Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
Published by Ruth Waddy
I am Ruth Maria Waddy. No known relation to Ruth G. Waddy ( an activist and artist who cultivated an influential group of Black artists in California in the 1960s and didn’t start painting and printmaking until she was in her fifties). When I first heard of her, I was astounded that someone else had my name. And it felt profoundly prophetic that she was an artist. I never knew another Ruth until I was in my thirties. And I have only once met another Waddy (outside of my immediate family). It was announced on the intercom “Waddy, party of two” - and my boyfriend and I went to the counter and discovered a white couple from Ohio, who were as surprised to meet me, a Black lady named Waddy, as I was to meet them. And what’s in a name. Maybe everything that we are intended to be. I’ve spent my life trying to wrestle the meaning out of my name. Ruth means friend and is perhaps best defined by its opposite, “ruthless”.
My last name is apparently popular in Australia, where it is an aboriginal object, that can be either a war club or walking stick. This fact delights me. It seems to beautifully encompass the space between flight or flight. The same object can assist in war or peace. In the early American West, a waddy was a skillful horseman-a ranch hand for hire, or even a cattle rustler. Many Black cowboys were waddys. As a native Texan, this makes my heart thump.
I like to walk and I like to wander. I’m not a skillful horseman; though I love the freedom that living off of your talents provides. I want to be a better friend. To choose the walking stick and to happily trod the artist’s path.
View more posts