Monday, September 21, 2015


Posted  March 2009 as a follow up to the last post about David. Hopefully last of reruns for a while.

David's mom was quite well off financially which explained David's full pillow case. Only on rare occasions did she and David come into the bank together. I believed however that she loved the boy for they lived together and she kept his 15 pass books fat with money. 

While David was either mentally ill or just really slow, I couldn't tell. His mother was able to fit more comfortably into society than her son. She did at least have verbal skills, wasn't as threatening, and seemed to like people.

I had been filled in ( this time correctly) by my fellow tellers on the story of Ruth. She was married to a man named Emanuel, who was in shipping. The only thing is, they did not live on the same continent. He normally lived year round in a mansion on Majorca in Spain and she and David lived in Florida.

The money came regularly from Emanuel, but as best as I could tell, no contact. She would drag out old pictures of him every time she deposited his check. He was quite handsome and she was a beautiful woman in a different time period. There were no pictures of her, her husband and David together. I wondered if David might have been the cause of the estrangement. Surely Emanuel knew of her grooming habits before they married.

It was much easier to be sympathetic towards David than his Mom. David had no control over his situation, she did. Ruth may have had better social skills than her son but she was one "dirty" woman. Her hygiene was appalling. 

When she would flow ( that is the best way to describe how she moved as she was incredibly graceful for a heavy woman) to our teller windows, the first scent you got as she cleared the door was of a very expensive, overpowering perfume.

As she settled in for what was usually a long visit (which seemed much longer with all the breath holding), the body odors mingled sickeningly with the perfume. Her armpits reeked, her hair stank and looked greasy. I don't want to even go to into the other odors that wafted around her from her nether regions and it was all  topped off by fetid breath. 

It made us better understand the different continents between her and Emanuel. She was bad enough that the tellers on either side of me did not need to worry about having customers as long as Ruth was there. She knew how to clear a room.

She was made up to the point that a drag queen would have thought was tacky. She evidently did not remove make up but just added to what was all ready there. It certainly was thick. I am sure the only removal was what ever rubbed off on the pillow at night. 

I tried not to think of what Ruth and David's home looked like. However, I did not worry about the tiny dog that she often brought in tucked under her arm. That position could kill a human but the pooch seemed very happy. I mean, think of what a dog loves to roll in.

While David came in and left quickly, she came in for a visit. We were her social event of the day. She would talk of her husband, her son, and her clubs. I seriously wondered about any clubs unless all the members had terminal sinuses and could smell nothing.  

Her prides were her charities, her son and her dog. Ruth apparently had a good heart, just a really suffocating odor. Her voice carried and had a sing song quality. When she was at your window, you knew the whole bank was aware.  

David must have told his Mom about the teller rating system he had established for even when we were busy, she would wait in line for me. No good deed goes unpunished.

Eventually I left the main office to become a head teller at branch in another city, so I lost contact with David and his mom. I understood though that after David was incarcerated, she no longer came in and no one knew what happened to her. Maybe with David out of the picture, she went back to Spain and Emanuel. I really don't know.

Such a strange pair. I often wondered who brought whom down? Did Ruth let her self go trying to raise David or was David the result of Ruth's odd behavior?  I felt badly for both of them and hoped professional help was in their futures.   

Knowing David and Ruth makes one realize that no matter how flawed we all are, things could really be worse and we should feel blessed.  Wealth certainly is no cure all. 


  1. Wealth is no cure at all, in fact sometimes the opposite. There are so many dysfunctional families around. I came from one, and often feel I've created one. We all do the best we can.

  2. Oh, I can almost smell her from here! Your description reminds me of all the times I was unable to get near a woman at work just because of her perfume, which followed everywhere she went, including the elevator for hours later. She was clean, but smoked and must not have realized how much she stank. Well written and enjoyable, since I wasn't actually in the bank with David's mother. :-)

  3. Sad but glad you had that good teller rating. You made a difference in their life.

  4. Very interesting story I think I've sat next to that lady on the subway a few times.

    It is funny how a stranger will walk up to a smoker and tell them that is bad, "Eww a smoker!"
    Or tell someone "You drink too much." But no one ever tells a stranger or sometimes even a friend, "You really smell bad!"

