John and Rhunette Rhunette

John and Rhunette

When I visit Rhunette at the nursing home she is usually in bed with the cover pulled up over her head.  I always say: “Rhunette, are you in there?”  She then looks out and says “Hi, it’s nice to see you!”  I asked her once what was her favorite thing to do at the home and she said staying in bed.  The thing she disliked most in life was arguing and fighting.  While she is a somewhat private person, she is well liked by her roommates.  She brings about a sense of responsibility, fairness, and sincerity.  When I’m leaving her room I tell her “I will see you next week.”  She says “I’ll be looking for you,” which means I’ll take your word for it.

Rhunette’s character comes from her tough upbringing as a farm girl in rural Macon, Georgia where she was born.  She was the oldest child with four brothers and one sister.  She was ten years old when her next sibling was born!  So Rhunette then became the third parent.  When mom and dad were not around, Rhunette was running the household—a lot of responsibility at a young age.  I asked her if she enjoyed fishing as a child; she did not.  She had the responsibility of babysitting while her parents fished.  Also, she did not know how to swim.

Although times were hard and she had a lot to do, she did manage to get an elementary school education.  The book in school that she remembers the most and wishes she still had was called “Baby Ray.”  I looked the book up on the internet but could not find one for sale.  I did find out that it was published in 1927.  The activity she enjoyed most on the playground was hop-scotch.  The children would play to a tune: “Sally goes round the sunshine, Sally goes round the moon, Sally goes round the sunshine, every afternoon.”

In almost all her childhood activities was her pet horse, Peo.  Peo always seems to come up in our conversations.  The horse would follow them to church and be waiting at the church when they came out.  Rhunette loved Christmas even though most of her gifts were food items like potatoes.  Her family was very poor.  She said her best Christmas was when she was 11 and she got a “show doll.”  Her favorite food was collard greens and pork chops with coconut cake for dessert.

Rhunette, who was born in 1921, lived in Macon until 1960 when she moved to Gainesville, Florida with her son and daughter.  Her husband was deceased.  Her son has passed away while her daughter and her only living sibling (Clarence) both live in Los Angeles.  Rhunette worked 29 years for a Gainesville family as a housekeeper and babysitter for their children.

She has strong religious beliefs, is of the Baptist faith, and loves Jesus.  She is now 93 years young, and has a better memory than myself.  She enjoys talking and I enjoy listening to her.  I know that she appreciates me being there.  She has a great sense of herself and the world around her.  A very wonderful lady.