Homeland residents, separate but together, keep their love alive


On the rainy day when Don and Lorraine Englander first met, he was whistling “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.”

Don and Lorraine Englander

That was around 1978, and it has been their song ever since.

Today, the Englanders live in separate Homeland wings but they get together every day to talk, laugh, watch TV, and share meals. And they still share all their favorite love songs with each other and with fellow Homeland residents.

Don is an accomplished, lifelong singer and keyboardist who has performed with combos throughout Central Pennsylvania. On Valentine’s Day, he presented a program at Homeland, performing from a playlist of the Sinatra standards that he and his Homeland neighbors love – “Fly Me to the Moon,” “You Make Me Feel So Young,” “My Funny Valentine.”

While Don performs, Lorraine is at his side. Though his eyesight has deteriorated, he can still play his Yamaha keyboard because he taught Lorraine – who readily admits she “can’t carry a tune in a bucket” – to program the songs.

From Don’s cozy room, Lorraine recalls how she came to Homeland first, from their home on Reeser’s Summit, outside of New Cumberland, where they loved watching storms roll in over the valley. Don followed about a year later to join her.

“I wanted to come here,” he says.

“Because I was here,” Lorraine adds.

The Englanders met on that rainy day when Lorraine was a secretary at a YMCA, and Don dropped by on business. They married in 1979 in a Las Vegas service performed by a minister wearing an enormous beehive hairdo. They raised a blended family of six children and loved traveling together. A map on the wall is pinned with dozens of places they’ve seen in the U.S., Central America, and Europe.

Don is a World War II infantry and Rome Area Command veteran. From a hospital bed in Rome while he recuperated from wounds, he witnessed the last major eruption of Mount Vesuvius, in 1944.

“That’s something to see,” he says now.

At Homeland, they attend programs together. Lorraine enjoys “Sports Talk with Herm” twice a month. They also get out to see shows in local theaters, Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra concerts at The Forum, baseball games, and tours of Hershey Chocolate World.

“We just enjoy being together,” says Don.

Homeland’s flexibility has helped them stay and dine together despite their residences in separate wings, the Englanders agree. Lorraine is a familiar figure in every corner of Homeland, getting around via a motorized wheelchair with a sign on the back that says, “I traded in this Chevy for a Mercedes-Benz.”

When Lorraine arrived at Homeland, health issues meant that she could barely sit up. She was, she says, “in very bad shape.”

“Now look at me,” she says. “They have been wonderful to me, from the top person to the bottom person. The kitchen, the maintenance, they’re all wonderful. And my aides, they’re great. I love the people. Everyone’s been wonderful.”