This is the last week of freedom before Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools open their doors for a new academic year. The yellow buses are already practicing their routes, football games are already being played, and sports teams are honing their skills daily. Cooler temperatures and welcome rain make for a wonderful transition week from vacation to homework! And Mother Nature is making use of the soggy ground to provide a bountiful crop of “designer” mushrooms.
Around Davidson today spent some time at The Pines interviewing J. and Martha Honeywell and Ruth Harms who are fairly recent “newcomers” to the retirement community. We think you will enjoy knowing them.
MEET POLLY HARMS
Her real name is Ruth Harms but while serving in the Women’s Marine Corps. during World War II, a boot camp buddy declared, “You look like a Polly” and the name stuck. Polly Harms grew up in Nashville, TN, and met her husband, John Daniel Harms, on a blind double-date for sodas in a Walgreen Drug Store booth back in 1941. When the war was over, they married and spent the first five years of married life in Boston where John Daniel earned a degree in hydraulic engineering from MIT. He was employed with American Air Filter until his unexpected death in Chicago in 1974.
Polly returned to her ancestral home in Nashville, TN, for the next 30 years until her sons, John Daniel (Chicago), Steven (Montclair, NJ) and Peter (Davidson) decided that “Mom” needed to come live with one of them. (Polly remarked that they were trying to “tell her what to do!”) She did relocate, reluctantly, to Davidson to live with Peter for a year. Then she bought a home in Highland Creek for the next 2 ½ years, and this past January came to The Pines. “Good choice,” she says so her boys don’t have to worry about her! And she does not have to move again since she already has “moved 31 times in her life!”
Pines’ residents can tell you about Polly when she appeared at their Memorial Day program recognizing those who had served in the military dressed in her original Women’s Marine Corps uniform – complete with a few moth holes but fitting her trim figure just as well now as it did back in 1943. Polly enlisted that year mentioning that all the young men had gone to war and she thought she also should serve her country. She trained at Camp Lejeune in NC and was assigned to galley work at Quantico, VA., helping prepare meals three times a day for all the enlisted women assigned to the Marine Corps Headquarters. She fondly remembers learning to crack four eggs at a time – two in each hand – and hoping that any shell disappeared in the cooking.
Polly is eager to tell you about her three sons and their wives, her four grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Her one bedroom apartment is a mini-museum with family treasures and photos throughout the rooms including framed news articles about her service in the Marine Corps. Polly also will show you a closet full of elegant dresses, suits, jackets and formal attire – all of which she sewed herself. Polly has been making her own clothes since she was 11 years old. Her Pfaff sewing machine and sewing table have a perfect spot in her bedroom. She likes Vogue patterns the best but regrets that good fabric is harder and harder to find and Mary Jo’s in Gastonia is too far to drive. Well-made garments from fashionable designer patterns hang neatly on rods and fit her as well today as the day she completed the last stitch. Wow! That in itself is remarkable. (Your Around Davidson reporter, who has also been known to keep a sewing machine working overtime some years ago, examined the collars, linings, buttonholes, zippers and decorative cording only to find all A+ quality.)
When not visiting family and friends, or reading, Polly finds time to knit lap robes for health care patients – and of course, keeps her sewing machine humming. We are glad to know Polly Harms!
FROM NEW YORK TO NORTH CAROLINA
J. and Martha Honeywell left Elizabethtown, NY, and moved into their cottage at The Pines May 1, 2011. The first question posed to this couple was “How did you end up at The Pines?” It seems that in the fall of 2010 they traveled from NY to visit a son in the D.C. area before continuing to Atlanta to spend Thanksgiving with their daughter. It was too long a drive to cover the Interstates from Washington to Georgia in one day so they stopped in Davidson to visit Martha’s sister, Del Murray, a Pines’ resident. Looking around the Honeywells commented that this retirement community might just suit them and at the end of 2010 signed up for a unit – thinking it might be a year or two before a cottage was available. Before they knew it, a cottage was vacant and 16 months ago they arrived with their “pared down” household goods and two 16 year old cats, Rama and Sita.
J. grew up in Kansas, has a degree from the University of Chicago, taught first at Elmira College and retired from Skidmore College after teaching Philosophy for 25 years and has two daughters who live in England and Santa Fe, NM. Martha grew up outside Boston, graduated from the University of Colorado, taught 20 years in Labrador and another 10 in Vermont before settling with J. in New York State. They both love the outdoors but mobility problems for J. in recent years have kept him dependent on a walker or scooter. Martha, however, continues to hike locally (just ask Sam Hay) and in Europe with J’s daughter who hikes regularly with a group of friends. Martha spent 12 days hiking with these friends in the Vosges Mountains of Alsace Lorraine, France, this past June. Other hikes have taken her to Italy and frequently well-worn paths in the British Isles.
While J. loves to read and play bridge, Martha enjoys yoga and plays the trumpet with the Lake Norman Orchestra. Did we forget to mention that Martha also has a one-man canoe behind their cottage and just this summer traveled to the Adirondacks to paddle with good friends. Martha is also a regular at Summit Coffee “hiking” from The Pines at 7 a.m. with Jean Berg and Joanne Rawson. Goodness! Makes this correspondent weary just to hear of her unlimited energy! Glad to have the Honeywells in Davidson!
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