In December, we originally aired “The Tale of Lot 180.” Producer Kenny Malone searched for the story behind deceased Udavilla Rutherford’s unclaimed collection of salt shakers, held at the Florida Bureau of Unclaimed Property.
We received this comment from Carolyn Lane about “The Tale of Lot 180:”
Uda was not alone. She had her daughter, Barbara, and her grandson, Todd, to take care of her until the state decided she needed to go into a care facility. Barbara then went into assisted living and Todd came back to Maine. Uda chose not to have anything to do with her grandaughter Alison because of her dislike for Alison’s mother. Uda’s loss. Uda never worked outside the home during her marriage and her husband unfortunately died in the 70′s of a heart attack following colon surgery. Uda also had another child a girl named Betty born after Gary. Betty had a heart condition and died at age 5. She was a sweet child who adored her brother Gary. Uda’s life was not a bad life but it could have been much more fulfilling if she had opened her heart to some of her family and not listened to the lies of her son.
Malone received this e-mail from Carolyn Lane in December:
To Kenny Malone:
I wish you had contacted me regarding Udavilla Rutherford. I believe you spoke to my mother Mildred Burke regarding her. Todd Rutherford, Uda’s grandson and my son, did not want to talk to you and he is the one who was closest to Uda. He went to Bradenton and lived for years taking care of her until the state stepped in and she was put into a home for her Alzheimers. He said he did know of the safe deposit box but Uda said there was nothing of real value in there. Alison never had anything to do with her grandmother because her grandmother did not like me and so Uda chose not to accept Alison so it was not Alison’s choosing. Uda never worked outside the home and her husband was a detective for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s dept in Portland, Maine. He suffered a heart attack in the 70′s after undergoing surgery for colon cancer. Uda had 5 grandchildren: Jamie Violette now of British Columbia, Todd and Alison Rutherford, both born in Maine, Veronica and Jason Rutherford of California from Gary’s second marriage. Barbara Rutherford lived with her mother in Florida until her mother was put in the home. Barbara lives in assisted living. When she was a young teenager she was hit by a vehicle and suffered some brain damage.
She’s a very nice person and her and her mother loved Todd very much and [they] were very close. If you have any other questions about her that I am able to answer I would be more than happy to answer them.
Kenny Malone responded:
Thank you so much for reaching out to us at Under the Sun about Udavilla’s story. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate the feedback. As your message demonstrates, there is always more story to tell, especially when trying to piece together a portrait of someone. Speaking to one more person can bring revelation or further focus that which was already focusing.
I’d love to do a follow-up phone interview with you (recorded, not live) so we can include the details you’ve outlined as part of our website. A lot of Under the Sun listeners find us online; we could post the recorded interview as an accompanying/broadening piece of audio to Udavilla’s story.
I too, wish I’d have known to contact you about the piece. But, as the piece suggests, I was working from nearly no starting place. The database got me further than it had the State of Florida when I found Allison. Allison put me in touch with Mildred who gave me Todd’s number (as you mentioned, he chose to abstain from interview). Unfortunately, your email was the first time I heard your name or else I certainly would have included you (and your insight) in the story.
But, again, I think a follow-up interview could help broaden the picture of Uda significantly. With so many people listening online these days, it’s never too late to include more detail.
Carolyn wrote back and promised she’d call soon, but Malone never heard back.