By Karen Billing
Ruby Clawson has lived long enough to see the inventions of color photography, the motion talking picture, TV, FM radio, computers and the Internet — now smart phones can perform all those functions from one small hand-held device. After turning 110 years old on July 15, Ruby has surely seen some amazing things, but her favorite is still stopping to smell the roses. She received 110 of them for her birthday and smiled when told the flowers would go to decorate her room in Carmel Valley’s Emeritus.
Clawson has lived in Emeritus since she moved out of her Solana Beach home at 103 years old. Ruby said she was happy and when asked if she knew it was her birthday she nodded and said, “There’s been so many.”
Born Ruby Robinson in Rogers, Ark., in 1901, Ruby’s mother died when she was just 13 years old. She was raised by one of her two older sisters (who lived into their 90s). At 22, Ruby was crowned the queen of the Arkansas Apple Blossom Festival and at 24 she married Cecil Clawson, whom she met while working at an insurance company.
The couple never had children but their marriage lasted five decades until Cecil’s death in 1975.
They lived in Missouri and Arizona before moving to Solana Beach in the 1970s.
Emeritus celebrated Ruby with a party on July 15; residents filled a room for snacks, cake and live musical entertainment. Ruby sat at the front of the room dressed in pink with a flower pinned to her top.
She didn’t eat too much cake to save room for her birthday dinner of favorites: fried chicken, cornbread and apple pie.
According to her close friend and trustee Edie Harrison, Ruby walked until she was 106 but after being frightened by a fall, she now moves around in a wheelchair — on her birthday her feet were in fuzzy white slippers propped up on a pillow.
Living at Emeritus, Ruby enjoys doing her exercises in her wheelchair and while her diminishing sight hasn’t allowed her to continue working on crossword puzzles she still likes to be read the clues and come up with the answers.
She enjoys all the music and activities that Emeritus offers but sometimes prefers to stay in bed.
“At 110, you do what you want to do,” Harrison said.
A big Lakers and Padres fan, she likes catching the games and very much enjoyed watching this summer’s royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton.
“She’s a joy,” remarked Carol Pisnieski, Emeritus’ life enrichment director. “110 years old…it’s unbelievable.”