Ruby in a new setting
By Ligaya Victorio Reyes
August 17, 1946 –TAKE a delicate, gentle girl from the ordered existence of a ladies school and plunk her in the midst of a palace’s social whirl, and you have a girl more than slightly bewildered. You have Ruby Roxas.
Ruby came home from Vassar not so long ago. She came home to a room done all in blue, to the muffled halls of chandelier-lit rooms, the incessant hustle and bustle of state life. She came home to a mother to whom she is devoted, a father whom she adores, a brother who is also a friend. And in coming home to them, she came back to a life completely new, the kind of life she had not planned on living, even she whose life had been a series of changes.
“I never dreamed of living in the Palace,” Ruby laughed. “only a year ago, we were so concerned about just being able to live that we never bothered about where we lived. We were running in the mountains then, and this dream was too remote for every one of us.”
But now that it had actually happened, how did she like being a President’s daughter?
“It carries with it a lot of responsibilities,” Ruby answered the question. “So many people who come to us have troubles, and if you are at all the sympathetic type, you cannot help but feel for them. But this life is such a drastic change from my well ordered school life. Here we have no regular hours for anything! We never know when we shall eat—yesterday we had lunch at four o’clock. That is no longer a lunch, is it? That is a merienda. We sleep late and we get up early.
“I do not know how we all stand it,” she sighed. “I am surprised that Mother, whose health is not very good, has borne it so well. But I am most worried about Father. One must be a superman to be able to stand the life he leads. He works all the time, he has no time at all to rest. With mother and me, though, there are compensations. One of these is the thought that we are helping Father in helping the people, that we are doing our little part. And so many people need help. Many are so down and out. We want to help everyone. We cannot do it, but we can try.”
And in trying, does she ever have time to concern herself with her own dream, her own ambitions.
Ruby laughs at her dreams and ambitions. “At one time,” she said, “I had planned on following in Father’s footsteps. I was going to take up law and become a politician. That was when I was about ten. Now I have changed my mind. Politics is a dirty and a difficult game, and unless one is prepared to sacrifice himself to the service of the people, he should not attempt it. there are so many heartaches involved in it. Your friends of today become your enemies of tomorrow, and your enemies of yesterday are your friends today. It is a hard life, especially for a girl. Now I am content to stay with my family as much as I can, to lead as quiet a life as is possible for me. Then, later,” and here Ruby paused in serious thought, “I plan to write. My greatest dream is to be able one day to write a biography of my father.” I cannot stop talking of my Father,” Ruby laughed in slight apology. Don’t let me. He is my favorite subject and I am his greatest admirer.”
With a valiant effort, she tore herself away from talk of her father to talk of something else. Of Katherine Cornell and Shaw’s “Candida.” Of Laurence Olivier and his magnificent “Henry the IV.” Of Miriam Hopkins who was hoarse when she played “Laura.” Of Frank Fay and his wonderful acting in “Harvey.” Of bobbysoxers and Frank Sinatra. Of books and movies—these last she loves but she seldom seem s to find time for them.
And she talked of Vassar and the life she led there. Everything was so ordered, even fun. Studies took up a great deal of the time, companionship made it to smoothly, and parties highlighted existence in general. She remembered election time and how jittery her friends were about election returns, and the aftermath for her, personally, of her Father’s being proclaimed President. Fan letters poured in, there was a round of entertainment, and she basked, slightly uncomfortably for one so quietly inclined as she is, in a good portion of reflected glory. And she looks back wistfully to a life so comparatively full and simple, and wonders if she could ever return to it. For now she is the President’s daughter, and much though she would like to be just another beloved , pampered girl, she knows she cannot be. For her Father had chosen to serve, and she must sail along with him in the unsettled ship of state.