Unlikely Friendship: Rosie & Tamika
Tamika Gidron, 40, and Rozella Durham, 60, met each other working at Rivers Edge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
“She supported me [at first] without even knowing me.”
“She still says some smart things for a young one!”
Rozella Durham, 60, likes football and bingo. Her philosophy in life is simple: Everything will work out in the end; just chill out. Tamika Gidron, 40, likes shoes and is a type-A-go-getter-girly-girl. But, despite the fact that Rosie is actually older than Tamika’s own mother…and that Tamika is Rosie’s boss…and that they grew up on different sides of time and place in this city, they have managed to become best friends for the past 15 years.
Rosie, an LPN, met Tamika, an RN, at Rivers Edge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center when Tamika was only 25. Rosie had been with the long-term care community since 1983, so at 45 she had endured many changes and had the wisdom of experience that Tamika lacked. The company soon recognized Tamika’s leadership potential and quickly began to groom her for administration. Being in her 20s, Tamika struggled with the dynamics in the building from older employees that witnessed her quickly rise to becoming their supervisor.
“The staff was not nice; they were mean girls. But Rosie went out of her way to make me feel welcome. She had a motherly characteristic and told me not to worry about the staff. She was kind, stern, and rebellious — everything I needed at the time — and went out of her way to make me stay. She was a godsend; she supported me without even knowing me,” Tamika recalls.
Rosie, sitting beside her best friend and boss during our virtual interview, said, “I saw this young, Black, smart, go-getter type. You didn’t see that in long-term care at the time. The staff was mad because this 25-year-old woman was going to start telling these 40-year-old women what to do. She was nervous, but I told her, ‘If you want it, let’s get it! She needed someone to tell her she could do it. She is an open, caring, good person, and I wanted to see her succeed. She still says some smart things for a young one!”
Fifteen years later, Rosie and Tamika are still a team. Tamika helps Rosie with her dialysis, medicines, and with decoding technology and millennials. She helps Rosie with transportation when she needs it. Rosie, in return, talks Tamika down when she is about to lose her mind with parenting; she always listens and shares sensible wisdom. “Rosie is this flower-child that always reminds me that ‘this, too, shall pass.’ I just have to walk off when she says that!” Tamika says with a laugh.
Rosie responds, in reference to their yin-yang relationship, “I took her gambling one time and she lost $20 — you would have thought she lost $2 million! But she’s hard on me, too. She pushes me. I almost quit when we went to electronic records, but Tamika taught me what I needed and made me do it.”
“Well,” Tamika responds, “Rosie is prideful. I have to bulldoze myself into her life sometimes. I have to look out for her because she did it for me.”
Together, this duo has weathered many storms in their personal and private lives. This past winter, when COVID-19 was ravishing nursing homes, Tamika says she and Rosie became soldiers in order to save as many lives as possible.
“We are winning. She will be my lifetime partner in everything I do,” Rosie says about her boss and best friend. “She knows I won’t break up with her.”