I've tried to write more than one page of stories I've told to people who in turn want me to write them down. So of course I come up with a great dose of writer's block. I turn to a piece of personal writing that my son, James, left on my computer. I recognize the incident because it is a part of a shared history. However, I focus on something James said about a childhood friend with whom he feels a strong bond despite the many years that have passed since James has seen or been with his good friend, Chris Parker. A light bulb goes on inside my head and memories from over 52 years come to mind and my special girlhood friend, Judith Gloria Herman, comes to mind again.
I've held her in memory as she was when we were 14 and 15. When I needed a special person, Judi and her mother Margaret were there. I can almost hear Judy's voice for we walked to school many days and we shared each others family stories. We both lived in the Bronx and after school we generally went to her apartment and listened to music, listened to Mrs. Herman's stories of life in Hungry where she and Mr. Herman had lived during WWII, played cards and thus I came to learn of a non-Latino culture that was rich in history and sorrows. Despite the past, Mrs Herman exemplified the best qualities of a person who embraced the present and made the most of it.
When I left New York, I gave Judy my Harry Belafonte album and she gave me both a necklace and a Star of David.But she gave me so much more. She introduced me to Classical Music, particularly the opera, Tosca and friendship which encouraged me and believed in me.
Why is it that at all the stages of my life self-doubt rears its ugly head. At that time in the Bronx, I had a good friend who believed in me and encouraged me to live beyond the limits of the environment at 2087 Creston Avenue.
If I could see Judi now, I'd tell her about my life's journey and hope that she sees in it the tenacity that has allowed me to survive and thrive because she and her mother were two of the three most important women who gave me early encouragement.
I hope that we can all remember the people in our lives who have given so much to us and we can thank them either in person or in prayer. I do not know how else to reach out to those who have passed to the other side of life or whose current addresses we do not have. Perhaps there is a good reason we are not in contact now--perhaps it is best to have places in our memories for these special friends. Thus, the magic of friendship can continue its work through the years of our lives.