Ruth Barenbaum is a busy woman. She teaches Tai Chi four days a week.
"Chi! Energy! Yeah," commented Ruth.
and practices it everyday.
"And after you do the moves for a while, you can feel the energy in your body being waked up and circulated," she said.
It's a very ancient Asian form of meditation.
"It's really good that you came!" Barenbaum commented to a student.
Today is one of those teaching days in Middlebury.
"You never get sick of teaching?" asked Joe Carroll.
"Oh no! I'm addicted to teaching!" she replied.
Her goal? That every town in Addison County have a Tai Chi class. Perfect for adults whose balance declines as they age.
"Tai Chi is about moving in one direction and then balancing in the other," commented the Super Senior.
Forty two years ago she moved to Vermont with her young family. Her husband Simon took a job as a professor at Middlebury College. About that time she first experienced Tai Chi at a woman's conference.
"A young woman got up and stripped to the waist and started doing these beautiful movements and all the older woman were going what's this!" said Barenbaum.
She stayed fully clothed but was hooked on the meditation and two years ago she saw an article that intrigued her. They needed Tai Chi instructors.
"And I call them up and I said, I would like to be registered to be trained but I'm turning 80, I hope that's ok and Mary West said you'll be our poster girl!" recalled Ruth Barenbaum.
Luise Kemple thinks she more than just a poster girl.
"She's just inspiring she's just a great, great lady," she commented.
Of course you can learn a lot about a person from their photographs and Ruth's images tell a complex family story.
Barenbaum's brother is perhaps the most famous general of the late 20th century, General Norman Schwarzkopf. Many call him the architect of the first Gulf War. Ruth, a Quaker and a pacifist, had been estranged with Norman for years.
"End the arms race, not the human race," she mentioned.
Schwarzkopf called her a radical, Ruth disagrees.
"I believe I just as good of an American as he is, it's just a different way of seeing what's good for my country," she said.
But it was during the Gulf War that Ruth reached out to her younger brother. She sent him paper clippings and wrote to him every day. That bridged the gap between the two of them. Today Ruth says the complex relationship with her brother is ok.
But now her focus is instructing Tai Chi and she has no regrets about her past.
"I delighted about my life, I've had a very good life," said Barenbaum.
Her brother Norman isn't the only famous person in her family. Her dad was the lead investigator in the Lindbergh kidnapping case in the early 30's.
PO Box 4508