I attended two proms with Sam. We were two years apart in age. This picture is when he attended my senior prom. He was an old, college student at that time.

Link to lyrics, more stories and recordings for YOU’RE NOT THE ONE.
My “life’s musical” began in high school. It ended the day of my wedding.

Since February of this year, my “Journey’s Insight” has unfolded. I navigated through all of my trauma, which had gradually layered over me for the last thirty years. The zombie-like state and resulting scar tissue had me feeling old and certain that there was little left in my life to look forward to.

With each story, I’ve released my sadness. I found clarity and insight as my memories came “up and out.”

At this moment, life is very poignant. My day is filled with the excitement my music and writing has brought me. My present life is confusing, as memories of my youth are flooding through me. I’ve tried to absorb the onslaught of feelings, but to be honest it has been somewhat overwhelming.

My former boyfriend, Sam, who recently reconnected with me had no idea I was a songwriter. I found that fascinating, since I wrote a lot of songs during the time period I was dating him.

Here is a link to the first song I ever wrote and his comment: #137 YOU’RE NOT THE ONE

Tonight, a memory came back to me. I was sitting with him in a parked car. It was dark; my teeth were chattering. That happened whenever I was frightened. We were on the subject of death. I was amazed that he was so matter-a-fact.

He said, “We live and achieve immortality through our contributions to this world and through our children.”

I remember thinking, “Wow, is he mature!”

After that, I probably broke up with him for the umpteenth time. He usually set a date in the future for us to meet and see if I’d grown up a bit while we were apart. He was such a great guy, so I’d agree because I thought maybe I would grow up and appreciate him more in a few months.

I would like to share now how it feels to flash forward so many years and memories later. On this post, I am sharing some of our correspondence. I’ve edited out personal information about his family, so that might explain why it might seem one-sided on my part. The post title is from my song’s lyrics, “You’re Not the One,” which was written for Sam.

Sam and I had a lot of catching up to do.

Suddenly, I feel like I’ve just gained a wonderful friend, whom I am very comfortable with – how fortunate to find a friend like that in an instant!


(His writing is in blue)

On Oct 24, 2010, Sam wrote:


Hope that your performance went well!

I liked your last post, and the difference between caring and responsibility…totally agree. Even when we are responsible, there is still only so much that we can do…after you have given 110%, what else is there? And no question that thoughts, and our perception on an event can totally affect our moods…so being careful about phrasing things for ourselves is really as important as how we phrase them for others.

Loved the story about losing the car key…I had the same thing happen to me one night…and the problem I had was that the car is a push-button ignition…so if the key vanishes somewhere in the car, then you can’t lock it…and if someone wants to drive it off, all they have to do is push the button, not find the key! Going through a process of elimination, and removing things one by one from my car, (and then seeing if the car would start)…it finally turned out that the key had slipped under the false bottom of my gym bag. So much fun getting older and completely wasting an hour of time!

The computer tells me that it is now 2:15am, so I will quit being incoherent and go to sleep! . . . Sam

Judy wrote:

Hi Sam,

This week has been a busy writing week for me! Including our emails.

It sounds like you’re actually reading my blog in order. Wow! When I started writing in February, I had no idea where I was going with everything. I knew it was special, though. A cannot believe how many hits I’ve had, but it really doesn’t tell me how many people actually read it “regularly.”

A friend was suggesting I start “charging” for music downloads. I think as broke as we are, I have a lot of faith that I will be going somewhere with all of this (although if I don’t, it doesn’t matter.) I consider myself in the discovery phase. I am improving, learning, and really sharing to help other people. At some point, I might promote this as an “E book,” (imagine music, art, and writing all in one); I probably need an agent!

But the writing part, which was so compelling for me initially, has taken a backseat to the music.

It’s going to take you awhile if you’re starting from the beginning. Then you’ll actually be completely caught up about my life since I knew you. One thing is for sure; I still love puns!

Somewhere in there, I stole yours (but I did give you credit). Remember  the ones in the “branching” out classes category? That would be “geomatree and twig.”

You said my parents were nice to you. Do you remember this? You were really upset when they wouldn’t let me see an “R” movie – it was “Lenny!” I’ll never forget that!

I loved my title when losing the key – IGNITION IMPOSSIBLE. The worst part was having my husband come to rescue me in traffic to Santa Monica after working all day. Now he drives the nice CRV, while my Toyota Previa is falling apart (193,000 miles) – that is how I show my love!

