My sister-in-law Barbara Winkelstein. A role model I could never match. An incomparable artist because of the way she captured the spirit, the soul of her subjects in her work. A San Franciscan who lived in the perfect San Francisco setting: two houses joined together, once the home of Ansel Adams, a house that I suspect was far more filled with life and color when Barbara lived in it than when Adams did. The house survived the collapse of a gigantic drainage pipe that sucked into the earth neighboring houses. Barbara and her husband Peter's house trembled at the edge of the abyss, but never collapsed.
She was such a strong woman, demanding of herself, but ever kind and loving to the rest of us. I don't know how she managed to care for so many people with such loyalty and consistency. She suffered from various physical ailments but never complained. Even at the end, it was us she asked after, not being interested in talking about herself.
She came from a family almost like that in an American legend: a tough father and mother who were born at the turn of the twentieth century to midwestern farm families. Her parents turned into sophisticated travelers, ever stern and worldly at the same time, ever demanding. They lived in Holland and in rural Oregon, in Venezuela and in Portland and suburban Los Angeles. They traveled to South Africa and Mexico, Barbara's mother driving Barbara and her brother herself over the then-dusty, unknown roads from the US to Mexico City around 1940.
She died last year around this time. When there was only a short time left, she had caregivers and hospice workers. They treated her like a queen, she said. She deserved no less. She died at home after saying good bye to each of her children. She was with Peter. She said she was ready to go.
Finally I can look at her pictures without feeling an overwhelming sense of loss. I hope you look at them too, the ones collected by her husband on this website: http://barbarawinkelstein.com. There is so much more to say about Barbara. Maybe someday I will be able to.
When there was only a short time left, she had caregivers and hospice workers. They treated her like a queen, she said. She deserved no less. She died at home after saying good bye to each of her children. She was with Peter.