    We all hold our nose and bear it. Can't you get cancer from second hand stank?

  5. HI, Interesting stories about both David and his Mom.... Lots of questions for sure about both of them... Kinda sad though when you think about it. Wonder if either had any family or friends who truly cared for them ---and 'could' help?????

    There are so many 'crazies' in the world/in our country ---and I am always shaking my head and rolling my eyes when I see someone dressed HORRIBLY when we go to Walmart or somewhere similar....

    People (many of which have the mental faculties to know better) just don't care anymore what they look like or what they do.... People with mental problems are different---and not much is being done in our country to help these people, many of which are in jail or living in the streets.

    Wonder what ever happened to Ruth? Like you said, money certainly doesn't help when one is so messed up to begin with.... SAD.


  6. Thanks for this poignant post. It's a good reminding to count our blessings and nor be judgmental of others.

  7. I'm lately trying to be less judgmental, but this woman would put me to the test! Once when my children were small, we approached a teller at a supermarket who you could smell long before you were next to her. Just as our turn came, my 4 year old daughter said very loudly, "Why does the lady stink?" Why indeed! (Try and ignore an inquisitive 4 year old...)

  8. On the surface, this is a good story that you tell very well. I'm not sure I want to scratch the surface. It seems there is much sadness there.

  9. Wow! What an interesting post about some interesting people. How wonderful that you were all so kind to her and David. They sound like sad people who didn't know how to really deal with life.

  10. Such an interesting story. I would love to know their history and what eventually became of them.

  11. Joey,
    I think considering what you survived via your Mom, you have become a great Dad. Be proud.

    Thanks friend. Yikes on the over perfumed co-worker. You reminded me of a high school classmate that was in love with Old Spice. You could smell him a floor away and we would say--"here comes Bob." I see he goes to the reunions and I can't help but wonder.

    Yes they are and make us appreciate our more conventional friends.

    Thanks but I would have been willing to pass on Ruth's visits. David was much easier to deal with.

    Ha ha, maybe not cancer but certainly damaged olfactory nerves. You are so right. It is just too embarrassing to tell someone they stink. We feel surely they must know and just don't care. However I understand we can't smell ourselves.

    I agree. Both of them could have used some professional help but there was even less available at that time than there is today which is still very inadequate.

    Seeing folks like that makes us appreciate our friends and family even more. I felt so sorry for both of them for they really had no one when a bank teller was the highlight of their day.

    You have to love children for their honesty. They say what they see with no feelings of remorse and with no sensors. You can only think that those folks are just nose blind to their own smell.

    Linda R,
    I so agree. I always felt badly for the handsome couple in the picture she would show me each time. What happened to them? Where did it fall apart?

    I think I was kinder to David than Ruth mainly because her smell made me want to hurry the transaction. She would not be hurried however. Now, breathing clean air today, it is easier to be happy she got some enjoyment out of our dealings. Such a sad life she led.

    On so many levels.

    I knew some what of the early happier years with Emanuel when they were happy and in love but don't know what happened after David was thrown in jail. Somewhere, there is more to the story.

  12. Reading this, you can't help but wondr what makes people the way they are, what happened to them. I imagine raising a son like David would be very tough, but still. I guess her mind didn't work right either. I'm glad they recognized your kindness, I'm sure you were the highlight of each day they came to the bank.

  13. My first thought is that the mother must have had a slight mental problem, too, to live the way she did. I don't know how anyone could deliberately be so dirty otherwise. It would be interesting to know, as Paul Harvey the radio newsman always said...the rest of the story!

  14. Good story with vivid imagery. No, wealth doesn't even come close to being a cure-all
    but I know something that is (a cure all)..... it begin with H ....rhymes with wealth and
    stands for happiness.

  15. Your description made me cringe, but I bet she really did enjoy coming in and talking to you. Sounds like you handled her very well, and were kind to her.

  16. Inger,
    She had me curious also for the pictures she showed me in her younger days looked so normal.

    Like you, I'd love to know the "rest of the story". I totally lost track when I changed work locations.

    Thank you. You bet. There is no comparison to the happiness health brings.

    It really was hard on the senses but I tried not to rush her. She seemed quite sad.