On a side note, I share my invoices on my art blog – my paintings were lucrative for years, however, all our money was spent on childcare. I used to require two housekeepers in order to work. Also, advocacy has been very expensive.

When I saw your message, I thought you were responding to my post from last night. It was something I shared that was very traumatic for me and personal. I am actually amazed that I shared it. However, I think it was very important for me on “this journey” to share all the areas that will help me heal. Knowing you are reading what I’ve written isn’t “creepy,” because all of your words are honest, sensitive, and caring. Even on this last subject, which I know you’ll find interesting.

It’s been difficult having so many challenges to my marriage; so many marriages cannot withstand the loss of a child, or children with special needs. I am amazed that I’ve stayed married, but it hasn’t been easy. My husband is a very good person and devoted to his family. I think part of my journey is working toward improving things. He has been extremely supportive about what I’ve doing – for which I am grateful.


Sam wrote:

Hi Judy,

Yes, I have been keeping up with your blog, and then reading things in order from the beginning…I’d like to have some perspective on the posts.

If you ever put out a CD, I will be first in line to buy one! I know that sometimes when I have seen performers at a coffee-house or restaurant, that they often have CDs for sale…now that you are generating professional quality songs, do you see yourself selling CDs at your appearances? Maybe Border’s would give you a section and help you to sell them as well?

Yes, I still love puns…my wife just rolls her eyes and says she doesn’t get my sense of humor, but my daughter loves them (Friday night dinner, someone asks me if there is any medical benefit to yoga…my answer…”Well, it’s a stretch!”…nope, haven’t changed much!)  We also have a conure…most annoying bird I have ever heard…and I’m usually the one who ends up making sure it has food and water…then of course our dogs start barking at it when it squawks (always randomly)…pandemonium!

I had totally forgotten about “Lenny”, but I do remember….I don’t think I’ve ever seen that movie until now!

Judy, I know of no perfect marriages…there is just no way to be married for more than a few years without significant challenges…and yours have been numerous and complex.  But the fact that you have been married for thirty years means that you are both willing to do the work necessary to stay together.  And most people aren’t willing to work that hard…its easier just to throw up your hands and say “the hell with it”. Keep working and keep growing…together.

And I do enjoy the music, even if it slows me down!…Sam

Judy wrote:

Hi Sam,

So great hearing from you – I’ve really enjoyed your messages. I know you run a busy medical practice, so I’m honored. But then, it is amazing to catch up after so many years! I was cracking up to know you own a conure. Our bird has made me deaf with his racquet. And the din with the dog is hysterical – when I was in my “daily humor” mode I think I actually tape-recorded it! I did write about our bird on Post #142 To Have Courage or Beak Careful.

First off, I share a lot of email correspondence on the blog. I want to be honest with you about that. I do use fairly good discretion, but be sure to put a (don’t share), if anything would make you uncomfortable. Sharing has been a big part of my journey and has helped me a lot. I feel a little embarrassed to write that, but honesty has been very important for me!

In the beginning, I felt giddy and almost “naked” with what I’ve written. It has been interesting for my friends to know that my husband doesn’t read any of it – I do send him links, like about our wedding recently. He catches the pics and it’s enough for him. However, I write mostly nice, honest stuff, which makes him laugh and shake his head. I pretty much tell him about what I’ve written (when I have time). I did read to him the emotional posts about Jason.

I have felt concerned about my kids – especially my sons with their autism. However, they are aware that I wrote about the past (even though they haven’t read it, and my older son might be hurt). Their main concern is that I not write about anything they are doing presently and I’ve kept to that. It’s hard holding back with my younger son and his exploits. Oy, he broke his braces again, yesterday! My older son has a girlfriend and that’s off-limits now. My daughter recently told me she went to read my blog. She didn’t ask me to remove anything, but she expressed a lot of hurt about how her “illness” was out there. It actually helped for us to talk about the situation, if only to process the pain.

I feel truly unable to go back to edit much – it would be such a time-consuming venture. I can hardly keep up with my household stuff due to my passionate endeavors. Since February, I probably only sleep about five hours a night. I’ve accepted it, because I don’t feel tired.

