In the Easy Chair with ... Barbara Miller

In the Easy Chair with ... Barbara Miller


AGE: 82.

OCCUPATION: Retired, professional registered nurse (20 years as a Navy nurse and 28 as a civilian nurse).

RESIDENCE: StoneRidge Senior Living in Mystic.

BORN, RAISED & GREW UP IN: Born in Albany, N.Y., and grew up in Beacon, N.Y., on the Hudson River.

RIGHT NOW I’M IN THE MIDDLE OF: Enjoying life and learning.

FAVORITE WAY TO SPEND MY TIME: Working on my stamp collection and listening to classical music.

PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: I was honored to receive my doctorate of humane letters from Keuka College in 2012 and I was the first woman to be inducted into the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame in 2008.

I’D LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR: My kindness and my smile.

TOP ON MY BUCKET LIST: I don’t have one. I’ve traveled all over the world in my lifetime and I’m just enjoying life here. What more could I want than living in a nice place with my friends near the water?

ALWAYS IN MY POCKET: I’m always prepared with tissues and my apartment key.

WHAT I WANTED TO BE WHEN I GREW UP: I had many different ambitions. My father was a freight agent for the railroad so I wanted to be a railroad conductor. I loved the fact that you could travel. Every other job I dreamed up, I was told that girls just didn’t do. So, I decided to major in French and minor in music. (My idea was to work in publishing or working at the U.N. using my French.) One day, however, I woke up, came downstairs for breakfast and told my mother that I wanted to be a nurse. My mother wondered where in the world that came from, but encouraged me as long as I had the determination to see it through. I think my decision to become a nurse really was a calling.

MY BIGGEST INFLUENCES: My mom and dad because they were adamant about me receiving my education and being able to make my own way. They wanted me to be independent and not tied to my mother’s apron strings. Later, my mother mused that maybe she made me just a little too independent!

FAVORITE AUTHOR: I always have two books at the same time, one fiction and one nonfiction. On the fiction side of the equation, I always enjoy reading Michael Connelly’s detective books, and my favorite nonfiction authors are David McCullough and Michael Bliss (a professor at the University of Toronto who writes about the history of medicine).

I AM READING: John Grisham’s “Sycamore Row” and George C. Daughan’s “Revolution on the Hudson.”

I AM LISTENING TO: Mozart and Haydn.

FAVORITE TV SHOW: I love watching Mets baseball games.

FAVORITE PET: I always had a cat growing up.

FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD: Ice cream and cookies.

AMOUNT OF TIME I SPEND ON SOCIAL MEDIA: I’m not on social media.

TRAIT I MOST ADMIRE: Compassion and giving of one’s self.

PET PEEVE: I hate gossip and I dislike negative people.

MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT OUR LITTLE CORNER OF THE WORLD: I love to be near the water, both the river and the ocean. In fact, I volunteered at the Mystic Seaport, the retired activities office at the Naval Submarine Base until recently. I plan on going down to the Nautilus museum to start volunteering there next month.

CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: Food. I love to eat.

LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT ME: I was a pipe organist when I worked at a hospital in the Finger Lakes area. The organist at the church I attended was a professor at the Eastman School of Music and she taught me how to play.

BEST ADVICE I EVER RECEIVED: Get an education and make sure you can support yourself.

ADVICE I BEST LIKE TO GIVE: Keep your faith and your sense of humor — those are the two guiding principles that got me through my days of working with the wounded during the Vietnam War.

IF I RULED THE WORLD I WOULD: Teach compassion and how to give of one’s self, how to maintain a positive attitude and how to be grateful.

IF I WON THE LOTTERY, THE FIRST THING I WOULD DO IS: Invest a small amount for myself and then take the remainder and give teeth, glasses and hearing aids to needy people. There must be nothing worse in life if you can’t eat and enjoy food, see to read and hear other people.

I DRIVE A: Royal blue 2009 Buick Lucerne

I WISH I DROVE A: Maybe a red Buick, but nothing fancy.

ALWAYS IN MY FRIDGE: A container of ice cream and a gallon of milk


— Interview arranged and edited by Nancy Burns-Fusaro

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