Ruth Squire, hero of “An Unlikely Arrangement” By Patty Wiseman

What is your story?

My name is Ruth Squire. I’m locked in my upstairs bedroom. You’d think at 17 years old, I’d be allowed more freedom, but my parents think differently. Okay, so I tried to sneak out to go dancing with my friends, but this is 1929, after all, the roaring twenties, as they say. They are downstairs deciding my fate.

Where do you live?

My home is Detroit, Michigan. We live in the brownstone house where my mother was born. I love the old house. It’s not in the richest part of town, but we do very well. At least, that is what my parents tell me.

What is your problem in the story?

The problem is I don’t know what they are going to do for punishment. This isn’t the first time I’ve been in trouble. I suppose you’d call me a free spirit. They want me to graduate from high school, get married, and have babies. I don’t want to! I want to travel, see the world, become an actress. Girls don’t graduate from high school anymore. It’s 1929, and they all want to find rich husbands. I just want to get free of my parents rule.

Do you embrace conflict?

Embrace it? I think I create it. I’m always rebelling. My mother is strong-willed, so I suppose I get it from her. Father is very quiet.

How do your friends see you?

I’m the leader of the group. My best friend, Ginny, follows every plan I devise. My imagination gets the better of me, and my friends enjoy the excitement. Unfortunately, I’m the only one that seems to get caught.

Has anyone ever betrayed you?

Ginny runs away, but never really betrays me. As I think about it, my father doesn’t really stand up to Mother when it comes to punishment. We are very close, and he spoils me, but defers to her. Her punishment is usually harsh. This time I fear something big is afoot. Probably boarding school. They came upstairs to tell me they were leaving for the day and to remain in my room. The maid, Sarah, is to watch over me. Sarah has been with me since I was born. I hope she can tell me something of their plans.

Who was your first love?

I’ve never had a proper boyfriend. My parents wouldn’t let me date the high school boys, so I’ve never been in love. There is a horse-drawn milk truck downstairs; I can see from my window. My parents are back. Strange vehicle for a headmaster of a boarding school.

Have you ever had an adventure?

I’ve tried to have adventures. I want life to be one big adventure, not like my stodgy mother. It’s funny though, I think that is all about to change. Sarah is being very secretive, and I hear a man’s voice downstairs. They made me put on my ‘company’ dress.

What is your favorite color?

Red! I love red, it’s bold, daring. It stands out above everything else. Mother hates red and won’t allow me to wear it. I wish she’d catch up to the modern times.

What is your favorite beverage?

Cocoa. Sarah brews the best cocoa. My favorite time is in the kitchen with Sarah sipping on the warm brew. We talk and share secrets. Mother never shares any secrets with me.

What makes you think change would be for the better?

Anything would be better than this boring existence. Rules, rules, rules. Mother is so strict. I couldn’t survive if Father didn’t spoil me a little. He reads his stories to me. He’s a writer. I love spending time in his room listening to his tales. But, all in all, the house is too quiet. No parties, no friends, just Sarah, and my parents. I have to get out of here!

How do you envision your future?

On stage. I want so much to be an actress. My parents want me to find a husband, safely married with a family. I can’t think of anything more horrible. Housework and babies. No thank you.

Was there a major turning point in your life?

Not yet, but I think today might be the day. Something is going on downstairs.

What are you afraid of?

My mother’s wrath. There is something different this time. I fear the horrible punishment she has plotted. I only hope Father stops her in time.

How does the author see you?

I have to smile here because I think the author, Patty Wiseman, has nailed my personality. She sees me as spoiled, headstrong, rebellious, but with a touch of vulnerability. Seventeen is a difficult age for a girl in 1929 with few prospects and limited choices for women. She shows my strong side, but explores the insecurity that will surface, also. You can find out more about me and Patty Wiseman at and

One Response to “Ruth Squire, hero of “An Unlikely Arrangement” By Patty Wiseman”

  1. Sheila Deeth Says:

    I really want to know about that milk-truck now. Great interview!

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