Barbara Rives: Storytelling with Pen, Paint, and Puppets

Barbara Rives: Storytelling with Pen, Paint, and Puppets

Mrs. Barbara Rives, a long-time Member of Park Springs, the luxury retirement community in Stone Mountain, observes life with an artist’s eye – and shares her stories in many different ways.

Barbara RiversThe retired elementary school teacher calls herself “a frustrated writer” – though she is anything but frustrated! Instead, she has become a delightful, funny and sometime irreverent chronicler of life at Park Springs. For 11 years, she has written and produced an annual show of humorous sketches that skewer life after 70 – performed by a number of her many friends at Park Springs.

In addition, she has collected her observations about aging in a smart collection of stories that was published earlier this year: “Classy Ways to Pass Away, 100 Diversions for Having a Ball as You Approach the Waterfall.

Her book has been an immediate success with her friends and family, and she notes with a big smile that “… a lot of them have tried to recognize themselves in my stories, but that is not going to happen because most of my characters are composites of many of the Members and employees at Park Springs.”

Mrs. Rives and her late husband Hal moved to Park Springs in 2004.  As she remarks: “I took a chance with retirement living, and hit the jackpot. Since I moved to Park Springs, dull moments have been few and far between. I have friends coming out of my ears and all kinds of exciting things happening.

“Really – I have made so many new friends here,” notes Mrs. Rives. “I’m afraid that I would have grown lonely in our old neighborhood, but here, there is so much going on, all the time. If you’ve always wanted to try a new hobby or learn a new skill, you can easily find a group or class on campus; there are so many member-driven activities here!”

“I had cared for my husband, who had Alzheimer’s, for more than five years before we moved to Park Springs. The move made sense for us. He was happy at Cobblestone, and I could walk over and visit him whenever I wanted – and we both enjoyed this great community of support that we found here. Each member of the Cobblestone staff treated us as family – their personal care and interest added immensely to the quality of his last years, they treated them like their own father.”

In addition to creative writing, Mrs. Rives is renowned for the life-like portraits she paints. “I mainly use pastels, and paint some portraits on commission, but what I really enjoy is capturing our Park Springs employees, and I have a long waiting list! It’s my way of thanking them for treating me and my friends at Park Springs like royalty, every day.” She majored in art at SMU and taught some art during her teaching career, but had not had the time to devote to painting until she moved to Park Springs.

Mrs. Rives communicates through her plays, her stories, her art – and even through puppets. For years, she volunteered at the Carter Library where she performed puppet shows for school groups. “Puppets make it easy to explain complex stories to young kids. You can exaggerate political platforms and explain elections and other government processes in a light-hearted way. I had so much fun – and I think the kids did too!”

Park Springs is honored to share a number of Mrs. Rives’ stories on the Park Springs website, starting later this month. Be sure to check back regularly for a new story that will surely bring a smile of recognition to your face. Thank you Mrs. Rives!

Contact Park Springs

To learn more about living at Park Springs by Isakson Living, or to schedule a personal tour of Park Springs, please contact one of Park Springs’ Residency Counselors at 678-684-3300 or visit

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