Written by Shirley Lessiak
Biography of Barbara Peters
Across the San Francisco Bay Bridge in east Oakland several years ago, a little baby girl was born. Her parents named her Barbara; she was to be the oldest of seven children. Her first memory was of events which included her mother and father. She remembers her first life’s lesson concerned a little dog dish at a neighbor’s house. Her fascination with the dog dish, with a little picture of a dog inside, resulted in the dish being relocated from her neighbor’s house to her own. She remembers having to return the dish to the rightful owner and apologize. This lesson will stay with her a lifetime.
After many life lessons throughout her childhood, Barbara decided the most influential person in her life was her mother. She told me her mother was Irish and had lots of stories to tell. Barbara felt special, as she was the oldest, and able to do many things with her mother. She told me a short story about her youngest sister, the baby of the family. Barbara was 18 years old and working at the telephone company soon to be married when her youngest sister was born. (Smiling) Barbara shared that she got homesick during her honeymoon because she missed her baby sister.
When asked about her best friend, Barbara told a short story about her friend, Diane. As Diane and Barbara were growing up, Diane had polio and developed one leg shorter than the other, which caused Diane to walk with a limp. As the girls were inseparable, Barbara somehow developed a limp herself. However, when Diane became better and didn’t have a limp any longer, Barbara still seemed to limp. And to this day, when Barbara gets tired she has a limp.
When asked what would people find surprising about her as a teen? She responded she sings and her choice of music is classical and popular. As a teen, she had the honor of singing a solo at the Oakland Auditorium, and her biggest challenge was when she sang a solo during a High Mass accompanied by an organist. Barbara continues to love music and treasures her memories of listening to classical music with her family when she was a child.
Barbara’s happiest memories are giving birth to her 4 daughters. For a career, she believes her greatest accomplishment was going back to school and receiving her RN (Registered Nurse) degree, after having her children. Even though her family, including the little girls, was supportive, Barbara felt she had achieved her degree through hard work and perseverance.
What Barbara learned from volunteering.
After creating many lasting relationships and fond memories, Barbara has decided to enjoy her new home, work in her garden, and spend more time with her family. When asked what her greatest hope would be for Assistance League® of Greater Placer, she had this to say.