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The Fifty-Seventh Time is the Charm

January 29, 2013

Barbara Petree found her 57th home when she moved to Ashby Ponds
(Ashburn, Va.) - Barbara Petree is quite comfortable in her home at Ashby Ponds retirement community where she has lived for just over three years with her husband, Bruce, and their newest addition, a two-year-old Basset Hound named Lucy.  Three years residing in one place is somewhat of a feat for Barbara; her father and husband spent their careers with the U.S. Army and were often transferred throughout the U.S. and overseas.  Barbara's relocation to Ashby Ponds in 2009 marked her 57th move.

Nearly a New Year's Day baby, Barbara was born just before midnight on New Year's Eve in Horton, Kan., but did not stay put for long.  "I have lived just about everywhere in the South," said Barbara.  "I developed such a southern drawl, my parents sent me to elocution lessons." 
In the U.S., Barbara has moved within several states a few times including Kansas and California, but has also lived in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington state.  Outside of the U.S., she has lived in Germany, Panama, and Greece.  
Barbara's father, who retired as a Colonel in the U.S. Army, was part of the field artillery branch and did not believe in separating the family.  "He insisted that we stay together," said Barbara.  While visiting her family in Würzburg, Germany, Barbara met her husband, Bruce, at a party. 
"I immediately disliked him; he didn't pay my sister or me any attention," said Barbara.  At the time, Bruce was an aide to an Army General and Barbara now admits that he was likely busy with other tasks at the time.  "A few days later, Bruce called and asked us to go out with some of his friends," said Barbara.  After that night, her sister asked Barbara what she thought of Bruce. "I remember saying, 'I don't like him, but I'm probably going to marry him,'" said Barbara.  "I just had a feeling."  The two were married shortly thereafter and had four children, all of which were born in different states.  Now, they are just one month away from celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.
Barbara and her husband mostly lived at U.S. Army bases throughout Bruce's thirty year career.  He retired as a Colonel in 1978 and the two later moved to the east coast of Florida where they lived for about twenty years prior to moving to Ashby Ponds in October 2009.   "I had some nice opportunities," said Barbara, who indicated that she was able to learn Greek and Spanish while living abroad and collected various unique items like an authentic bronze Charioteer bust from Athens that sits in her living room.  All opportunities considered, Barbara still holds a certain fondness for living in Indiana as a child.  In 2009, the move to Ashby Ponds brought Barbara and Bruce closer to some of their children, as well.  "Ashby Ponds is very convenient for us and we've met some nice friends along the way," said Barbara. 
About Ashby Ponds:  Ashby Ponds, one of 16 retirement communities managed by Erickson Living, is situated on a scenic 132-acre campus in Ashburn, Virginia (approximately 30 miles west of Washington, D.C.).  The community is home to over 700 residents and is filled with fascinating people and fantastic opportunities.  With over 100 resident-run and resident-driven clubs and groups, an indoor pool, a fitness club, transportation services, 24-hour security, and flexible dining options, life at Ashby Ponds offers a true sense of community and is an exciting alternative to the typical retirement community.  More information about Ashby Ponds can be found at: