In May 1964, Nels and Irene Highberg bought their first and only home. It was a modest, brick rancher -- no garage -- on a pleasant cul-de-sac on the edge of East Petersburg.
The Highbergs raised two sons there. They entertained neighbors there. They grew old there.
After 48 years at 6312 Miriam Circle, the Highbergs -- Nels is 92, Irene is 89 -- figured they could manage a while longer. Family and friends agreed.
But the county Office of Aging stepped in last summer, saying for safety reasons the Highbergs must move to a nursing home.
"I ain't going to go," Highberg said, according to Erick Highberg, the couple's 54-year-old son.
When a van arrived Aug. 2 to take the couple to Oak Leaf Manor in Millersville, Highberg sat in a chair in the driveway for many long minutes. He got in the van only after a police officer showed up.
"He respected her uniform," said Erick Highberg, noting his father's more than 20 years of service in the Navy and Coast Guard.
Mrs. Highberg said in a phone interview she got in the van to see what the nursing home was like. "I didn't understand we would be locked up here," she said. "They brought us in here, and they kind of disappeared real quick."
Now, after more than three months at Oak Leaf Manor, Mrs. Highberg still wants to return home.
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Elderly Couple Removed From Longtime Home; Family, Friend Dispute Office of Aging Findings