The Villages - May 2017 - 42
Class Monkey, Most Witty
Geraldine (Vess) Rutledge
Cold Springs High School, Forest City, North Carolina
Geraldine liked to monkey around. When her teachers
left the room, she'd rush to the front of the class to
entertain her high school peers with a joke.
"Ken Searcy and I earned the 'class monkey'
superlative," she said, "because we took turns amusing the
class whenever we had a shot."
Geraldine said she had humor in common with her
father, who was the class clown in his high school years.
"Dad took me everywhere," she said. "My sister was the
studious one, but dad and I were alike. On Friday evenings
we parched peanuts on the wood-burning stove and
shared a Pepsi. That was a real treat."
Despite her antics, Geraldine did well
in school and enjoyed her time at Cold
Springs High School in Forest City, North
Carolina, where she graduated in 1948.
"I had lots of friends and I loved
school, especially Latin class," she said.
"Learning a foreign language was
a great experience, and I recall
clearly the teacher who taught
After high school, Geraldine
donned a floor-length Chantilly lace
dress embroidered with sequins and pearls
and married the son of a pastor, Charles Rutledge.
She took a job at Miller & Rhoads Department store in
Richmond, Virginia, where she was glad to work in a social
Around retirement time, Charles heard about The
Villages and decided to see for himself.
"When he came for a visit, he was sold," Geraldine said,
"hook, line and sinker. We'd dance the nights away under
the white tent. We had some wonderful times and even
convinced another couple from our hometown to buy a
house in The Villages."
These days, you'll find Geraldine, a Village Santo
Domingo resident, playing bridge, golfing and socializing
with friends - full of life and still prone to joking.