounds! Bacon used to be around $.30 a pound to some selling for over $6 per pound. Mrs. Clarida has known the joy of watching children grow as well as the sorrow of losing them. Betty and Gary both passed as youngsters andn in 1980, after 44 years of marriage, Mr. Clarida passed away. Over the years her family grew, from the five remaining kids came 17 grandchildren and from them came so many great grandchildren it is hard to keep count. Mrs. Clarida is especially proud of the 13 great great grandchildren making a plentiful 5th generation of Claridas.
    Through good times and bad, mrs. Clarida has never lost her faith. She has spent her widowed years growing beautiful, bountiful gardens, keeping care of her endless variety of flowers, quilting and sewing (she estimates upwards of 75 quilts), canning and freezing, fishing, crafting, cooking amazing meals and baking delicious pies, cobblers and cakes, visiting with friends and in her most recent years, she has taken up coloring, drawing painting. She has several sketch books full of scenes reminiscent of the country life she and her family lived ove the years.
    Ruby suggests this advice to live a good, long life: don’t smoke or drink alcohol, work hard, eat well, go to church and have a relationship with the Lord, and definitely “just keep busy”. She says she has enjoyed the past century and that the most important things in her life have not been things but those that she loves: Jesus, her husband, her children, all those grandkids, and her church family and friends.
    If you would like to send Ruby a card or letter, please mail it to Ruby Clarida, c/o David Clarida, 280 New Hope Church Road, Galatia, IL 62935.