In Her Words
Candid profiles of strength told by the women of Northbridge
Throughout the month of March we have collaborated to celebrate Women’s History Month and the rich history of the amazing women living in our communities. Their candid stories are brimming over with love, happiness, passion, family values and the markings of individuals who have truly lived well and loved life.
Barbara’s Story (Resident of Autumn Glen at Dartmouth)
What are the names of your parents and brothers and sisters?
Sister: Joan (6 years younger)
Brother: George (8 years younger)
How did your parents choose your name? Does it have a special meaning? Did you have any nicknames?
It is a Jewish tradition to name a child after someone who is deceased. My Hebrew name is Brindl. My nickname in college was Bobbie.
When and where were you born?
I was born on October 20 in New Bedford, MA.
What kinds of things did your family do together when you were young?
My father was a doctor who was on call all the time, which made family outings difficult. My sister had Rheumatic fever, so I used to play with her to keep her company and we decorated dollhouses.
What did you love to do with your friends?
On Saturday afternoons, I would go out for lunch at the Gulf Hill Parlor with my friends and see a movie at State Theatre (now the Zeiterion Theatre).
What schools did you attend? What were your favorite subjects?
I attended Winslow School through 7th grade, Cook School for 8th grade and New Bedford High School. My favorite subject was English Literature with Ms. Brady who taught the Odyssey. There was a college side and commercial side at the high school and I was on the college side. I attended Vassar College from 1947 – 1951. I was a Psychology major in Child Study.
If married, what is/was your husband’s name? How did he propose?
My husband was Sidney. Our mothers met while waiting for a bus and told each other about their son and daughter, then he called me for a date. He proposed at his sister and brother in law’s house, who was in the jewelry business in the DC area. We were having lunch and my sister in law kept getting edgy for me to pick my up napkin. Inside the napkin was the ring on a wishbone.
What are your children’s names?
Andrew and Peter.
What are some special memories you have about your children?
When Peter was working at a bank (which his father thought was a wonderful job) he said he was quitting and his father was upset. Peter went on to the finance business which ended up being the best decision he made and his father agreed! He now lives in Concord, MA with his wife Kate and two daughters, Sophia and Elise.
Andrew marched to his own drummer and started a business in promotional materials. He built a nice business for himself and lives in Kittery Point, Maine with his significant other Danielle.
Where have you lived?
My husband and I lived in an apartment in Fairhaven when we first got married. My husband sold cattle to a woman who owned the apartment house and that’s how we ended up there. He eventually left the cattle business and became a realtor. We bought a two-family home in the West End of New Bedford and then built a beautiful house in Dartmouth. We also spent several winters in Tucson, Arizona and the rest of the time in Dartmouth.
Have you had jobs? Who did you work for and what did you do?
I started as a volunteer in Child and Family Service and then became a teacher in the original Head Start program in the New Bedford Public Schools. I helped write the curriculum for Head Start with another teacher. I also wrote local history with Eleanor Begley using first hand resources through the Whaling Museum.
What are your hidden talents?
I coordinated an exhibit with Judy Barry showing the history of the Jewish people of Greater New Bedford, where they came from, what they did when they got here and how the community was established. That exhibit helped to establish the Center for Jewish Culture archives at UMass Dartmouth.
Do you have holiday traditions? What do you do for the holidays?
I used to enjoy Thanksgiving the most; good food and family. Cranberry relish was my special recipe that I got from the Ocean Spray storefront in Wareham.
What are some of your favorite things?
Favorite Color – Red
Favorite Flower – Lily of the Valley (was in my mother’s wedding bouquet)
Favorite Author – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Favorite Thing to Do - Going to Boston Symphony Orchestra on Friday afternoons. They have a broadcast on Saturday nights that I enjoy listening to.
What are some personal experiences that have especially touched your heart?
I went to a Quaker Meeting at Russells Mills church to learn about their service. It was a silent service and I could hear the traffic and birds outside. At the end, after all that silence, a woman stood up and recited John Greenleaf Whittier’s poem, The Meeting. It was an emotional experience.
What are your favorite things to do now?
Reading and listening to music.
What are you favorite experiences to partake in at Autumn Glen?
I enjoy the entertainment, especially Bill Meyers on the piano and Eddie Dillon’s Irish songs and stories.
What do you hope for your children and grandchildren?
I hope they will make wise choices to help them be happy in life.
What is your biggest piece of advice?
Keep an open mind and follow where the path leads you.
Sum your personality up in 1 word?