Hi Eric 

I still use ruby 1.8 but I am starting to write code with ruby1.9 and breaking compatibility.

Concerning your order issue did you think of using Array or Struct object ?
You did not explain why you need symbols to access your data.
Struct elements can be accessed by symbols and I believe they are ordered.
This last point needs to be checked.

http://www.ruby-doc.org/core-1.9.3/Struct.html
--
Vincent Carmona