Mrs. Ruth Jones

Corinthian Clippings for Feb. 24, 1984
Mrs. Ruth Jones
Baby Ruth Just Loves to Put On  (By Yvonne Cummings)
The large room upon entering the Fifth Street house has served as a dance studio for Mrs. Ruth Jones for a number of years.
The bookshelf serves as a resting place for worn ballet shoes, and the mantle over the fireplace is lined with pictures-some going back as far as 1945-of students who have filled those shoes while mastering the art of dance through the guidance and instruction of Mrs. Jones, one of the oldest dance teachers in Corinth.
“Yes, those are all my children,” Mrs. Jones commented pointed to all of the school day pictures lining the walls of the Jones family home.
Although Mrs. Jones, the widow of T.W. Jones, came to Corinth close to 40 years ago, her career began long before she started teaching dance in Corinth.
Mrs. Jones was born in Ogden, Utah, close to Salt Lake City, into the vaudeville family of Daniel and Florence Anderson. She became one of vaudeville’s star attractions not long after she learned to walk and talk.
“Baby Ruth,” as she was called by her peers, has rubbed shoulders with the best in the business. Included in her acquaintances are such well noted artists as Al Joslin, W.E. Fields and a number of others.
“We were in Coronado Beach in California,” she reflects, “and the manager of the theatre wanted to see my sister and brother dance,” she added.
“They performed the English Cake Walk,” their number one dance piece she remembers. But what Mrs. Jones remembers most about the show was that it was her first performance.
“The theatre manager was impressed,” Mrs. Jones added.
He asked Mama and Papa, Mrs. Jones remembers, “Why don’t you let her go on stage?”
After touring with the vaudeville acts, “Papa decided we needed some new songs,” Mrs. Jones said. “So he took us to the publishing house to have new songs made.
“Irvin Berlin who was in New York, and just starting out as a song writer, was recommended to us.”
According to Mrs. Jones, Berlin wrote a song for both Mrs.. Jones and her sister.
“Aren’t You Coming Out Tonight,” was the name of the song written for Mrs. Jones by the author of such popular American classics as “God Bless America,” and “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.”
“It’s quite an honor to know he wrote a song for me,” Mrs. Jones said.
During those years Mrs. Jones had the opportunity of watching Harry Houdini backstage when he had a difficult time escaping from a straight jacket. She watched while Vernon and Irene Castle danced, and was also on the bill, as they called it then, with Fred Astair and his sister.
The four Andersons is what they were called. A Papa, brother and sister team, and of course “Baby Ruth.”
“We were always what they called the featured act,” Mrs. Jones said, “because we were children.”
Their set was composed of a beautiful swing trimmed in roses with a cottage sitting to one side of it.
“I would sit in the swing and sing,” Mrs. Jones said.
According to Mrs. Jones, the audiences couldn’t get over her being so small and having a voice so big. “No matter where they sat in the audience,” Mrs. Jones said, “they could hear me.”
“When we played Minneapolis and St. Paul,” Mrs. Jones said, “we wer ecalled: The ‘Norwegian Wonders’ because me father was from Norway,” she remembers.
A few years before the outbreak of World War I, the show came to Corinth where she met her future husband, T.W. Jones.
The Andersons were on their way to Paducah, Kentucky when they were delayed in Corinth a day or two. Because of this delay, T.W. and “Baby Ruth’s” brother met and became close friends.
The Andersons were playing in Florence, Alabama and Mrs. Jones asked permission to visit her husband-to-be in Corinth.
“We were married and my parents didn’t find out until weeks later,” Mrs. Jones said.
While her husband was off to war, Mrs. Jones continued performing on stage.
“When he returned, we made an actor out of him,” Mrs. Jones said. “He was a good actor too,” she added.
Mr. Jones worked with the family act until the late 1920’s when the parents quit show business and “Baby Ruth’s” sister got married. The family act was then no more.
Mrs. Jones, who had let somewhat of a pampered career in the show business world, saw her life take a dramatic change when they moved to Canada.
“He taught me how to cook and to ride horses,” Mrs. Jones said, speaking of her husband.
Although there were other things now going on in her life, Mrs. Jones never gave up dance, the art she had learned so well.
“I wouldn’t take any money for it,” she said of teaching dance in Canada, “I would just show the kids how to dance and we would put on shows.”
The Joneses would return to Corinth very winter and in the spring go back to Canada.
Mrs. Jones would teach her dance lessons during their in-between travel times.
Mrs. Jones, who is very fond of ballet has been teaching in Corinth alone for more than 40 years, when asked if she plans to retire said, “No, I don’t plan to retire soon.”
Mrs. Jones teaches a little of everything-tap, gymnastics, baton, etc.
Hopefully, Mrs. T.W. (Baby Ruth) Jones won’t have to retire soon and will continue teaching the children of Corinth the art of dance.

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