I have been writing my blog for a year and a half now, and perhaps I can introduce some special people in my life that I regularly correspond with. I want to mention Sam.


I reconnected with Sam in October of last year. He was a former boyfriend of mine. Sam found my blog and saw our prom pictures from high school. I had written a song for him entitled “You’re Not the One. Here is a link to that story: YOU’RE NOT THE ONE 


I think it is an amazing story. I have been married over thirty years and have three, living children. Sam is also married and has four children. He is a doctor and has been extremely helpful with advice, especially surrounding my elderly parents. Recently, he even helped my friend Joni navigate a challenging medical situation when one of her sons became ill.


On my last post, I wrote about a memory I had surrounding the abuse suffered by my childhood friend, Joni. I also shared a poem at the end of that post. Sam commented to me yesterday about my poem.


I liked your last public post, but it sounded like the last poem you wrote on that page was directed at Joni. (And maybe it was, but it casts her in a poor light…might consider editing it a bit)…Sam


I had found the poem in my memorabilia box and did share it hastily. It was later on where I realized the poem certainly did give the impression that it was about Joni. Joni had written to me immediately after she read it, and had questions about it.


The truth was that although it was might have had some elements taken from our friendship, it was not about her. The last thing I wanted to do was to cause her pain and cast her in a poor light!


I wrote my poem while I was in high school. It resembles song lyrics by having a chorus repetition; around that time I was already writing songs.


Yesterday, I had a beautiful exchange with Joni regarding my last post. I decided to move the poem over here and share our exchanges.


If I could summarize what was most meaningful for me, it would be how my friend overcame her childhood trauma. She suffered a lot as a child. Instead of dwelling on her painful memories, she moved forward. She turned her life into one filled with promise and love. There was no bitterness within her.


That is a beautiful story for me.

A picture of Joni and I being silly when we were about twelve-years-old.


Excerpts of my exchange yesterday with Joni:


On Aug 9, 2011, Joni wrote:


I read the blog, it made me and my husband cry and we both wondered about the last poem that had no commentary as far as I could tell, You write beautifully, but what did you mean by she lost her mind?  Was that about me? Because you leave our picture at the end, I assumed it might be connected.


It was fun seeing those pictures.  I loved going to the beach the three of us. It was really a huge treat to have all that freedom.


Let me know about the poem, I am curious.  My guess is that I had disappeared from your life searching for a life for myself.  


Best always, Joni


Wow, I didn’t mean to make you both cry! The truth is that it wasn’t written about you. But I think I was affected by seeing you depressed and withdrawn during high school. We didn’t plan a double wedding, did we?


I think my poem was for song lyrics someday. Putting your picture after it definitely was confusing. I might elaborate more so others won’t be confused by the poem also.


Love you, Jude


I love it, Judy. You are so creative and bright. Who would have thought of the future when you were so young, well maybe high school isn’t so young.  


I do not recall thinking of a double wedding, but maybe…. it would have been great!


Anyhow, the lyrics are wonderful from your poem. I liked the part where you had so many friends but didn’t recall their names. Yet, you had a special one that you did recall the name, but didn’t reveal it – perhaps it was your mom.


By the way, she looked beautiful on Monday. I am sorry you had to work so hard keeping her thoughts positive. Have you considered allowing her more access to her hurtful thoughts? Who knows? It is so hard. It is very painful seeing a loved one deteriorate; whether they are sick in mind or body. Please remind me of her Hebrew name so I can pray for her more often!!!!! I really do love her like a mother, and I love you like a best friend and a sister.


I will never forget the feelings of safety I had when I was near you, as I experienced life. Thank you for your warmth.  I especially recall the comfort I felt when you played your guitar; I really did not want to leave your side, but by then you had quite a few friends.


I know you had to find your way as I did mine, and that whole boyfriend thing never did help our relationship. One of my biggest reasons for loving orthodoxy is for that exact reason. Judaism has a system in place that guides young people on the proper path in life. I felt so alone, confused and longed for that guidance. I think I remember you being uncomfortable with me in high school and I needed to give you space.  


The good news is that we managed to survive!!!! And THRIVE!! Thank God!

I thank God for my life as often as possible, because it was tough going there for a long time.


Take care and love always, Joni


Boy, Jone, this is just simply so beautiful for me to read. I wanted to write more to you this morning because I was feeling badly that with my poem and sad memory for you, I dredged up a lot of hurt. It seems like all the good elements of my story, such as your wonderful visit with my mom and me, was overshadowed by this poem and the abuse you endured.

I am so sorry if that caused you pain.


It is amazing for me how much you have gained from becoming religious. I am so honored to know how my family influenced you.


Your message also touches me because you are in such a positive place. I appreciate very much how you have been so wonderful to my mom. It helps to share my pain with you and the joy of her better moments. Her Hebrew name is Shira, by the way. I love that because it means song – isn’t that perfect?


Well, I think I’m going to go sing now. I have a challenging day ahead of me since I am taking my father to another doctor for a second opinion.


Love, Jude


Actually Jude, I have managed somehow to forget the past and when I want to remember I simply can’t.


It is all for the good because I want knowledge of my past. My siblings remember better than I do. I appreciate your remembering for me, as well. Perhaps, trauma does that. Since I was not allowed expression of myself and no one came to pull me out of my emotional state, I was forced to bury my hurt and face the day.

I realize how much you love to find goodness in everything.


That spurs me on to find the good, because when it comes down to it, what do we really have in our life, but how we feel?


You asked me if it was okay to share our correspondence on your blog.


If it is good for you, then I am jumping in after you…. just like at the ocean!

I was scared seeing those waves. The water was always so cold, but it was worse waiting on the shore for you, so I bounded after you. YOU knew no FEAR!!!! You were the bravest person I knew, and still are. You’re my girl!


Please give your dad my best regards. I will love him always too!



Wow! I love this, too. Have you thought of being a writer? (I guess that’s why you majored in English at UCLA!) I’m so proud of you!


You are inspiring me to write even more with your message. I didn’t know I was so brave; I’m just doing the best I can.


I knew you were cold in the ocean, but you were braver than I was because you overcame that.


Keep jumping with me!


Love, Jude

I would swim in the ocean for hours (notice the goofy mask). Joni was always cold with blue lips!


I’m older in this picture. I was fearless and loved taking huge waves. I never became a surfer, though!

I want to end this post by writing about the feelings I was trying to convey with my poem, Childish Dreams.


I was the youngest in my family and I have two older brothers. I always longed for a sister. I searched for a best friend to fulfill my wish for a sister.


It is interesting for me how my poem expresses honest feelings from my childhood. Those dreams certainly were “immature and childish.” They were still my dreams, however.


The sad part was that it led to a lot of disappointment in my life. I had high expectations about finding a “best friend” to become the sister I longed for.


Inevitably, that led to having my dreams being “shattered to pieces.”


Like grief, disappointment is something I have learned to live with. Now that I am older, I have the insight to understand my high expectations were not at all helpful for me.


When we were young, Joni was not available for me to play with very often. I desperately wanted her to be my “best friend and buddy.” However, she was forced to work most of the time at her parents’ dry cleaning store. My disappointment with our friendship surrounded that fact that she was often moody.


I didn’t understand why when I was a child. I certainly do now.


At this point in my life, I am grateful for all of my friends and accept them for who they are. I stopped searching for a best friend when I became comfortable with being alone with myself.


There is great irony for me that it was then that I realized how I did have a “sister” all along with my friend, Joni.


© Judy Unger and 2011. 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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