My two sons and I rattle off puns at the dinner table and it has been very funny. I actually have a list for the blog when I feel like writing something funny again. My daughter and husband roll their eyes, too, but every so often they do chime in. My writing has evolved now to where I don’t write much about my “daily life.” I write mostly about music.

Yes, I seem to have picked professions that are very difficult to make money at – art, writing, and music. I’ve had to develop a thick skin with what I’ve been doing musically. Initially, I had little confidence in my singing voice. However, I have learned about conveying emotion in my vocals; that’s been helpful.

I sort of see myself as a “package.” I do see myself going on a talk show circuit, writing a column, or being involved in the creation of a musical with all my songs. I think my stories resonate deeply with people who are struggling with challenges of parents, kids, or are simply grieving. I was proud of my optimistic poem that I recently wrote and posted (#189), because I hadn’t written a grief poem since my days in Compassionate Friends many years earlier.

When I feel discouraged, along comes someone like Marlene Reyes. She left a comment on Post #154 saying I had saved her marriage and changed her life. Hearing that is far meaningful than making money!

Of course, I can’t keep this up indefinitely and have to restrain my perfectionism about improving the existing recordings. You’re so kind to say they sound professional. I do feel fortunate to have found this George guy. He certainly knows how to arrange my songs beautifully and I’ve learned a lot.

I’ve been self-taught on the computer, and now I’m learning a lot more about music programs. I’m a perfect “blogger,” because I can scan, type well, do Photoshop and Garage Band – it all comes together for me!


Hi Sam,

I was thinking of contacting Carol. However, my life has been full of reconnecting. Maybe I’ve had enough for one week already!

You could call Carol and the red-haired guy….kind of like tic-tac-toe!


Before I post anything, I’ll run it by you.

I have been feeling the writing ache all day – I think it is time for me to find Carol.


I appreciate that!

Feel free to let her know that I provided the connection; she told me at our reunion where she worked!  Hope that my ears don’t burn too much!…Sam

I’m writing now. I was going to start with my last memory of seeing Carol, but haven’t gotten to that part yet.

I think a lot of our correspondence was interesting. It’s a good summary of what I’ve been doing for any new readers that might come across the home page. I’ll send you a doc to see before I post anything.


p.s. Here’s my joke – I see I was going to send you a doc before a post. How funny sending a doc to a doc.

Doc to a doc?  Looks like you got the last Word….Perfect!

Don’t go microSOFT on me! I told you I wouldn’t fall for those “Lines that I’ve heard!” (lyrics in my song).

I better not CAPITALIZE on this anymore!


Oh, so in your song you said you wouldn’t fall for those “Lines that I’ve heard!”

Isn’t that from “YOU’RE NOT THE PUN”?

It feels like I’m following a SCRIPT. But it looks like I’m getting in the last word now! I’m sorry; you just weren’t my TYPE! I guess I had trouble making a SELECTION!

Fine.  I will boldly admit defont!

The stage seems to be set now. I decided to call Carol today.

I received a comment from her already on the prior post! After she has read more, I’m certain we will reconnect further. I have not seen her in thirty-two years. She was certainly a part of my musical journey.

Carol was briefly engaged to Sam many years ago. They did not marry. He said he saw her last at his thirty-year high school reunion. He shared with me where he thought she worked.

Very soon, I will be recording another song. I cannot be sure if I wrote it for Sam or for Michael. The name of that song is “If You Should See Me.”

Cheryl is in the front, Cindy behind on the left, then Carol is to the right of me.

© 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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  1. Sam says:

    OK, now that tux is MUCH nicer than the baby blue one…I guess I learned something in the two years between our proms…not sure about all that hair (wouldn’t mind having some of it back, though!)


  2. Carol says:

    Hi, Judy–

    Wow. You would not believe the dreams I had last night, after reading some of your posts and looking at old photos! I don’t think you have my phone number–do you?–but you do have my e-mail address. I don’t work at the Huntington so you can’t reach me there–I volunteer there, during the school year, for a few hours every couple of weeks. Depending on how you look at it, I’m either a “housewife” or I “retired early”–at 52 I guess it could go either way! At any rate, I take care of the home front, since my husband’s job supports us well but takes most of his time. Anyhow, contact me when you feel ready, I know how overwhelming this is (for me too). I’ll be here.

    And Sam, thanks for putting us in contact. Hope you’re well.



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