This is for comparison. I was 15 and he was 17.

Judy and Sam thirty-six years after the prior picture.

From: Judy

To: Sam

Sent: Sat, November 20, 2010 11:31:22 PM

Subject: The pictures!

Hi Sam,

It was so nice to visit with you and your wife. She is simply lovely and quite beautiful – you picked a wonderful woman. You’re a great guy, and certainly deserve it.

Boy that sounded like a lot of clichés – but I mean it!

Our pictures came out well. I don’t know what I would write about as far as our evening goes. I’m good at writing about trauma, and there wasn’t anything like that going on!

It was nice that I could share my music with you. It’s interesting singing now without a microphone. I’ve gotten used to that!

Thanks again for coming over; it was really such a terrific feeling to see you after all this time. You look great.

Take care, Judy

On Nov 21, 2010, at 12:11 AM, Sam wrote:


I just sat down to write to you and you beat me to it!

Thanks so much for opening up your home to us…I really enjoyed meeting your family and getting to know Mike…he’s a really nice guy and I hope he enjoyed the evening as much as we did!

It’s so sad that everyone else around us has aged, but it’s pretty obvious that you and I didn’t! 🙂

Our own private concert…and your voice sounded great!  My challenge…I would really like to see you write a new song…from scratch…because it seems that as you finish recording your old songs, that there is a sense of finality and completion about it…what else do you record after you’re done with the last two?  A new song is a new beginning…maybe you will write more and maybe you won’t, but at least you know that your songwriting is part of the present, and not just the past.  And it should be a part of your present…you are great at it, and I bet its therapeutic…don’t close the door on it!

Glad there was no trauma to write about (though if I had sung with you there might have been…I am definitely “voice challenged”.)

Let’s not wait another 31 years before getting together…might be too hard to get the walker through the door!…Sam

HI Sam,

I am so touched by your statement about writing a new song! I don’t know much about how the songwriting process works for me – but I have begun that process in my “new life” very incrementally. I have felt tremendous and intense satisfaction with even writing parts of a song that are new. A verse, a new chorus, and recently a whole song of new lyrics – that was such a boost for me! I am certain you are right.

However, composing music does take an extraordinary amount of “unfettered” time. It will be awhile before I can find that kind of calm and unstructured time. Especially now that I am very ambitious about writing a book.

By the way, I actually worked on a few chords the other day for the two, missing classical pieces that I composed – I had been talking myself out of “rediscovering” them; saying it was “too hard.” But now I plan to relearn them. I have a lot that I want to do! I need to balance this with all the other passions in my life, and make time for exercise, my parents, and my family! How great it has been for me to wake up every morning with so much energy and excitement!

Today, I’m seeing George and I’m going to really focus on just finishing up songs for a CD. I am hoping that someday I’ll have the opportunity to re-record my songs with improvement (hopefully, I’ll have financial success to do that). But for now, I think I’ll try and sell a CD – I do not expect much revenue from it.

It is hard for me not to record my new “seashell” song. But my intuition tells me that I can improve the song’s structure with more lyrics. It has a lot going for it, and cannot be rushed. It is so much fun to record a new song, rather than fixing those other ones! But I always follow my intuition.

Anyway, I’m rambling. I’ve been thinking a lot – “What would I write about from last night?” My friends are all anxiously awaiting word. I still don’t know!

I had a nice evening, too. My face was tired from smiling so much. I’m noticing with age, that all that smiling has my eyes crinkling up to where I can hardly open them! Mike made the same joke – he said that our next picture would be with walkers. That’s funny you mentioned it, too.

My main question was “How did your wife feel?” I actually feel a lot of trepidation asking that. Last night, I wondered if I had totally upset her when I showed her the blog. I assumed she had seen it. When I pulled it up and she saw pictures of us – well I felt like an idiot! I’ve countered that embarrassment with hoping maybe that was for the best, because I did want her to be totally aware of our correspondence and everything. By the way, if she wants me to take our old pictures off the blog, I would – no problem. I realize it might embarrass your kids.

Michael made fun of me for my inability to sing “the first song I ever wrote.” He asked me when I was going to grow up! I don’t think anyone realizes that I have cracked up singing that song with Peaches, too. It is just one of those things.

