For those of you interested Only in TRAVEL, I (Jack) wrote the blog between March 2010 and October 2010 during our travels west. We saw the most beautiful places and had the best time in our big truck and little trailer. See Blog Archive below.

Jun 21, 2013

Did I Ever Tell You About My Sister


My "little big sister", as I call her, is very, very special. We grew up on "the wrong side" of Long Island. From my very first memories, I remember Judy as a person that everyone liked. One neighbor, in particular, used to identify her when speaking of the two of us by saying, "You know, the one who always smiles". I don't need to tell you who he was talking about.

Judy is strong. She's strong for everyone who knows her. When we are together, we do nothing but laugh. She, without a doubt, has the best memory of anyone I've ever known down to the most minute detail. I thought of something just last night. When we were in our early teens, I remember a day when we were hanging out wash, and she was hanging our bras and she said, "OK, the 'girls' are hanging". That was long before it was even ok to SAY the word bra much less nickname them. We laughed so hard we cried, which was not unusual for us. I think of her every time someone says "the girls", now.

I was the only one in our family to move away from New York. Judy used to come down for the summers with my niece and nephews. Her visits, and those of my Mom and Dad, were something we so looked forward to.

When we lost our Dad, Mom depended upon Judy for everything. She lived right next door to her. All the things that I wished I could do for my Mom, Judy did. She always stretched herself paper thin to take care of everyone and everything, and a mighty fine job of it she did.

I've been packing, today, in anticipation of my trip to New York. I leave tomorrow, and I get more excited by the minute. Every time I wanted to make the trip, something came up. The only thing left besides actually getting stuff in the truck, is making several batches of sweet potatoes for Jack. Speaking of which, I never knew a dog that Judy didn't love and visa versa. She lost Rupert in July of last year. It broke my heart to see her lose him.

Judy is the director of admissions at a rehabilitation center/senior citizen home. Years ago, I asked her the name of the place and she said, "Waiting Room to Heaven". I thought it was such a pleasant name, but got peculiar looks when I would tell people. Only within the last couple of years did I find out that she was only joking. What a surprise. She treats every family and patient as though they were her own family. 

Okay, so this will make the post too long, but the blog is for me to look back on--maybe my kids. I left on Friday, but I could not take pain medication because I was afraid it would make me drowsy. I took 85/95 up. Horrible. Heavy traffic all the way and construction from DC to Long Island. I stopped late so I had a difficult time finding a motel that would take Jack. I wound up in what might just be the worst motel in the country--a Motel 6 in Durham NC in pain that I can't begin to describe.

The roaches were as big as my hand, room filthy, clientele...won't even discuss. It was a sleepless night.

Long, long drive on Saturday, but made it thanks to Judy cheering me on. I was convinced that it was going to take three days. My GPS had no idea where Long Island was, but my invisible co-pilot, cheered me on over the phone, giving me very explicit directions. Each call bolstered my confidence so I kept driving. Didn't get in until dusk and exited the truck like a drunk carrying something that had wires dangling which sent Judy into gales of laughter. 

I had started the counting hours sitting dead still in traffic in DC...3-1/2 hours so believe me I was exhausted. Going home through PA on 80...or is it 81.

I stayed with my sister--a sight for sore eyes--and my brother-in-law, with their youngest son and his wife and children right next door in the house I grew up in. I went to Mary and Ally's dance recital; great entertainment, was entertained by her little sister What little dolls they are. Mary was coming off her once per month steroid treatment so wasn't feeling too well; still she wanted to perform and she did a great job. Ally remembered all of her dance steps so we were very proud of her. 

I didn't get to see Xavior play baseball, but I understand he's very good. I saw Peighton receive an award for academic excellence; we were all very proud. Judy and I played on our computers while Frank (Judy's husband) screamed at the TV over one sporting event after another. We ate at Nathan's...ahhhh, the memories on Father's Day--took all the kids from next door. Judy took me on a tour of all the old familiar places and places that were ravaged by the storm.

And, I visited the neighborhood where Rich and I lived with our three kids when they were little; before we moved to Atlanta. There was a whole bunch of us that were not only good neighbors, but wonderful friends; laughing our way through life. There's only two of us left. Vinnie...just Vinnie and me left. Such a warm feeling seeing him. He said everyone still calls our house by our name as though we never left. I didn't stay long...the tears were close as he remembered, in the space of a few short minutes, so many wonderful memories we shared.
7 Hickory St.


Kids, Dance Recital, Award Ceremony, Baseball, Our Elementary School, and a Little Guy Who Screamed that he Wanted to Go Home Every time He Looked at Me.

Vinnie, Matt and Peighton, Clarabelle, Ally, Mary, Getting Ready, My Old School
Thank you for the old and new memories, Judy.

Oh, darn, I almost forgot. People at rest stops kept asking me if Jack is a service dog. In fact one woman saw me pull up, get him out of the truck and asked if he was a seeing eye dog (we both hesitated, then laughed like the devil) I can't explain this, but Jack goes into a definite mode on a solo long distance trip. He knows the routine, perfectly, travels like a piece of baggage, and when out and about he walks by my knee in a perfect "heel". He's always a good pup, but more of a clown when I travel with other people or even camp with other people. Alone, I think he remembers our long trip out west and becomes a guy that is just terrific. Had to come back and give him credit. 

And, there were once these days...ya gotta love him.


  1. What a great post. I can certainly understand about a sister being a treasure. So glad you got to visit. You got to revisit some very good memories and make some new ones too. That's a successful trip in my book. The little ballerina is just adorable, as are all the kids in the pictures. Hope you are in less pain today.

  2. What a wonderful nostalgic trip. I would absolutely kill to have had a sister... especially one like Judy.

    Enjoyed reading this very much. I also hope your pain is less ... bummer on pains and such

  3. Hi, guys! I have a bunch to catch up on. Still unpacking and cleaning, etc. Had to fit in some PT at the pool, today. My sister is a treasure and I never forget how lucky I am. Isn't little Ally cute? She's the one that always looks out for Mary. I took pain meds while in NY so after 2 days I was feeling human, and I took them the minute I hit the door when I got home. Thanks for stopping by, as always.

  4. What a great post. I always wanted a sister just like Judy. Lucky you. SO glad you and Jack could make the trip and got home safely. When is that pain going to be gone?? Such great pictures! What a beautiful family

  5. The kids are cute but Jack just steals my heart!

  6. Awww...thanks, Sheryl. He stole my heart the first time I saw him and will always have it. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  7. I am so happy this trip brought you some great old memories and now some new ones. And I am so happy that you were able to make the trip. Sorry about the pain though.
    Love the pictures of everyone and of course good ol'e Jack.

    Seeing the picture of the house brought me back to the east coast as well. Just don't see those Cape's around here.


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