Wendy Royles was born in Cincinnati in 1964, and graduated from Princeton High School in 1983. After high school, she received training in clothing and fabric specialties, and spent 28 years working for Downlight Coats. She married a man whose family was from Athens, and they had a son, Jerald. She turned down supervisory positions and promotions when they became available because she wanted to raise her child, and the management positions would have made doing that well a whole lot tougher. Although her marriage to Jerald’s father did not last, her love for Athens did, and Jerald graduated from Athens High School.
Wendy became quite ill in 2009, and moved in with her former in-laws, with whom she is close. Her first experience with Athens Rehab was when she came to visit someone. Then she found herself in the position of being a resident after she had hip replacement surgery, and she will tell you she was “scared at first,” but that didn’t last long. She loved everything about the facility, especially how she was treated. She says with enthusiasm, “This place is great!”
More recently, she suffered a stroke, and is “back on the rehab track.” She expects to be living on her own again eventually.
We talked about changes and favorites, and spent a good deal of time talking about various Tyler Perry movies. Without a doubt, Tyler Perry is her favorite actor, and “Diary Of A Mad Black Woman” is her favorite Perry movie. We laughed hard about several “mad Madea” scenes from the film, and moved on to the subject of favorite actress, which is Halle Barry. A particular scene from “Losing Isaiah” made us all tear up, just to talk about it.
Her favorite color? Purple.
Her favorite songs? August, and Stevie Wonder’s Ribbons In The Sky.
Her favorite food? Mac and cheese. I asked her, “Do you make the best mac and cheese there is?” The twinkle in her eye said it all.
She attends Antioch Church, and her favorite bible verse is Psalms 91, which was one I leaned upon when I was in Iraq. I must admit, it means even more to me as I write this from Jerusalem. She used to quote it to herself when she was having to deal with co-workers who were acting like enemies, and who were actively trying to betray her. “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God, in whom I shall trust.” Good words, especially these days.
Her favorite President? Barack Obama, and she says the biggest change is having “the first African American President.” She added that she also “really liked Bill Clinton. He was a good president.”
Another big change? “The economy.”
Her advice to young people? With all her strength she said, “STAY IN SCHOOL! Stay in school as long as you can, and go to college if you can.”
I already knew she was very happy about the care she was receiving at Athens Rehab and Senior Care, and was enthusiastic about everything from the staff, to nurses, and the Activities Team. Words like “excellent”, and “friendly” came forth unbidden. But then I took a risk and asked a tougher question, seeing as she is planning on living on her own after she is finished with her rehab regimen. “OK, this is your second time here, and what I want to know is, if you had to come to come back as a permanent resident, would you be ok with that?” Her answer was swift and her smile was big. “Oh, yes!” Then we prayed.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner