My guitar was tuned. I tried not to check the time again. I had the songbooks ready, and I cleared some space on a table near two chairs. I was ready for us to sing!

My house was not straightened up or cleaned. I no longer stress out about what anyone thinks about my house. All they need to know is that my priorities are quite different from what they used to be. I feel valuable as a human, and so many things just don’t matter much to me anymore. If my house is a reflection of me than it says, “Judy is far too busy to worry about housekeeping, these days!”

When the doorbell rang, I sprang up quickly to answer it. I practically dashed into the door, as it swung open. I crushed the woman standing there. We hung on tightly for a long time.

It had been thirty-one years since I had last seen my girlfriend, Carol. It was amazing for me how quickly we reunited once it came into my head to find her. I would not have found her, were it not for Sam’s information he had gleaned from her at their thirtieth, high school reunion.

I was about to name this post, “In the Middle – No Longer Remote and Isolated!”

We both sat in my dining room to catch up a bit. I poured her a glass of “one of our favorite memories” – Good Earth iced tea! We had often eaten at the Good Earth restaurant in Westwood before going Israeli folkdancing together. We both decided we would go together soon to a folkdancing “oldies night.”

I’d wondered if Carol had abandoned Judaism over the years; she had not.

There is no simple way to summarize her life for the last thirty-one years on my blog. This much I can share: She earned a Ph.D. in neurobiology and did four years of postdoctoral research, but came to realize that a career in research was not right for her, and in fact was making her accutely unhappy. With her husband’s support she left science and pursued other things, which she promised she’d tell me about. She learned a lot as a scientist that has helped her in life, and says she has a lot of wonderful and interesting conversations with her husband, a professor at Caltech, about his own research.

What was most relevant for me, was that she very happily married and appreciative of her life! She was completely down to earth.

Knowing I loved puns, she threw one out to me that completely went over my head. She said, “My husband and I are a paradox.”

I didn’t get it.

Then she reiterated. We’re a pair of docs!

I pulled out my guitar and we started singing. Carol had not sung much for many years, and it was quite a bit of singing for her. She had to rest when her voice became hoarse. I remember well how I encountered that when I first began singing again.

She drove me to lunch. I hopped in her Honda Accord, and we ate lunch at my favorite, Japanese restaurant. She gently asked me if it would be okay for her to treat me. I hope I get this one right. There was a story she shared to convince me.

“Judy, why does a dog lick it’s – ahem – private parts.”

I looked at her quizzically. Okay, okay. I was wondering what that had to do with her treating me.

“Because he can!”

That was it – I was convinced!

Lunch was glorious. Carol ordered some sushi as an appetizer. I have hardly ever tasted sushi since most of my life I kept kosher and wasn’t exposed to it. It was delicious!

We finished lunch with big smiles and ideas for perhaps going hiking together someday. Carol mentioned she had orthotics in her tennis shoes for plantar fasciitis. I have been plagued with that condition for a long time, and was unable to wear sandals for at least fifteen years.

Okay here’s my pun: We are sole sisters!

This summer I started to wear sandals again. Somehow the pain in my feet has finally subsided. I have also truly enjoyed pedicures and seeing my toenails for the first time in my life.

Before Carol left in the later afternoon, my daughter took some pictures of us. Unfortunately, the lighting wasn’t very good and the color was washed out. My Photoshop skills couldn’t rescue them much, and I ended up going to black and white in order for the photo to be appreciated. RIght after taking the photo with Tiki on my shoulder, that cantankerous bird was jealous of Carol and bit me instead on the neck!

Below is our correspondence before we saw each other today:

(her writing is in blue):

On Nov 1, 2010, Carol wrote:

Hi Judy,

Thanks for the new recording! The song has been running through my head, and I found myself singing it in the shower this morning – great acoustics!

On Thursday, I’ll try and head out as early as practical. As for lunch, spicy isn’t necessary. From what I’ve been reading, you like Japanese food, don’t you? So do I.

As for what I’ve been reading – wow. I don’t know what to say. I’m very impressed and moved. Your account of Jason’s death was heart-rending, and you’ve shared so many important things about your life and experiences; it’s quite a lot to take in. Especially, since I’m trying to catch up before Thursday! And I need to give you some more background on myself, as well.

Have a great day!

Love, Carol

Hi Carol,

Please – don’t feel the need to read my blog to know what I’ve been doing. Trust me, a lot of my friends have never read my blog! I can verbally fill you in, for sure!

I am eager to hear what you’ve done – but I am so happy you’re in such a good place (as I am) these days. Anyway, looking forward to Thursday. Thankfully, it doesn’t look like there’s rain in the forecast for the drive!

And, yes – let’s have Japanese food!

