Meet Carlton Senior Living spotlight residents, Hank and Rhoda Bruett. Hank was born in Brunsbüttel, in Northern Germany near Hamburg. His parents and whole family lived there, and as he puts it, “Everyone in my family lived within 35 miles of there, and we only had bicycles and no cars, so if you wanted to meet and marry someone, you would have to ride your bike to the nearest town.”
Hank had an uncle living in Bolinas, in Marin County, who asked if Hank or his brother wanted to move out to California. Hank jumped at the idea and set forth for America when he was 19 years old.
Rhoda was born in Woodland, California, where her grandmother ran a boarding house. Rhoda was attending San Jose State for a degree in Education when Hank was working for Pacific Gas and Electric and was assigned a job in Dixon. Rhoda’s grandmother wrote to her, saying that she had to come home to meet the man who was staying in the boarding house. Hank says one day he saw a blue dress hanging up, and “wanted to meet the girl who came with it.” The two of them hit it off and now have been married 63 years.
Hank continued to work for PG&E, SMUD, and an elevator and escalator conveyance company. Prior to retiring, he ran his own electrical contracting company in Davis. Rhoda taught kindergarten and then became certified as a Braillist, transcribing documents, papers, and other literature into Braille for the San Juan Unified School District’s blind students and teachers.
They have two sons: Brooks, who lives in Oregon and is a manager for State Farm Insurance, and Jeff, an electrical contractor, who resides in Sacramento. Hank and Rhoda describe some of their favorite life experiences as being able to travel with their family, and also as a couple, on cruise ships to the Caribbean, Panama Canal, and Hawaii.
Their life philosophy is to “enjoy every day, and each other,” and also that “attitude is everything.” They add to “never go to bed mad.”
When asked who they most admire, Rhoda says her mother, as she was happy-go-lucky, and a positive thinker. Hank states that he admires the people who had the foresight to plan and build railroads and dams, find ways to climb mountains and get through deserts, create jobs, and had the get-up and go to get things done.
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Written by Eric Demuth