Never Far From Home in Retirement Living

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Zara and George Robers returned to Philadelphia to move to a retirement community

Having lived in different parts of the world, Zara and George Roberts always knew they would return to their hometown of Philadelphia to move to a retirement community.

George and Zara Roberts have lived in many parts of the world, but they always knew no matter where their travels took them, they would return to their hometown in Philadelphia and eventually move to Cathedral Village, a Continuing Care Retirement Community.

Zara attended Wellesley, where she majored in English, while George studied International Relations at Yale. When they wanted to get married, George faced the proverbial question from his future father-in-law:  “How are you going to support my daughter?” George started thinking about their future and spent several years in the Navy during the Korean Conflict.

After being discharged from the Navy, George started a career in the Foreign Service. His first assignment was in Bangkok, where Zara and George lived for two years. “The city was heaven on earth. So beautiful, with great architecture and canals, and we loved being there,” said Zara.

The housing accommodations in Bangkok were very different from what they were accustomed to in Mount Airy, Pa., according to Zara. “The house had no hot water and only a charcoal stove for cooking, but it came with five servants,” she recalled. “The main duty of the gardener was to cut the grass and keep the snakes away.”

After Bangkok, George took an assignment in Laos for a year and a half, but because of the political climate, his family was not allowed to accompany him. Following his stint in Laos, the couple returned to Washington, D.C., where they purchased a home and spent four years raising their three children.

When duty called again, the entire family was off to Tanzania. George and Zara learned to speak Swahili, and the children enjoyed exploring the country. “This was the best family post,” said Zara, who recalled their boys riding bikes around the countryside. The family also took many train trips and used an Embassy Land Rover to explore the surrounding area. Their adventures included trips to the Serengeti and a boat trip on the original African Queen.

But the family’s travels were far from over. Various posts would take them to Jamaica, Guyana, Panama, Japan, and eventually to the Middle East. Finally, after traveling around the globe, the Roberts returned to their roots. George became a Diplomat-in-Residence at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and retired from that position in 1987.

The Roberts purchased a home in Mount Airy, the setting of many family memories for their children and grandchildren. But the couple knew this move would not be their last. “When we returned to Mount Airy, we knew that moving to Cathedral Village was in our future,” George said. “It was a natural transition for us. We are close to our friends and have access to everything we love about Philadelphia.”

Zara feels right at home in their spacious townhouse at Cathedral Village, which has been furnished with many of the treasures collected during their travels. She also enjoys the scenic community. “We love our view. The grounds at Cathedral Village are beautiful,” she said.

From Thailand to Tanzania, George and Zara welcomed their many international experiences.  But, like most travelers, they know that sometimes coming home is the best part of the journey. “Moving to Cathedral Village was the right decision,” the couple agreed. George and Zara may have been near and far, but their home in Philadelphia was never far from their minds.

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