Ruth Bondy Lowy was the most badass woman I’ve ever met.
Ruth was born and raised in New Rochelle, NY and was a New York dame through and through. She met Lawrence Lowy in seventh grade, and after a couple college educations here and a Navy station there, they spent the next 50 years together.
Ruth worked as a guidance counselor for high school students and raised four kids. After she retired, she devoted herself to the local Cancer Support Team, teaching English as a second language, and the greening of her home town, Larchmont. An avid gardener, she could be found planting flowers in the town center or maintaining the mini-botanical garden in her back yard. She swam every day for almost her entire life (into her late eighties she could be found in Long Island Sound counting her strokes to know she’d swam a mile). Last summer we went swimming together and she made me rub mint toothpaste on my “white meat” (translation: chest) to keep the water lice from biting. At the end of the day you’d find her with a glass of Tanqueray gin in her hand, plus an extra glass of ice to keep it chilled to her liking.
Ruth Lowy had tennis partners, bridge partners, walking partners, and lunch dates. If you knew Ruth, she knew you (and your birthday, and your mom’s birthday, and your kids’ birthdays, and could rattle off ten stories about things you’d done together). Throughout her seventies and eighties she traveled to China, Africa, and the Caribbean and brought back small souvenirs for her grandchildren to keep on shelves in their rooms and plan trips around the world.
When I moved into my first apartment at the age of 19, I was determined to learn how to cook. I decided to start a food blog to document my tribulations with this task, largely to send along to my mom and grandma. My grandma read the blog and gave me way too much credit for my first several months’ worth of recipes. She read every post religiously and bragged about her granddaughter’s amazing food website. She was my most loyal reader and would email for recipe suggestions and to find out what I was cooking next.
This weekend I went to grandma Ruth’s house for a party that she would have adored. All of those people from the last 90 years came through the house where she built a family that continued to grow and grow. In the house with closets that smell like moth balls and the full set of 1960’s World Book Encyclopedias weighing down a sagging shelf I felt proud. Proud to have the genes of such a bombshell of a woman, proud to be given the example that there is never an appropriate time to give up living, so don’t.
In loving memory of one hell of a woman.