Korea. Honolulu. Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Yuma, Arizona. El Centro, California. Arlington, Virginia. Carlisle. Six elementary schools. Three high schools.
Homeland resident Polly Myers saw the USA and beyond, even before she graduated from high school. Her father, a West Point graduate, was a career Army engineer whose assignments took the family around the globe.
Through it all, Polly made friends and learned to adjust. Polly, who came to Homeland in 2014 and has served on the Board of Managers, said she loves Homeland’s warm and attentive atmosphere.
“Everyone is friendly,’’ said Polly, who is in the Skilled Care wing. “The staff cares, and it shows.’’
It was while studying economics at Wellesley College that Polly suddenly became a Central Pennsylvania resident.
While planning a trip home to Arlington, she received a call telling her that her parents were now living in Carlisle. It proved a fateful move: during another break, an acquaintance introduced her to Bob Myers, the man she would marry.
“He was a charmer,” she said. “Bob and I just had a good time.” One night, they met in New York, where she raged about a speaker at school who said that businesses shouldn’t hire women. In response, Bob said, “I have a job in mind for you. Taking care of me.”
Back among her Wellesley friends, a heated debate ensued. Was Polly engaged or not? Some thought yes. Some thought no.
“Bob called later that night and said he told his parents he was engaged,” said Polly. “So, then I decided it really was a proposal.”
They married days after Polly graduated. It was the beginning of quite a journey. They bought a home in Camp Hill, learning the night of settlement that Bob’s great-grandfather had built it. While their three children were still young, he was diagnosed with a form of bone marrow cancer and given only a few years to live.
At the same time, Polly’s best friend, Joanne Wickersham, was fighting breast cancer. Joanne’s son-in-law played for the NFL’s Houston Oilers, and the team doctor got her an appointment at a top treatment center in Houston. Polly sat with her friend through chemo. When she saw the advanced care provided there, she thought that maybe they could help her husband.
Bob would go on to beat cancer. Joanne did not. One night, during an impromptu visit, Joanne’s home-care nurse asked Polly to hold Joanne while she changed the sheets. Polly apologized to Joanne, saying she knew how much it would hurt.
“She looked at me and said, ‘You never could hurt me,’” Polly recalled, her voice choking with emotion.
“I pulled her to me, and she died. The nurse said that she felt free to go because I was holding her.”
Bob, a lawyer, entered politics after his cancer diagnosis. As a Democrat, he had lost a close race for district attorney. Then, party officials asked him to run for Congress, believing that President Lyndon B. Johnson would sweep back into office and pull in Democrats on his coattails.
“That’s fine,” said Polly, “but I don’t think LBJ is going to run again.” She was right, and Bob lost by 10,000 votes. When a state Senate seat opened, he finally got his term in office, serving in the state’s upper chamber from 1974 to 1976.
“He loved it,” she said of her husband, who died in 1993. “He was so good at it.”
As a family, with their son and two daughters, they vacationed at the beach and in the mountains. Now with seven grandchildren, Polly enjoys watching football and college basketball. At Homeland, she made a dear friend in former dietitian Paula Barker. Every other Thursday, Paula makes a meal using recipes Polly finds and they eat together at Homeland’s classic 1950s-style diner.
“I realize how lucky I’ve been,” she said. “I’m just comfortable here.”