I Am Hearth: Barbara

Barbara's story was originally featured in our Spring 2012 Newsletter.

Despite the sometimes very painful arthritis in her knee, Barbara Jackson is always busy. Barbara, who has lived at Hearth’s Uphams Corner ElderHouse since 2005, attends a day program three times a week and also participates in most of the activities offered at Uphams Corner. “Tuesday night is bingo. I love that, even if I don’t win,” she said, sitting in her cozy studio apartment.

Her front door is decorated with various art projects, and her paintings hang on the walls. Thursday is her favorite day at Uphams Corner; she has a one-on-one art lesson for an hour in the morning, followed by the Uphams Corner Knitting Group and then a group art class in the afternoon.

Each time she finishes an art project, she writes a reflective poem about it with help from the art teacher. Each school year a new “teacher” - an Expressive Therapies graduate student from Lesley University – comes to Hearth, and Barbara has worked with several of them.

Her projects are often based on childhood memories. One work she is particularly proud of is the painting of a girl in a cowgirl outfit. “I wanted to be a cowgirl,” she said.

For another project she painted a rubber duck, and wrote the poem “My Rubber Ducky Fantasy,” recollecting family outings around Boston when she was a child.

Now Barbara has her own children and grandchildren. “My grandbabies – one looks like the sweetest little 5-year-old boy. I pray they stay little,” she says with a smile and gestures as if she’s cradling a small child. “I just want them to stay little, but they gotta grow up.”

My Rubber Ducky Fantasy
by Barbara Jackson

I like the sun,
It keeps me nice and warm when it rains.
I like the clouds,
Because they bring rain.
What I like best about the rain is the clouds.
When I was a little girl I imagined being a rubber ducky.
When I was a little girl we had family day and we used to
go to the pond where they had benches surrounding a puddle of water.
Me and my brother and sisters used to jump around in the water.
We’d spend hours and hours in the water,
While my mother and father sat on the benches.