The only teeny, pang I had was the discussion about my sharing so much on the blog in regards to my children. I think that was painful for me, because I have always been such a devoted mother to my children. I have grappled with what I have done “as therapy.” In my heart, I know you are probably right. My “audience” should be my children, not the blog. This has provoked a lot of soul searching for me. Why would I compromise my relationship with my children? Trust me, I even feel anguish over some of what I’ve written about my parents, too.

I think part of my healing has been expressing my stories with honesty to allow other people to experience what I have. I think that has more to do with the loneliness of facing so many challenges. With the triumphs and miracles I’ve achieved, I know that perhaps my stories and optimism could help others. I feel like this is almost a compulsion, because what could be more important than my own family – strangers? This has been a struggle for me.

As I edit now, I am able to remove things that might upset my children. It was truly wonderful seeing you – you look great! The day I write a new song, I will think of you.


Hi Judy,

I wouldn’t think that my wife would be upset at all by our 35 year old prom pictures…I had already told her about the blog anyway…those pictures bring back great memories, and I don’t think I have them anymore…I’m glad you kept them (though you could Photoshop them and make me look way cooler!)

I think its a great idea to put some of your best songs on CD, and then perhaps sell them at Border’s…maybe for $10 or so…once you have the CD, they cost nothing to reproduce, and if the price is reasonable, I don’t think anyone is going to spend the time to hunt down and download all of the songs from your website, then transfer them to their iPod…sure, its theoretically possible, but I’ll bet it won’t happen even once. Plus, the songs really do enhance the website…they are a part of your story. I would much rather purchase a CD than hunt down songs anytime!

Remember…age hasn’t affected us…just everyone else!

Judy, you have been completely devoted to your kids and everyone else around you (not that I would have ever expected any different). But I think what we discussed about your kids was echoed by Michael. He said that the kids talk more to him now, because they worry that if they talk to you it will show up on your blog.

On the other hand, you point out that the blog has helped you to heal, and has helped many others who have read it. And the stories are real, genuine, and inspiring. But, the most important thing in your life has got to be your husband and your kids. And the relationship that kids have with their mother is different than the relationship they have with their father. Mothers are special, and fathers can’t fill the place that mothers have in their kids’ world. I believe that your kids need to feel that they can talk to you without worry that the stories…good or bad…will appear on your blog.

Imagine how we would have felt if the same thing happened to us when we were teenagers…that every success or failure we had was immediately reported on the Internet the next day (if such a thing existed). I think that we would not have been as open with our parents.  And I don’t think it’s a question of balance, of competing interests. Don’t let anything compromise your relationship with your children…not even the blog (sorry!) You know my only intention is to be helpful, not critical!!…If I were you, I probably wouldn’t post this paragraph on the blog, just something I wanted to say privately to you, but you may post if you want.

Judy, if you do write a new song, you mentioned you would think of me. After my last paragraph, I suspect the title might be “You’re REALLY not the one!!”

Thanks for a great evening…enjoyed meeting the whole family….Sam

Hi Sam,

It’s interesting for me that I could not find a way to write about our evening together. I still have my “writing bug” because I was able to write about another subject this morning.

I think our correspondence would actually be a great thing for the blog. I am totally about sharing how human and flawed I am. I will include the part about my kids and my anguish.

As far as anything you’ve written, I’ll keep your family names, etc. out of it. I love our picture – it looks so cool putting it next to one of the old ones. I’m glad I don’t have to delete any pictures!

Take care, Judy

Ps. You might not have been “The One,” but you still have a special place in my heart. And that comes even after reading your well-intentioned, thoughtful advice. Even your career advice was thoughtful!

On Nov 23, 2010, at 12:08 AM, Sam wrote:

Hi Judy!

First off, it’s fine to post our correspondence.

You are not flawed!  Parenting is a challenge for all of us, and you have had to meet challenges that I cannot even imagine.  We all have to “course correct” from time to time.  Your blog is inspiring…but the relationship that you have with your children and what you have done for them is even more so!

Sorry, I meant to send this earlier tonight…got home from basketball and somehow fell asleep…it was 11:30 when I woke up…more fun in the fifties!…take care!…Sam

For entertainment while Sam and his wife visited with us, our cat climbed up on our bird’s cage.

This cat also liked to drink out of a fishbowl. He and the goldfish used to kiss each other!

© 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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