I grew up with Dolly. She took care of us when we were little while visiting my grandmother. She was the family nurse, and has always been there for any questions (including whether turtles carry salmonella… which prevented me from getting a pet).
Barbara “Dolly” Markess was born on May 22, 1932 at her parents home in East Rochester, PA. Only a few years after her birth, her father and uncle (my grandfather) built a home for them in New Brighton, PA. There she lived with her father, mother, and younger sister. She continues to live there today.
Dolly spent her life caring for others, and it is clear it was her calling. Even while I was setting up the interview, she would ask, “Do you need anything?” She cared for her mother meticulously when she was in old age, and her dog was equally regimented. Dolly was used to keeping track of detail from life at the hospital.
Dolly’s first experience in care, however, was teaching her grandmothers how to read and write in English. Both had emigrated from Croatia before her parent’s births. Here she recalls helping them.
Dolly earned her Bachelor’s at Duquesne University. She worked and trained in nursing at Providence Hospital in Beaver Falls (the neighboring town) and, for a time, in Boston where she felt the work was more diverse.
Dolly commented that even church has changed in her lifetime. She recalled that mass used to always be in Latin, though there was a church nearby that conducted mass in Croatian. Now, even the traditions within mass have changed.