Barbara S's Story
Barbara discusses a life changing event from her childhood and again, in her younger years that ultimately, led her to find her love for the Pioneer Valley.
Eden: “Was there a turning point in your life where you made a major life change that has brought you to where you are today?”
Barbara: “Being 69 years old, there are quite a few but I think the one that brought me up here to the Pioneer Valley is the most changing for the positive… so the train is moving along and we jumped off with our backpacks but it was higher than I thought and it was gravel. Something felt wrong after that so to speed forward a little bit, from that Summer on I could not lie flat. Every once in a while I would have a spasm. I found myself in the mid-70s working and managed a news bookshop in New Haven, Connecticut called ‘whitlocks’. We were changing the whole format of the shop over and what I remember is there were these big old fashioned desks. We were trying to put one on top of the other to try to make more room and as I did this I felt something– all I can say is– go. I ended up in bed for five months. During that time, I had a lot of time to think and a lot of time to read all these books on natural history from the bookshop and I had decided to apply to go to college. I graduated in 1970 and hadn’t gone so I applied to a few places that had wildlife biology. UMass in Amherst accepted me quite quickly and gave me a scholarship for the first year. So I moved up here and I went up the highway and there’s a place where you can see the hills that’s actually a bit obscured by trees now but you can see it's the Holyoke Range and I love mountains. I belt at them and experience that feeling of coming home. It’s been wonderful living up here in the valley. 10 years I’ve been in Amherst and the last 35 years I’ve been on the other side of the river in Northampton. It was a good move for me, a very good move. And for the last 35 years I’ve been an antiquarian bookseller. That’s where it finds me now, I’ve been selling old books, old postcards, etc..
Eden: “That’s awesome!”