True stories of Judy & Robbie

I started writing to tell stories and it started when I left for Hong Kong.  Every moment was heightened, every feeling was intense.  I was 17.  Overseas I took a creative writing class and it hooked me... I don't think my words have been the same since.... why go for boring words like "great" when you can say luscious or scrumptious or exhilarating... make it a little interesting, k?  Appeal to the senses where someone can taste your experience like a juicy crisp green apple - with a dash of salt. Most of all when I tell a story, I want to convey a level of sincerity, perspective, spirituality, passion, hope, joy, courage and whatever else I so happen to find myself witnessing or traipsing through.  I want to paint pictures with my words, but it does not always need to be about me... So today, I will write about my parents...

My Mom had reconstructive ankle surgery this week- her second. The first experience was on the left, now this one has removed bone and stretched tendons and ligaments and put them all back into their proper place - the result, is a massive white beast encompassing her right ankle.. but she's why they both get the post today... Parental entertainment value. Being such, I will tell their story.

My Mom was the first daughter to Don and Maria, preceded by David and followed by Diana. Maria was a pinch n some change older than Don (none of us knew anything about this until much much much later when we commissioned her birth certificate so she could get proper medical insurance at her assisted living facility.)  Don was from Springfield, OH and Maria was from Anyasco, Puerto Rico.

The back story there in a sweet little glimpse: Don met Maria while he was stationed as a Radar Technician for the US Air force in Puerto Rico.  Maria was a secretary on base. To watch and encounter my grandparents you would know they lived an adventure together.  Both of them had lost parents at young ages but still had a fierce loyal and protective connection to their families.  Don spent his childhood tripping around Snyder park in Springfield and Maria spent sunny afternoons in Puerto Rico.  Both were athletes - Don knew everything from Fencing to Archery to Fishing and Hunting and if my memory serves me, Maria had a bit of that Spanish zest in her - like a splash of Tabasco.  There are stories of Maria driving a Moped, running and winning races among other things.  As a child growing up as a regular fixture in their house, you would walk away with these things in your back pocket: 1. There was always the best cake you've ever tasted. 2. You would have been hugged on the way in and on the way out - even if it was the first time you'd ever met them. 3. You would be carrying a plate of leftovers regardless of what time of day you came. 4. You would know just by watching one look to the other how true love is.

Now, as I hear it, Judy, their middle child, was a bit of a spitfire and inherited some of that Tabasco. ;) hahah. (lum mama). No really. She was the organizer, the caretaker and the one who was in charge, aaand maybe took charge (so I gather from the subtle sarcasm of Aunt Diana and Uncle David) especially when both of their parents were working... Their family moved a lot - as kids we heard stories about their adventures in Panama, Puerto Rico, Mississippi, Washington and North Dakota.  For this little air force family it instilled and solidified that same close knit connectedness to each other Don and Maria so valued... and of course, with 3 bitty ones close in age, there was never a dull moment.

Robbie was the middle son born to Jean and Jerry... preceded by James and followed by Edward.  As long as I can remember, I knew my father was named for Robbie Burns - a Scottish poet.  You see Jean was a bit of a spitfire herself..  Jerry met Jean while stationed in England - Jean was in the the Royal Air Force and Jerry was in the Army Core working on P51s.. their story?  It followed a similar pattern. Both lost their parents tragically young from sickness and somehow made their way with the help of their siblings.  Jerry grew up driving his Indian motorcycle around Springfield - his bride was from Edinburgh, Scotland.  She could make the best pot of tea you've ever had, and could bake like a maniac.  The extent of her cooking, though was jello, baked chicken, shepherd's pie and meatloaf.  To stray from that list was disastrous.  They too, like Maria and Don, had a strong connection to family and as part of their adventure decided to set out, brave the wild unknown and venture across an ocean and make a go of it - in Springfield, Ohio.  

And Robbie lived up to his name, with a full blown streak of restless creative energy. I am fairly certain he inherited a bit of this from his mother along with the wild curl she had in her hair. She had her boys try everything under the sun, determined to have them learn what she did not. While Jean was a huge proponent of the public library and would bring home records and books, all to inspire the absorption of information.  Jerry was an accountant, while his days kept him at the office, Jean enrolled the boys in free tennis lessons at Snyder park and art lessons at the old Arcade.. and they were always going on "mystery tours" when Jean would get bored of the house and insist Jerry take her and the boys somewhere.. and there was always music...

Finally, in junior high Don and Maria made the decision to move their family back to Ohio - home base for Don where he had some family and lots of old friends. It was a far haul from the sandy adventures of Puerto Rico and much needed relief from the shoulder high snowstorms of North Dakota. Judy went to Roosevelt Junior high and then on to North where she and her siblings were athletes.  David was a wrestler, while Judy and Diana (13 months apart) were both on the track team, specializing in hurdles... To see this pair of sisters you knew they matched, with long hair down to the middle of their backs. Diana was a brunette, Judy was a blond.

Judy's summers were spent hanging out with her mixed bag of friends - yes, she was a North girl who hung out with the Central kids.  She spent her summers keeping watch as a lifeguard and teaching swim lessons at Lakewood swim club.

Robbie spent his time romping around with his brothers and hung out with the nuns, going all the way through Catholic school at St. Raphael's and onto Catholic Central.  He tells stories of Sister Rose Bernadette who would play kickball with all the kids at recess.  I once asked my Dad if he played any sports while he was in high school - to which he replied "Freshman Basketball". :)

After Central he bounded down the road to Athens where he became an OU Bobcat - among other things; Pizza delivery man through the hills of campus in break-less VW bugs.  He became a full fledged artist, expanding his reach not only with drawing and painting, but also with his study in graphic design and journalism.  Having fussed around with his guitar since he was a kid, he became a musician writing songs on his acoustic and experimenting on his roommates electric. And of course he was a student.

A few years later, Judy made the hop, skip and a jump over to Bowling Green where she was what I would classify as an extraordinarily funny RA- with a myriad of crazy pictures and all sorts of get ups, I'm sure there was never a dull moment.  There are pictures of theme parties with a gaggle of girls laughing and stories of sledding down the big BG hill on hijacked cafeteria trays. There, she landed on an Education major - exercising her excellent leadership skills.

So how did these two meet?  4 years a part, they knew some of the same people, but, they met of all places - at a bar.  Judy was the lightweight - H20 on the rocks was her drink of choice, she was the DD and she was ok with that.  One night, while sipping on her water, some unwanted attention floated in her direction.  She was a beautiful girl - long blond hair down the middle of her back, slender with a touch of athletic to her physique. After several attempts to kindly shrug off the unwanted advances, he grew more insistent and determined to win her over. At this point in time, Robbie "knew" Judy - they were friends of friends and upon witnessing the sequence of events he literally stepped in and said - "Hey, she's with me."  Other dude = hasta luego.  The details after that are a little fuzzy -  I do know, however, this was "the moment they really met".  They had talked, he had rescued her from a somewhat belligerent maybe-a-little-too-tipsy guy and there was an impression made. The impression was of his character.

So they started seeing each other casually and casually turned into regularly and regularly turned into steady and steady turned into serious... What followed was an engagement, a wedding, a marriage, two daughters, two designed-and-built-from-scratch houses, two businesses and a teaching career. They have supported and strengthened each other, challenged each other, changed each other.

You see, her spitfire matched his restless creative streak, and it still does. She encourages him to investigate and grow his ideas and in turn, he encourages her to take big risks (nothing ventured nothing gained.) There are so many stories I could tell but what I'll leave you with a few pictures instead :)

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