In appreciation: Polly Rodie

When we moved to the area about 33 years ago, the Rodies, Bob and Polly and their little dog MacGregor, were pretty much the first people to welcome us. Settling in to Richard’s new job as director of the Housatonic Mental Health Center, helping our 7- and 10-year-olds adjust to a new school — all the things one has to do with a thousand-mile move — left little time to really get to know our neighbors.

After living here for two years, Richard needed to have serious back surgery in Boston. For me, as a new driver, even North Canaan was a stretch. So although Richard was able to drive us to the hospital, how were we to drive home when he had to be kept as flat as possible? Well, new neighbors Polly and Bob drove to Boston, one driving our car home, the other driving their car back. 

There was always company at the Rodies’ large, comfortable house, and that continued even after Bob died. Because everyone who ever met Polly wanted more of her. People from Riverdale, N.Y., where Bob had been the rector at Christ Episcopal Church for many years, kept coming. Friends of her daughters, now grown and with children, and loads of extended family were constant visitors. And Polly made it a practice to remember every new child’s name, birthday, interests. Little wonder she was so very loved.

Until a few years before her death, Polly took a daily walk around the nearby streets, meeting and chatting with folk all along the way. 

As Polly became less mobile a few years ago, she was unable to keep up with all her previous activities. It was then that I made sure to visit with her at least a couple of times a week, soon every other day or more, especially after her live-in companion joined her. She told me I was her best friend because all her other friends had died. But I think she said that to all “the girls.”

We kept up with our talks, laughs, sharing books, ranting and raving at certain politicians on MSNBC (always on, muted if company came, but always on). When I noticed she had stopped reading, I brought favorite books of mine and she started up again. Whenever I came by with Tupperware in hand, she would cry out, “Oh, Robin. What have you done?” This continued until her last month, then slowly petered out. Two weeks before her death, we still had our “serious” talks; one week later, we looked at one another and I knew she was starting to say good-bye. The day before she died, in her own bed as she had always insisted it would be, her eyes were closed when I went in and, as she opened them slightly, she tried to talk. I told her I knew what she was saying and left her with her beloved family.

I will miss her forever.

Robin O’Connor