From very little on, my grandmother, Ruby Viola Hanneman, had a beauty that radiated in the many photographs taken of her. Her grandchildren no doubt recall the housecoat-type of outfits she often wore around the house. But make no mistake, Ruby was a fashion icon in her day. Our photo gallery bears ample testimony.
My grandparents were anything but wealthy. They worked hard to provide a middle-class home to their three children, Donn, David (my Dad) and Lavonne. Grandpa Carl F. Hanneman was a pharmacist at the Hess clinic and hospital. As we detailed in another post, he wrote to the attorney general of Wisconsin for help in upgrading his pharmacist license so he could better care for his family.
Regardless of the family’s financial circumstances, the Hanneman children were always dressed in nice clothing. Carl had nice suits for work and Sunday Mass. If you met Ruby at a family event, you might think she descended from royalty. Actually, there was a longstanding family yarn that said the Treutel family from which Ruby came was from a royal line in Europe. I’m still researching that one. Nevertheless, Ruby was always sharply dressed. The main photo above shows her in a Life Magazine pose during a 1950s trip out West. Classic stuff.
Far be it for me to offer detailed commentary on women’s fashion, but I am struck by Ruby’s fashion sense as shown in the photo gallery below. Dresses, hats, gloves, shoes and coats, nicely coordinated. This was evident at different events, from weddings to the common Sunday visit to family and extended family in the Wisconsin Rapids area. So many decades later, these photos are a real treat, although also reminders of the hole in our lives left by the absence of loved ones like Dad (1933-2007) and Grandma Ruby (1904-1977).
I am quite tickled that my youngest daughter, not coincidentally named Ruby, is also very interested in fashion and interior decorating, just like her great grandma. I marvel at her discussions of colors, styles and fabrics — things I know little about. One thing is for sure: Ruby V. Hanneman is no doubt pleased to look down and see Ruby E. Hanneman, a young lady after her own heart.
©2015 The Hanneman Archive