Whatever Happened To Rhea

Rhea was the beauty queen

Rhea. Class of ’65. High school beauty queen. Rhea. Tall. Long black wavy hair, good hair, not a kink to be seen. Rhea. Coffee colored skin with loads of cream stirred right in. Rhea. Good mannered, articulate, soft spoken, not a hint of lazy southern drawl coming out of the mouth of that girl. Rhea. Our beacon of hope in a dim, shadowy, rejecting, unfriendly world. Rhea. We darker skinned, coiled, kinky haired girls just knew that she was going somewhere.

Her good hair, light skin and good articulation assured her that. Yet, we did not envy her the pedestal which we placed her on. Nor did we stop to think that perhaps what we thought of as the better portions of life given to her and not to us, was unfair. Rhea. Yeah. I suppose we could have hated but I think that we sensed that with all of her God given attributes she was as frightened of life and felt as vulnerable as the rest of us. Rhea. Although we glazed on her in adoration, like she was some type of alien goddess, never got the big head nor did she let herself be affected by our fuss. Rhea. We, her adoring fan club, had her future all planned out. She would go to Hollywood and become a movie star. Or maybe a fashion model. In any case, she would become super rich. She would have maids, housekeepers, and a chauffeur who would drive her to the finest restaurants in town where she would dine nightly on lobster and steak and sip pink champagne. Rhea. Most of us doubted that she would get married and have children. Even if she married, we conjectured, she would not let her husband nor her children abuse her. She would not be doing any cooking either. Why would she mar her beautiful café au lait skin cooking bacon and frying hot water cornbread for a bunch of unruly, screaming kids who talked back to her and a husband who cheated on her with her best friends? Rhea. Yeah. She would not let anybody take advantage of her. She would protect herself for sure. She might even buy one of those cute little pearl handed pistols that southern women used to keep in their bosom, their own brand of ‘to protect and serve’. Rhea. She would have it all together. She would pass all of society’s test we surmised as we prepared to take our places in a rejecting world that treated us with disdain, disrespect and downright hatred. Rhea.

Umm… The girls on the corner are stepping lively tonight. I wonder whatever become of Rhea?