Love, Judy

Hi, Judy,

My husband’s out-of-town and I’ve stayed up WAY past my bedtime reading old diary entries. What a hoot! Something you may find interesting–

You and I apparently DID plan to get together after that very open conversation on the Hollywood Bowl bus–it wasn’t necessarily the end of our friendship. One of my diary entries mentioned my upcoming plans to go to the beach with you–written April, 1982, which was several months after I’d broken up with Sam and moved back home to L.A. I didn’t record anything about that day, so I don’t remember if we saw each other or if our plans fell through, but we were at least communicating.

What do you think of that? Memory is so fickle! And I didn’t keep my diary very regularly, unfortunately; there’s a great deal of information missing. I stopped reading tonight (this morning, technically!) shortly after that entry so I don’t know if I mentioned you later on. I wish I could remember more!

I left L.A. for grad school at UC Irvine in August of 1983. Could that be when we truly lost touch?

A brief prayer penned at the bottom of a page–every bit as true now as when I was twenty-four:

“Please, God, let me know my own heart, and save me from a life of mediocrity”.

Sweet dreams!

Love, Carol

On November 3, 2010, Judy wrote:

Wow, Carol, you were up late!

I went to bed around 1 – that’s become my routine! And I was up at 5; I can’t believe how I can do this and not be tired! I do mean it when I say there aren’t enough hours in the day for me.

Okay, I am thinking of what must have been our last time together. I think it was when we went hiking at Switzer Falls. I have pictures from that day and I’m sharing one here. Perhaps we changed our beach outing to hiking that day? Sadly, Switzer’s – one of my favorite hiking areas – was badly burned during those fires last year. I hadn’t been back there for many years, but it was one of my most favorite places on earth.

I love your quote about mediocrity! I hope you’ll write something for my blog. Of course, I am in writing mode, but your thoughts are certainly very interesting and I bet a lot of my readers might appreciate your insights!

Here’s something interesting – I wrote a song for both you and Cindy. It was called “More Than You Know.” I lost touch with both of you around the same time. Cindy and I have since reconnected and I might write about that some time. My recorded song has “revised lyrics” that address loss more for me. I will share the original lyrics in a moment. I just redid the vocals on that song, too. The timing of all this is so interesting for me!

I’m looking forward to catching up!

Love, Judy

Ps. I am attaching the photo from our hike that day.

On Nov 5, 2010, Judy wrote:

Hi Carol,

Here’s a rough draft of what I am planning to post. Please let me know what you think before I “put it out there.”

My memory is so poor – what was you PhD for again?

Love, Judy

Hi, Judy,

Good job! Oy, I can’t believe you included the dog joke!

I earned my Ph.D. in neurobiology. (I added her information to the blog post)

I think the photos turned out fine (though I’m not too fond of the last one in the series). I wish I could think of a pun about our two huge smiles!

Have a great day!

Love, Carol

Hi Carol,

I am so glad you replied.

I don’t know why I didn’t remember neurobiology – especially since we both talked about our fascination with bugs! I’ve never met another woman who threw bugs into spider webs!

I just got back from playing tennis and I fell! I actually did a “rock and roll” – I was hysterically laughing (almost sobbing) after. My wrist is slightly sore – but I am so LUCKY! Imagine if I broke my hand and couldn’t type or play guitar! I guess at 51 I am still capable of stepping on my own shoe. I was fine and able to play tennis after.

I’ll post this thing later on today. I am going to go cook my husband lunch now. I am trying to be extra nice to him.

Love, Judy

Ps. I will take out that last picture – I don’t want any visible chin hairs showing!


Gosh I’m glad your wrist is okay–that could have been bad!

Not only did I throw bugs into spider webs, I also kept them as pets. You don’t have to post all this–irrelevant, but you’ll relate–one of my earliest well-formed memories is of being 4 and being put down for a nap. My mom came in to see if I was sleeping, and instead found me playing with a huge grasshopper (4-5″ long) I’d caught. I’d wrapped it’s hindquarters with aluminum foil to keep it from hopping away! I kept butterflies, caterpillars, grasshoppers; and of course, praying mantids, which I fed with bugs I’d catch, just like you. My best girlfriend, Rosy, did similar things. We still love to look at bugs and toads and other stuff together when we get the chance to see each other (she lives in Alabama)–you’d like her.

‘Til later–

XO, Carol

I’m sorry – but I have to include your bug part! It is so great to know other humans, like you and Rosy did those things. I was a grasshopper “serial killer,” too – their poor legs always fell off! (I should have tried the foil)

Love, Jude

I loved the posters on my bedroom wall. Notice the Renaissance lute and player behind us. I used to play a lot of that type of music, which influenced some of my musical compositions.

© Judy Unger and 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. Cindy says:

    Oh such memories! It is wonderful to hear you and Carol singing Eli, Eli. I remember singing that with you all when we went to the beach. I wish I lived close enough to come over and sing it too! Interestingly, I’ve never forgotten the words and have sung it many times over the years – to my husband and my children. It is such a beautiful song.


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