Cover page from my 6th Grade Autograph Book.

I woke up early again, bursting to write. I have found that releasing what has been inside is so cathartic; it is like throwing up and feeling better after. Although I am gathering thoughts for my more difficult essays, I don’t feel compelled to write about those traumatic memories yet.

My healing through writing has progressed at lightning speed. “I’m Taking Off” is my new title for my blog. I am taking off, as in taking a break. In addition, I am taking off in new directions because I am implementing into my life “new and different” concepts. I give credit for these new ideas to hypnotherapy and my willingness to learn from it. It has taken me awhile to understand what “up and out” really meant. My floodgates are completely open for the first time in thirty years!

This blog all came about due to a suggestion by my hypnotherapist, Connie. I find it interesting that I have peeled back all the layers and revelations that have happened to me in no specific order. I do not decide what I’m going to write about until I feel compelled to release it. My subjects of writing from the very beginning of this blog are in whatever order they have been revealed to me.

My school picture from 5th or 6th grade.

The post title, “I KNOW I’M LEARNING, “WRITE” OR WRONG,” refers to the fact that I was always the “good girl.” I was used to being told that everything was clearly either right or wrong. I never wanted to disappoint my parents, and I have had a lot of difficulty allowing myself to see things differently than them.

My father has a severe hoarding problem. Honestly, it’s very severe. It has been one of my mother’s greatest aggravations.

As far as hoarding goes, I am well aware of the burden my father is leaving me to clean out his and my mother’s former residence. It will be a huge job for me. I am certain, there are special mementos for me there. That is because my father has saved every bit of schoolwork and correspondence from all three of his children.

I grew up never having my own closet available, beyond a small area for hanging clothes. Some day, I’ll sneak in a picture of my old bedroom. The posters are still on the wall, and the trundle bed with the pink bedspread is still there. Those things are invisible, because the room is filled from floor to ceiling with junk.

I am very organized and can throw things away. I am also selective and have always known what is important for me to save. I have several “memory boxes.”

When I am gone, I realize that my children probably won’t look at my boxes; even if they did, the meaning and memory from those items are locked away within me. Writing about my life, is something that will help them understand some day more about me; it is something very precious. I am grateful that I saved so many special things.

I have a box from my elementary school days. Today when I opened it up, there was so much exciting stuff inside! I always thought I would open it when I was older and had more time.

There was my autograph book from elementary school! I have wanted to look for the exact wording of the message from my sixth grade teacher regarding my “writing career.” I looked through the entire book with pleasure.

There it was! This was my absolutely, favorite message; the one I have embedded in my memory all these years:

“Dear Judy, You’ve really been a great asset to the class. You’re such a talented girl with so many things going for you. Be sure to send me an autographed copy of your first book!”

Love, Cindy Fritz 1971

My favorite message from my 6th Grade Teacher

As I flipped through the pages, I saw a message from my childhood friend, Joni. She wrote something very funny. Her last name was Lee, and we knew we would someday go to Grant High School, which was across the street from us. She wrote:

“Remember Grant, remember Lee, the Hell with them, remember me!” Joni

For a moment, I wondered what I wrote in my fellow, sixth graders’ autograph books! I am certain it was nothing that profound. Actually, one of my sadder memories was writing some bad words in a friend’s junior high yearbook. She was very upset with me, and scratched it out. I can’t believe that I did that! With that pang coming over me, I once again remind myself that, “I am so human!”

Joni’s message in sixth grade.

Only one friend listed, Joni

I had a good laugh; there was a message from my father that was signed, your dad, “Lee Goodman.” How weird was that? When I read my father’s message I was hysterical. In addition to being a math and history teacher, my dad was a high school counselor.

My dad’s message in 6th Grade.

My father’s message:

Summer, 1971

Dearest Judy, Congratulations upon graduating from Monlux! You have done very well in your elementary education. You are now about to embark upon your secondary schools. You are a wonderful artist. Always try to take art courses in addition to college preparatory. Take Hebrew at Grant, and perhaps French in ninth or tenth grade. Always think of other people and listen to Norman and Howard who both love you. You are a darling sister and beautiful daughter.

Your dad, Lee Goodman

I’m not sure what occasion this is where I’m dancing with my father.

As I read my dad’s message, I realized there was nothing my brothers could tell me that I would “listen to.”

Because I am the “baby” in my family, my brothers were viewed as my advisors. It didn’t turn out like that. The reality has been that my brothers have not really been able to help me much with my parents’ care. However, I know they love me and are very appreciative of what I have done for our parents.

I also saw where my father had decided what classes I should take. I was glad to know that I refused to take French. I did not have any talent for foreign languages.

The tears welled up when I read this message from my mother:

To my dearest daughter Judy

I’m so proud of your accomplishments in grammar school. I love reading your stories and looking at your artwork. I hope you will be my happy girl all through life. Mom

My mom’s message to me in 6th Grade.

I have just let out an audible sob, and the tears are streaming down my face. My mother cannot read my writing now, and I did not turn out to be her “happy girl.”

I took a deep breath. I stopped and went to the “grateful place.” My mother is still alive, and she has lived to see me happy again. That is the truth. Although I am grieving the loss of our former closeness, I do not need to prepare myself all the time to deal with her death. The most “interesting” thing is that her illness and deterioration has caused me to totally re-evaluate my existence. It was actually the catalyst for me to find happiness again!

The last five years have been especially difficult, due to my parents’ decline and childrens’ challenges. The fact that I provided little or no income as my career slowly dwindled, was another great source of stress.

However, not having any illustration work allowed for me to advocate more for my children, which was a blessing. When my parents moved in, I had to shop for food almost every, single day.

For a year, my parents were on a waiting list to for a nursing facility that was perfect for them. When they were accepted, I celebrated! I couldn’t have gone on as a full-time caregiver much longer. I developed Microscopic Colitis, and other stress-related ailments.

It was ‘interesting” that I never received a single, free-lance job during the time my parents lived with me. I did not have time to think about anything except my parents’ care during that time.

I have struggled a lot with my career declining. When I worry about the size of our debt, I become depleted. I have let go of that. I am grateful my husband has faith in my creative abilities; something I have only recently begun to realize and appreciate him for.

It was when my parents moved in with me three years ago, that I first came to see Connie and began hypnotherapy. At one of our first hypnotherapy sessions, I told Connie, “I want to be a columnist; a writer!” I told her I had a lot of ideas and topics that I could write about. If I were disciplined, I could write something each day and create a whole, new portfolio. I appreciated the opportunity to brainstorm.

I left that session, and I never wrote a thing. I knew I had a writer within me, but it was a long time since I had written anything. Until this morning when I opened my elementary school box, I had completely forgotten about the short stories I wrote back then.

I knew I had written speeches and, of course, there was Jason’s eulogy. All of my recent writing began as a result of email updates when my mom was on life support for two months. That was the catalyst!

But what I really remembered was how much I used to love to write song lyrics and music. It has been thirty years since I last wrote a song.

My typing skills have been a huge asset for me. In high school, I won a secretarial award!

© Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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