The Bill and Ruby Show

Bill Hopkins and Ruby Davis at Central High School c 1964Speech teacher and debate coach Ruby Davis was a diminutive force to be reckoned with. She was on the short list of teachers who had a major impact on my life, even if my Swampeast Missouri twang drove her to despair. As I’ve mentioned before, she could dectect the “r” in “warsh” at a hundred yards, even if you were whispering.

She never discouraged my political ambition to be President of the United States in 1984 – the earliest year the Constitution said I could serve – even though she cringed when I told her that I would invite her to Warshington to see me sworn in.

This series of two photos is a chicken-and-egg conundrum. I’m not sure which came first. Bill Hopkins’ sneak attack on Ruby (which was immediately picked up by the eyes in the back of her head) or the next shot.

You don’t mess with Ruby

Bill Hopkins and Ruby Davis at Central High School c 1964I’m betting the retaliation photo was the second in the sequence.

So far as I know, no students nor teachers were harmed in the filming of this encounter.

I’m sure Ruby would be happy to know that I gave up my dream of being POTUS after campaign manager Bill Hopkins torpedoed my chances of even making it to President of the Student Body.

She would be even more surprised to learn that Bill – someone she probably thought would be lucky to become a bartender – actually became a member of the bar and a judge who was never indicted. (So far as I know.)

11 Replies to “The Bill and Ruby Show”

  1. I had participated in Optimist Club oratorical contests since the sixth grade. When I took speech, she found this out and I only actually did one speech the whole semester. She would say that the other people needed her more and just write it and hand it in. She was a force of nature.

  2. I didn’t want to take speech because I would be required to get up before a group and speak. I hated the days that I knew I would be called on to give my speech. Wasn’t Speech a required subject? I can’t imagine me electing the subject. Today, I use the lessons learned from Mrs Davis in public speaking and as importantly, listening. She was one of the best of the best!

  3. Mrs. Ruby Davis was a terrific teacher and debate coach. She’s also the person who made me aware that I had never “internalized” Standard English irregular verb forms; i.e., while I knew the rules and could use them in writing, I didn’t always use them when I was speaking. I then spent my senior year in high school “monitoring” my speech so that by the time I started college, I had those verb forms under control.

  4. Ms. Ruby Davis was the singular inspiration for my personal reflection, “I attended public school in Missouri in the 1950’s and studied English as a second language.” Her influence blesses me still. [Photo note–the series might connect with the photo where Hizzoner Hop was “visually taller than I”] [Thanks for the memories with the pronouns, Ms. Ruby!]

  5. This one and the same Ruby Davis also taught art along with Ms. Edna Haman at CHS. Having her for speech was indeed a highlight but even more so was to be influenced by her through art classes and working with her on the Girardot. Little do we realize at 17 what impact teachers will have on our careers. Ms. Haman and Ms. Davis unknowingly focused my academic career towards commercial art while a student at Murray State University. Eventually after 17+ years of free-lancing I entered the classroom. Both fulfilling careers. And…they let us paint on the walls of the art room. Remember that Jeffry Boswell?

  6. To me Ruby Davis, was Aunt Ruby. Not by blood, but I had known her since I was but a wee little one. Her daughter, Jerrette, was my first BFF.

    In personal life, she may have been Aunt Ruby, but at school she was Mrs. Davis and she was always hardest on those she liked the most.

    Here’s to the New Year and great memories of Ruby Davis!

  7. I remember painting a manger scene with you, but I don’t remember it being on the walls. What did we paint on the walls?
    Miss Haman and Ruby Davis WERE BOTH DEFINITELY MY FAVORITE TEACHERS because they encouraged us to create and exceed our expectations in their art classes. It was there that I learned the basics of portrait drawing and through the years I’ve painted and sketched MANY PORTRAITS in chalk. They helped me to discover MY “NITCH” IN ART.
    They both came to my wedding and I still have a lovely hand-painted tray from Miss Haman. It wasn’t until very late in my life that I thought I might have enjoyed becoming an art teacher, but as it was, I spent almost 40 years in the Banking Industry doing all I could to help people finance their “American Dream”. Loved my banking career and all the wonderful people I worked with and met.
    But now, at age 70, I so enjoy being retired spending time with our kids and precious grandkids. We still ride motorcycles and razors (dune buggies) with them and have lots of fun together. Both my middle grandson and middle granddaughter are interested in art. I just wish they had the teachers that we did!
    God rest their souls . . . .

  8. By the way, if any of you Centralites are interested, I have a facebook page under “Granny Jeff’s Art” showing a lot of my artwork for sale. I do custom, commissioned portraits. They make WONDERFUL KEEPSAKES that can be handed down from generation to generation.

  9. I hope Mrs. Davis’ daughter Jeri has been able to read these wonderful remembrances of her Mother. If anyone knows how to contact her, please put her in touch with this site. It is so meaningful, especially at our age now, to see how others remembered our parents and hope we have made this same impact in others’ lives.

  10. Ah, Yes, I have mostly very good memories, along with a few painful memories of Ms. Davis. If I did something she did not like in Art or in working on the Girardot, she would use her ever-present pencil to hit me in the head.
    She taught me a great deal, and she serves to show that great things can come in small packages.

  11. I had the privilege of spending first hour for two years with Mrs. Davis as Business Manager of the Girardot. She was a DEAR and I loved working on the Girardot and working with her!!!!!!! Jerrette was her JOY and what a great gal!!!! We worked many hours and she always wanted the book to be The Best! What wonderful memories and what lessons she taught!!!! We were blessed to have her in our lives!
    Patte, my email has been down for a few days…….prayers your way! You come from tough stock….golfing around……and know you have guardian angels watching over you!!!!!

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