Ruth Hyde Paine
New Conspiracy novel Saving Jackie K includes information about real-life suspects and witnesses. But what about people who were involved on the sidelines?
In 1963, Mrs. Ruth Paine was living in Irving, Texas in a tiny white ranch house dwarfed by a sprawling live oak tree on the front lawn. The mini-kitchen inside contained not only a stove and refrigerator, but also a washing machine and ironing board. Separated from her husband, the Quaker woman lived with her two toddlers, Lynn and Christopher.
Through a desire to improve East-West relations in the world community, Mrs. Paine studied the Russian language for several years, and participated in a Soviet pen-pal program sponsored by the Quakers. Because of her interest in speaking Russian, Mrs. Paine was invited to a party in February of 1963, where she met Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife, Marina. Oswald had learned the foreign language on his own, and married Marina, a Russian girl, during the time when he defected to the USSR.
Mrs. Paine and Marina, another young mother, became fast friends. When it became clear that Marina needed a place to stay, Mrs. Paine invited her and her two infant children to live in the Paine home, despite the cramped quarters in the two-bedroom house. Although Marina barely spoke English, Mrs. Paine favored the arrangement as way to practice her Russian skills. Meanwhile, Lee Oswald rented an elfin room in Dallas under an assumed name—Mr. O.H. Lee—a fact he kept hidden from his wife.
Read the Explosive Novel – Saving Jackie K
On the Sunday before the presidential assassination, Mrs. Paine dialed Oswald’s rooming house at 1026 North Beckley Avenue, at the request of Marina. “Is Lee Oswald there?” A man answered the phone and reported that there was no such person living there. The next day, Oswald called his wife, furious that she might have revealed his true identity. He didn’t want his landlady to know his real name because she might read in the newspapers that he had lived in the Soviet Union and had been questioned by the FBI.
On the night before the assassination, Mrs. Paine spent time sitting in her garage, painting alphabet blocks for her children. She was unaware that Lee Harvey Oswald’s bolt-action Mannlicher-Carcano rifle lay rolled up in a blanket on the floor.
On November 22, when Mrs. Paine learned that the president had been shot, she lit several candles. Marina asked her if it was a way of praying. Mrs. Paine said it was, in her own way.
In an interview after the assassination, Mrs. Paine described Lee Harvey Oswald: “I thought of him as a dissenter, a pamphlet passer, a person not contented with society as it was nor with himself . . . He certainly had very little training, so that he was not able to get jobs that interested him . . . He was not a particularly capable person.”
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