After more than 30 years as a school cook, Ruby Haught retired at the end of the school year.
Haught is also this year’s Wyoming County Schools’ Service Personnel of the Year, and was honored by schools officials during a recent board of education meeting.
She was presented with a $1,000 cash award by Professional Business Products.
Haught began her career as a school cook at Matheny Grade School. When a position opened at the old Road Branch Grade School, she took it. The move brought her close to home.
At the time, the deteriorating school building had seen much better days and a new school was under construction just a couple of miles away. In the days before the existence of the state School Building Authority, the school construction was funded with only county money and the progress was extremely slow.
There was no dishwasher — everything had to be washed by hand.
Six months later, however, she was cooking in the new Road Branch Elementary and Middle School, in a new kitchen with modern conveniences.
“I just hit it lucky,” she said. “We were so excited to have this nice school.”
Her mother, Ethel Toler, was also a school cook at Road Branch in the 1960s.
Haught found one of her mother’s cookbooks not long after going to work at the school.
Her mother-in-law, Bertha Haught, was also a school cook at the now closed Baileysville High School.
“There are a lot of perks,” Haught said of being a school cook.
She had the summers off with her three children and enjoyed the same holidays.
She was involved in school functions and volunteered with all the school fundraisers.
It was a job she loved.
The students see school cooks differently than a teacher or administrator, Haught explained.
“They don’t see someone in authority. They see us as momma or grandma,” she said with a laugh.
Haught had two grandchildren attending the school who called her Grammy.
The name stuck and, before long, she had become “Grammy” to all the students.
Now that she is retired, Haught and her husband Tony, who has been retired for a couple of years, are planning to travel the historic Rt. 66.
“We’ve always talked about it,” she said.
The trip, however, will have to wait a little longer, at least until everything from their garden has been harvested and canned.
“We’ve raised a big garden every year since we’ve been married,” she said. “He’s the one with the green thumb and I do the canning. It’s one of my favorite things.”
She’s always loved to cook and that won’t change with her retirement, she said. She can work as a substitute cook, if she chooses to do so.
Haught also loves to sew and to read.
“There’s always a stack of something that needs sewing on my machine — something that needs to be hemmed or repaired,” she said with a laugh.
She also wants to visit with her family more. The baby sister to 11 brothers, she hosts a family reunion each Memorial Day weekend.
Even with plenty to occupy her time, she will miss working.
“I always loved my job. I always loved the people I worked with. I always loved the kids. I’ll sure miss them.”