You may have seen this before, but I tried to write something new about my sister Judy. And, well, this piece really just sums up who she was better than anything I’ve come up with since.
She’s been gone now for 16 years. Not a day has gone by since that I haven’t wanted to talk with her, laugh with her, or, alternatively because she was my sister, smack her. There really isn’t a relationship like you have with a sister. Even long after they are gone.
Today, April 22, is Earth Day! It’s the Anniversary of the very first Earth Day. Here is Walter Cronkite’s report on the first Earth Day, 1970:
It would also be my late sister Judy’s 64th birthday.
Whoever made the decision to turn Judy’s birthday into Earth Day chose wisely. Judy was a born environmentalist and recycler.
On the first Earth Day, Judy was a new, very young mother who believed in saving the planet. She was the first “environmentalist” I ever knew personally, and well, I thought she was nuts. There was a recycling bin in her kitchen for as long as I can remember. And this was back when recycling took effort. She believed in gardens, not garbage, and she made life bloom wherever she was.
“I’ve got kids,” she’d say. “It’s their planet too!”
But years later, Judy took recycling to a whole different level when she helped people recycle themselves. In the 1990s, Jude, who was then living in Florida, began working with the Homeless, assisting at shelters. Then she actively began trying to help homeless vets food, shelter and work — to enable them to jumpstart their lives.
When she died in early 2000, the American Legion awarded her honorary membership for her services to homeless vets. A homeless shelter was named in her honor. So she’s still doing good works, my sister is. That would make her wildly happy.
Jude also gave me the Beatles. So it is very appropriate that they wrote a song for her.
You see, the night the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan, it was MY turn to choose what we were going to watch. And we were going to watch the second part of The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh starring Patrick McGoohan on the Wonderful Wide World of Disney. My four (all older and MUCH cooler) siblings were furious with me. But I was quite insistent. You might even say that I threw a Class I temper tantrum over it, but I wouldn’t admit to that. But hey, I was seven. And it was my turn to choose. Fair is fair, especially in a big family with only one TV.
Somehow, Judy talked me out of my turn. She was always very persuasive. Thanks Jude.
Hey Jude, Happy Earth Day-Birthday.