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Blogger tells lifetime of stories

Barbara Malley writes from her Linden Ponds home

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June 26th, 2014
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More than 80 years since she began writing regularly, Barbara Malley’s voice is still witty, humorous, candid, and engaging—in print and in life. Decades of memories leap from the virtual pages of her blog Tears and Laughter at 90, now managed from her apartment home at Linden Ponds, the Hingham, Mass., Erickson Living community where she lives.  

From the den of her one-bedroom Georgetown-style apartment, Barbara builds on her blog’s robust and readable collection of tales of her life as a mother, wife, ex-wife, pilot, co-pilot, co-captain, patient, and now, resident of Linden Ponds—among other roles. 

Burgeoning writing career

Barbara began to find her writing voice at age 11 through letters penned to her mother Ernestine Cobern Beyer. Beyer often traveled for her role as a singer with the Metropolitan Opera Company. Shortly after Barbara began writing letters to her mother, who was also a writer, Barbara began keeping a diary, a practice she continued for decades. 

Barbara left college when she became pregnant with her first child, but not before an English professor told her he saw promise in her writing. When Barbara went on to have three more children, they became a source of inspiration for that writing. 

“The children tickled me. They were so cute and funny at times and also aggravating,” she says. These musings made their way into the letters to her mother; letters that Barbara’s mother saved and later sent back to her daughter.

Barbara’s stories of her relationship with her ex-husband Ed became a book published in 1991: Take My Ex-Husband Please—But Not Too Far. The book recounts happy memories of their times flying airplanes and boating, the difficulty of their dissolving marriage, and the friendship that ensued. Barbara also published articles in Yachting and Plane & Pilot magazines, among others.

Blogging and beyond   

Barbara, who turns 93 next month, has catalogued many of those years in letter exchanges, diary entries, chapters of seven unpublished books, and chapters and cartoon drawings from Take My Ex-Husband, all of which have made their way into her blog. 

Beginning as a suggestion from one of her sons, Barbara’s blog has received more than 80,000 visitors, thousands of them coming from outside of the U.S.

When Barbara began considering a move to Linden Ponds, a workspace was a necessity. 

“I had to have a study—I live a great many hours at my computer,” Barbara says. Her move was prompted by problems with her eyesight, a condition that culminated in a driving accident. Barbara chronicled some of those challenges and her move from Weymouthport in her blog. 

In addition to the den-turned-office space, the “glorious tree,” as she calls it, outside of her living room window helped her decide on this particular apartment.

Barbara spends a couple of hours each day organizing her existing writing material and responding to emails. An avid reader, she visits Linden Ponds’ library often. When she’s not reading or writing, Barbara can be found playing duplicate bridge twice a week or traveling with neighbors to Symphony Hall in Boston to meet her daughter Kathie.  

“Life goes on very pleasantly,” Barbara says, since her November move. “There is nowhere else I’d rather be. This place is delightful.”

To read Barbara’s blog, visit:http://tearsandlaughterat90.blogspot.com.

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