Barbara Van Dusen, the Jackpot of Moms. A Conversation With Lisa Van Dusen
Play • 36 min

I've known Lisa Van Dusen for nearly 40 years, and I've always loved the way Lisa talks about her mother, Barbara: with unalloyed love and respect.

Barbara  is truly the mother "jackpot," as Lisa likes to put it. She is positive, kind, and generous, and gave her three daughters an idyllic childhood in many ways. 

Now 93 and still going strong, she grew rugged and hardy during her Minnesota childhood. She grew up in Duluth, and then as a teenager, started going to boarding school in New York, which required taking three different trains.

But even that journey, which many would see as an intimidating challenge, Barbara made into a positive. During train layovers in Chicgao, she would spend hours in the record department of a department store (yes, such departments were a thing back then)  listening to records. She went on to Smith College, then became an incredibly loving mother to her daughters.

Lisa Van Dusen is an artist and the creator and host of First Person, a civic engagement champion and executive director of the Palo Alto Community Fund.

Artwork by Paula Mangin (

Music composed and performed by Andrea Perry

Producer: Claire Trageser

Social Media: Claire Trageser

Mother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud at

Note: Our sister podcast, Mother Mine, has moved to a separate feed.
Click here to listen to it on Apple Podcasts

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