You wouldn’t know that Barbara Mollison has called Sterling Court home for just a few short months as she has settled in like it’s been home for years. Perhaps that’s because San Mateo has been her home for the past 43 years. When it was time to downsize from the family home, she knew Sterling Court would be just right for her. One of her daughters helped her to select her first-floor apartment that looks out over the verdant garden courtyard. It was here that I first met Barbara as she was enjoying time with new friends on a beautiful summer-like day.
Anyone who loves bridge will certainly have met Barbara by now. She plays bridge almost every day and you can be sure she’s quite good at the game having played it since she was 16 years old! She was quick to tell me “I can’t imagine sitting and doing nothing.” As we started talking about her life’s journey, it was apparent that she’s always been doing something – raising children, traveling, flower arranging, and more.
At 16, something else very special happened in Barbara’s life – she met her husband (a fellow bridge player as well!). They got married when she was 22 and were married for 43 years. In the early days, her husband was at the Annapolis Naval Academy and Barbara worked in a doctor’s office. They had 3 children and moved around as he was stationed at different ports – Connecticut, Florida, and Norfolk, Virginia to name a few.
The entire family also experienced living internationally when they were stationed in Japan for over 4 years and the children were quite young. “I loved living in Japan and loved the people. We lived on the naval base and it was a great experience.” It was here that Barbara learned her passion for flower arranging.
I was interested to know how the family got to California and was surprised by the answer. “Our daughter said, ‘everyone lives in California and I want to live there too’.” And, so they did (and to this day, all three children still live in California, two right here in San Mateo and Hillsborough and one in San Diego).
After Barbara’s husband died, her love of travel didn’t wane. She enjoyed immersing herself in the local culture of places like Africa, China, England, France, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. But mind you there are plenty of places in the US she loves as well having mentioned Boston and Philadelphia.
When Barbara is not playing bridge, you might catch her in the library looking for a new mystery novel, attending lectures here or at the San Mateo Senior Center as she likes to stay informed, visiting with any of her 6 grandchildren, or hopping on the bus for an outing. Barbara’s children encouraged her to downsize and join a new community feeling that it would be “less lonesome for her.” They were certainly right. For Barbara, there’s no time to be lonesome at Sterling Court!
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