A few weeks later, Mother wrote of new trials with my aunt:
I went on an Audubon bird trip a few days ago. Ruth accompanied me, and we enjoyed motor boating through the lakes and canals, watching the bird life—at least I did until Ruth gave me a sudden shock that almost paralyzed my poor brain. Someone asked me when I was going north.
"I usually go about now," I said, "but this year I'm waiting to take a friend of mine. We'll leave about the end of the month, I think." Ruth immediately spoke up. "I think I'd like to go north with you." I gasped. "My car will be full!" I said. "I hardly see how I can squeeze Vaughan in." "Oh, you can mail most of your things. I'll pay for that," said Ruth—then turned to someone, leaving the matter closed—and decided to her satisfaction, but not to mine! I was flabbergasted.
I didn't want to argue about it in front of strangers, and I haven't had an opportunity to continue the conversation. I have been hoping Ruth will change her mind, so I won't have to have a scene. But if she persists in planning to go with us, I not only will tell her that my clothes hang loose in the back of the car (I have brought no trunk) and the rest of the car will be jammed with typewriter, suitcases, boxes of manuscripts, an electric fan, and Vaughan and me! But I shall also remind her of last year when she prevented me from going to the theater when Letty offered to take her and me. She said at that time, after Letty had left the house, rebuffed, that she "didn't like threesomes." Well, if she couldn't stand a threesome for even two hours when both Letty and I begged her to go, I can't stand a threesome for four days and nights! It would simply ruin Vaughan's pleasure and mine. I'd arrive a wreck--don't you think so?
You were right in guessing that Ruth was "in a pet" and wouldn't go with Letty and me to Ft. Lauderdale. She is jealous of Letty and can't hide it. Doggone. I've been on threesomes with her when she and her friend Mabel Kirk talked around me, ignoring me completely, so taken up in their own affairs they were. I didn't mind. But Ruth won't put herself into the position where she is not king of the roost. If I let her go with Vaughan and me, to follow our own desires (if we could manage it at all) would be a constant struggle.
Ruth doesn't like to eat in nice places. She invariably takes dozens of horrid little boxes full of food, cold and unpalatable. Mabel Kirk told me that she hates to travel with Ruth. She, Mabel, enjoys a nice restaurant. She and the others in the group will go to a lovely place, leaving Ruth with her boxes. It makes them uncomfortable, Mabel told me, to come back after a pleasant lunch and find Ruth impatiently waiting, her attitude expressing silent criticism of the waste of time and money. I remember I asked her to stop at Johnson's, once, for ice cream. She hustled by, saying: "I can't remember more than one or two times in my entire life when I've spent money on myself just to put something sweet in my stomach that I'd be better off without." Can you imagine spending four days with a person like that?
I've written Vaughan, asking her if she could leave sooner. If she can arrange to go a week earlier that we planned, Ruth would not be able to get ready in time, and I'd have a good reason for going along without her, without having to have any sort of argument or scene.
I’ve told Ruth not to call me before nine or ten in the morning. All my friends know this, and never call me until noon. But Ruth continues to call me at seven or eight. This morning she roused me at eight to ask if I'd left a red sweater in her car. "I called you now," she said, "because the people on this line are apt to be using it later. This keeps me waiting, and I've got too much to do to hang around, trying to telephone." To save herself inconvenience, she ignores my request not to be called—and evidently thinks that's perfectly all right. It is largely because of Ruth that I'm eager to leave here and go elsewhere. If she gives a party she expects me to do the dishes, come early, move back the furniture, etc. When I spoke of going to Mexico she immediately offered to go along. Gosh! I am now writing to Sandie to see if she knows anyone in Pasadena who could rent me a room, next winter, a room for approximately what I pay here. I hope she can.
Lots of love, Mother