Belmont County Retiree Keeps Memories Alive with Help from Gateway

Posted November 29, 2017

Barbara Spencer, who lives in Belmont County and has been retired since 2002, still vividly remembers the trips to famous Civil War battlefields she would take with her family when she was young.

Her father studied the history of those battles and would provide incredible detail about them.

Those memories connect Barbara with her father. It’s part of the reason she began collecting things—to preserve and give life to her memories.

“I have a lot of stuff, a lot of it is very old, and a lot of it has a lot of memories,” she said. “I have Civil War swords, I have Civil War hats, I have guns from the Civil War.”

Along with Civil War memorabilia, Barbara also has many things that have been in her family or her husband’s family for decades.

“I can walk through my house and tell you where everything came from, about when it came from, where it came from in my family,” Barbara said.

“Everything in this house has a story to it, and it has lot of memories for me. It keeps me grounded.”

Many of those memories are of her husband.

“So many of the things that I have me remind me of him and it’s such a wonderful memory,” she said. “I can touch it 100 times a day and still think of him, and where he was when he got it.”

Barbara and Tim were married in 1974. In addition to being husband and wife, they were also co-workers.

“My husband and I worked together for 44 years, side by side,” said Barbara. “We were together 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we still liked each other.”

After retiring in 2002, the couple moved to Belmont County to be closer to their children.

“It was nice property that was right next to my daughter and son-in-law, which is exactly a perfect place for us because they’re very good to us,” Barbara said.

But when Barbara’s husband began having health problems, they faced some financial challenges.

“Things became very difficult for us and it was a month-to-month situation,” she explained. “Any time, I could’ve lost this home. I definitely wanted to keep it while he was still alive, and then afterward because his memory was here.”

Barbara’s husband passed away in 2012. It was a trying time for her. She thought she was going to have to sell her home.

“It was very difficult for me because I was very worried about losing my house,” she said. “All of my memories were here, of him, and I really didn’t want to lose it.”

That’s when she decided to respond to a letter she received in the mail from Gateway.

“I decided to call Gateway because I was having a hard time financially and, being the age I am, the royalties didn’t interest me as much as what they were offering me, to help me keep my home,” said Barbara.

Gateway worked with Barbara and her mortgage company to overcome some initial challenges and get a deal done.

“Gateway has changed my life immensely,” Barbara said. “Because of what Gateway has done for me, I will now be able to stay in my home and I’ll be able to live a little beyond month-to-month.”

With less financial stress, Barbara has more time to focus on the more important things in life—like her large family.

“I have six grandchildren and I have six great-grandchildren,” she said. “They call me Gummy, because I always have chewing gum. They come to Gummy’s house and they stay overnight and I make them chocolate chip pancakes.”

Barbara continues making new memories in the home that already holds so many.

“Thanks to Gateway, I’m able to keep my home and all of my memories.”

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