Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Barbara's Birthday

I did something last night that I probably should not have done – to remember my sister Barbara, for her birthday today, I listened to the audio recording of her memorial service. The emotions of loss come back as do the tears and the pain. With the angel of death casting his shadow over my home even today, it was difficult to listen to the recording. But I was also strengthened by a few of her personality traits.

Ann Price holding infant Barbara Price
Ann Price holding Barbara Price, 1951.

She was always courageous, from birth. At age 4, she walked about three miles across town, without her parents’ knowledge, to visit her aunt. She was an early adopter of many technologies. When she moved out of her parents' home, she didn’t leave as a rebel – she left home in tears because she felt she needed to take on life herself. In her final days, she went Christmas shopping, one store per day because that’s all the strength she had as she was pushed in a wheelchair by my mother. She believed, right up to the end that she would return to her work family. Her death came quickly, less than 15 hours from entering hospice care.

She was a trailblazer. She was the first to protest when women were denied positions in the railroad. She worked the overnight shift checking cars in the railroad yards of Pocatello – the first woman to do that. She was the first female train dispatcher in the history of the Union Pacific Railroad. She fought hard for other women to find their place in the workplace. She was instrumental in opening the largest training system at the railroad.

She was undaunted. Since her education was paid for by the railroad, she took every undergraduate course available at Idaho State University – she never graduated but accumulated several hundred credits. She was so educated that she could converse with anyone on just about any topic. She was a master at knitting and quilting.

Perhaps I can learn to be more like my sister.