Talking with Miss Polly
"Gas and food were rationed, lights had to be off at night. Husbands, fathers, and sons were away in foreign lands desperately fighting for America's freedom and their families' futures. No one complained," smiled 92-year-old Polly Morgan recalling life during WWII. "We did what was necessary. I probably would have been over there too, as I graduated from Medical College of Virginia as a registered nurse in 1940. When the war broke out, I planned to leave Doctor's Hospital in Washington DC to serve as a Naval nurse. A semi-pro baseball pitcher, Doug Morgan, saw me at one of the games I loved to attend and asked to be introduced. In those days, women were not allowed in the service if married! When Doug proposed, I could not refuse. We married in Alexandria, Virgina in the First Presbyterian Church on Capital Hill, on July 18, 1942. Doug was in the service, and his pay was barely enough for two. When I became pregnant, I moved home with my folks in Warsaw, Virginia. We managed; everyone helped one another."
When the war finally ended, Doug, Polly, and little Suzanne began their life together in Virginia, ultimately moving to Alexandria. Doug and Polly started a fabulous store, Hollin Hall Gift Shop, which they owned until retirement to Hilton Head Island in1976.
"Doug caddied as a youngster and always loved golf. During the late 60s we would join friends in a rented home on Hilton Head to golf. There was nothing here then, but we fell in love with it! Doug raised the first flag for the Dolphin Head Golf Club, and we built our home on hole number two when there was only three roads to choose from in Hilton Head Plantation. Doug taught me to golf, and when I wasn't working at Hilton Head Hospital as charge nurse, we were on the course. I retired in 1993 when the hospital changed hands. So much has changed in the nursing field. The patient was, and always should be, the most important responsibility!" Polly exclaimed.
A registered nurse for more than 50 years, Polly spoke of a nurse's most challenging job. "We learned to control our emotions when faced with emergencies. It's not easy when families are in distress, but for their sake we have to steel ourselves." Polly's most tragic emergency was with her own husband who had suffered a heart attack before their move to Hilton Head. "He once said, 'If only I can live ten more years.' We were so devoted to one another, and my life with him was so good. Toward the end he was too weak to play golf, so he sat in our backyard greeting all the golfers as they passed by. Doug was the Dolphin Head Club Champion in 1988, and shot his age when he was 70!"
On December 29, 1999, while talking in our living room Doug said he did not feel well. We walked into our bedroom, he collapsed across our bed, and I knew he was gone. Not only had he lived the ten good years he had wished for, but ten more. We shared 57 wonderful years together and are very proud of our Suzanne and two beautiful granddaughters."
With her calendar filled, Polly promotes staying busy. "Whatever can be done to stimulate the mind helps: reading, playing bridge. I love my yard work and want the yard to be as neat as my home." While she spent many days volunteering at Volunteers in Medicine (since its 1993 inception) and the Bargain Box, Polly was a golfer in her own right, sporting a beautiful glass trophy, declaring her "Hole in One" accomplishment on Dolphin Head's 17th hole on March 11, 1993!
Even though it's been 12 years since Doug's passing, Polly still misses him everyday. Nonetheless, she greets each new day happily and declares she has led a blessed life. "My church, First Presbyterian, has been my lifesaver." A soft smile of knowing crept across her face, "If we look at nature and all its miracles, it's beyond comprehension not to believe in God."
Amazing statistic: Polly's first hospital job paid $75 a month (included laundry and one meal per day)
Best Christmas Gift Ever: "Doug hitch-hiked from California to Virginia in 1946, hoping to be home for Christmas. He made it Christmas Eve. My cousin drove me from Warsaw, VA to Charlottesville to meet him!"
Greatest Blessing: "A phone call... refuting the telegram stating my brother was killed in action. He not only survived D-Day landing, but was rescued and lived to age 95!"
Priceless Polly quotes: "Always keep moving! Better to be outside than sitting on my can! For those who are married...enjoy each other to the very limit. You never know when you'll lose one another. I never not miss Doug."