Gloria Walters and her sister make the most of Homeland.
Gloria Walters grew up as the youngest of six children, but she was never the stereotypically spoiled baby sister.
“With six of us, the housework and the cooking, I don’t think Mom had any time to spoil any of us,” says Gloria.
Today, though, Gloria is still the youngest sibling to her eldest sister, fellow Homeland resident Fern Sucec. The two live in different wings but get together frequently, sharing memories and catching up on the day’s news and happenings.
The pair grew up in the Harrisburg-area neighborhood called Rutherford Heights, on a hilltop near the railroad tracks. Their father worked for the railroad. Every day, he would rise early and walk down the hill to work.
“There was a path, and he would walk up that path from his job,” says Gloria. “I would go up there to meet him, and I remember the one time holding his hand, and we would walk back to the house.”
Gloria and Fern’s mother was an excellent cook, and in any case, at mealtimes, “what she put in front of us, we ate. There was no fussing.” Their mother cooked “good country stuff,” Gloria recalls. Even to this day, her favorite meal is chicken pot pie, although she never learned to make the succulent mix of dough, gravy and chicken as well as her mother could.
What did all those kids do together?
“Fight,” Gloria says with a laugh. “We were together day and night. We played games and stuff. But we did fight a lot, so the main words you remember hearing from your parents were, ‘Don’t fight.’”
Fern remembers giving baths to the younger siblings, and Gloria would cry, “You got soap in my eyes.” So Fern would answer, “Well, hold still, and I won’t get soap in your eyes.”
Gloria graduated from Swatara High School, which was important to her mother. “I don’t think she graduated, so she wanted that for us,” she says.
After graduating, “You did not laze around,” Gloria recalls. “You got a job and you worked. As long as you were living in the house, you worked and gave your mother a certain amount. You didn’t take time to relax.”
Gloria got a job as a typist, a skill she learned in school, and found that she had a talent for typing not only quickly, but accurately, as well.
“It was easy for me to type fast without a lot of mistakes, and I don’t know where that comes from, except maybe that I liked typing,” she says. “If you could do both things, you were valuable at that time. I was fortunate there.”
David Skerpon, senior vice president for consumer strategies at Capital BlueCross, fondly recalled working with Gloria when he was with Mellon Bank.
“While the retail banking head at Mellon Bank, I had the pleasure of working with Gloria Walters," Skerpon said.
“Gloria did an outstanding job supporting me as my executive assistant. Gloria was a dedicated employee with exceptional attention to detail, highly organized, and a delight to work with. Gloria could always be depended on to handle confidential business, irate customers, and employee communication professionally and courteously.’’
When asked what she likes about Homeland, Gloria, who previously served on Homeland Center’s Board of Managers, has a succinct answer: “Everything!"
She says she especially likes getting her nails done during a weekly manicure session. “It helps to make you feel dressed up,” she says.
Gloria says she also enjoys Homeland’s food and the varied activities.
“We do things and have picnics that keep us occupied,’’ she says. “Whenever anything like that comes up, we’re very excited about it. There’s always something to do. I feel very fortunate to be here.”