Barbara Cole grew up in a two family house in Dorchester. Her extended family lived upstairs and she lived with her parents and her siblings downstairs. Barbara marveled that this situation allowed for a tremendous amount of interaction between different generations. Later her family moved to Brookline where she attended the Devotion School and Brookline High School. Barbara attended Smith College and later got a job as a buyer at Filene’s. She later married and had one son. She spent her time working part-time at her husband’s business and taking care of her son. She and her husband were fortunate to do a great deal of traveling. Her favorite destinations were the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia. Although Barbara never belonged to many groups, she was very involved in the PTA at her son’s school. Barbara and her husband continue to support various various causes including the arts, civil liberties, and the environment. She grew up with a strong sense of the history and culture of Judaism, but remained disillusioned by organized religion. Despite this, she and her family remained members of Temple Israel through the time of the interview.
Barbara describes growing up in a two-family home in Dorchester and marvels that this situation allowed for a tremendous amount of interaction between the different generations of her family. She details the family history, immigration to the United States in the late 1800s, and the older generations assimilating to life in America. Barbara grew up with a strong sense of the history and culture of Judaism. She explains that her family was active in the Jewish community but has become disillusioned by organized religion over the years. Despite this, Barbara and her family remained members of Temple Israel through the time of the interview. Barbara fondly recounts her years at Smith College and finding work as a buyer at Filene’s when she graduated. Barbara met her husband Aaron and stopped working full-time. She stayed home while raising their son and volunteering with various community organizations, including the Parent-Teacher Association and the New Israel Fund. Barbara and her husband traveled extensively. Her favorite destinations were the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia.