BIO Index

Susan (Cookie) Neubauer


I left Sarasota in the fall of '61 for FSU with Vicki Voyles as my roommate. We had footlockers, curtains and matching blue bedspreads. We were ready for college! I went to Gainesville for the FSU-Florida game and was in an automobile accident and had to drop out of school. When I returned I had to live in a different dorm from all my friends and with a new roommate. My life was over or so I thought.  I married my high school sweetheart Dave Barton the following summer and began attending Auburn University whence I eventually graduated, then hung around while Dave got a graduate degree and I gave birth to the first of three sons.

We left the old South and moved to experience culture shock in Puerto Rico where Dave had a job with his Dad's paving company working on a Ramey Air Force base runway. I was pregnant (again) and after seven months came home to have the baby in Sarasota. While I stayed in Sarasota, Dave returned to Ramey to complete the job. During that time Vicki and her husband Lt. Buck Fry were stationed there. The three of them became great friends.

While Dave was still in Puerto Rico and I was home with two little ones, the teachers in Sarasota went on strike. My father pushed me to go in as a substitute and, as he volunteered my mother to babysit, I decided to do it. I was a sub at SHS. It was most enlightening. Most of our old teachers were still there and now I was in the teacher's lounge with them. At this time I was 24. The first thing I discovered was that while we were sure the teachers never knew a thing about us, they actually knew everything. The most interesting thing was that they all agreed with Mrs. Antrim when she told me that about every ten years a class comes along that is exceptional and that our class was that exceptional one. Interesting, no? Who would have guessed they felt that way about us? They certainly never let on.

When the Puerto Rico job was over, we kept a home in Sarasota and traveled back and forth to other jobs in Virginia, Missouri, Arkansas and other garden spots where there were military bases. In 1973 just after our third son was born, we pulled up stakes and moved to Atlanta where Dave started his own business. I camped out for two or three years in our new house thinking and hoping we'd be moving back home to Sarasota any time. Fast forward 38 years and we are still here. A lifetime.

I was able to stay home, volunteer in church, school, neighborhood and a wide variety of community services (it was at this point I dropped the name Cookie and changed it to Susan for what I thought would be obvious reasons), play tennis, and at 39 go to law school in my spare time. I graduated and practiced for a few years. Being a lawyer is hard. I have worked in marketing in two of my husband's companies as well, but my favorite job of all was teaching ESL for three years to adults who included Asians, Latinos, Africans and Eastern Europeans all in one class. It was like the UN only with cooperation and lots of laughter.

Dave and I enjoy traveling, we've made trips to Europe, Mexico, South America. Dave has traveled far more extensively to China, Australia, Korea etc. I don't think I have what it takes to be in an airplane for that long. We took our first cruise with Vicki and Buck about a year ago out of New York to Quebec City. We didn't think we were cruise people, both being control freaks, but we got used to it in about 15 minutes and look forward to our next one.

Dave is an entrepreneurial type. His mind never stops, thus I don't see retirement in our future, nor do I wish it. He has several companies, but because of the world wide web, and convenient air travel, these things can be managed from afar. And so it is that we are building a home in Sarasota and at last, I need camp out no more, we are finally coming home bringing dogs and horses with us. That coupled with the beach should be enough to get the grands down for frequent visits.

Our life together, like most, has had its share of tragedy, but far more blessings. Our sons, Brad, Stephen and John are fine men, good fathers and have provided us with lovely daughters and brilliant and beautiful grandchildren. Some of you may remember Dave's sister, Carol who passed away 16 years ago. One of our sons named their oldest daughter for her, so we have another Carol Barton who is seven. Also Alison, five, Chloe, nine, Melissa seven, Ben who is twelve and Nicholas eight. We are truly blessed.

I have so enjoyed reading everyone's stories. It appears Mrs. Antrim was right. I have to go the annual and look up the photo and always say, "Oh yeah, I remember her (or him)." I attended Dave's 50th class reunion last year and to be fair, initially it felt like I was in the wrong room-didn't recognize anyone. Alden Crosland was remarking the same thing, but then said, "You know after five minutes of talking with someone, they suddenly look just like they did in high school!"

I look forward to seeing all of you and here's to looking like we did in high school.

Susan Neubauer Barton