Her name was Judy and she was on her way to seek out her father, Bob Hayes. He was not willing to take on the chore of a 14 year old daughter and sent her back to her Mother who did not have time for her and placed her in a Catholic boarding school. There she developed her singing voice as a member of the chorus. She eloped at 17 as she later explained “as much because her mother forbade it as for any other reason”. One accomplishment of the marriage was to allow her to start to change her name from Judy to Julie, on her marriage certificate, by claiming it was misspelled, “July” to later morph into Julie. The marriage did not last long and she eventually took an apartment on her own and various jobs, for a while working as a ”go-go” dancer in a suburb of Detroit. Living on “mack and cheese” and buying paperbacks based on the thicker the better for her entertainment. One more failed marriage (still seeking a father figure?) and moving up to more stable and lucrative jobs, from singer in a band to rental agent for Fairlane East a Ford Motor Company development, and ultimately executive secretary for Russ Thomas, General manager of the Detroit Lions (owned by a Ford). Getting that job after answering the question “what’s your favorite sport?” with “ice hockey” as well as exhibiting typing and other secretarial skills. She also developed a love of jazz music and would visit the Jazz clubs that existed around Detroit. Among her many friends was one of the great Jazz horn players, Bobby Hackett, known as one who played the trumpet “extremely clean”.
The cat was symbolic of her propensity to “take in strays”, (her words) as she took in two teen agers as foster daughters, who shared her inability to get along with their Mothers. That is where she was when I met her, on a cold February night, while on a five week training that took me to the Detroit area. What started as a “fling” became “can’t stand to be without you” and we were never apart for more than two weeks up to our Wedding Day in August . We had agreed that we would enjoy each other for the time I had at the training center. She got my call, breaking our agreement the day I left as I called her from my overnight visit with my old roommate from College in Rochester NY. We both allowed as to how we could not tolerate our agreement.
Married in August, honeymoon in Bermuda, nine months later a son, she had been told it would be difficult to get pregnant. She took to motherhood with a vengeance, proof that the mom gene is instinctive not learned. Two years later another baby (new home new baby) this time a Daughter, and she continued on her “Mommy track”.
Four rather normall years later, after visiting her doctor for a cough that would not go away, declining a chest x-ray, “if it was not absolutely necessary” and after a night without sleep, acquiescing to the x-ray that led to the eventual diagnosis of Cancer. Hodgkin’s, the second most curable form of cancer (after skin cancer) led to two years of radiation and chemo to no avail and in March she lost her struggle. Leaving a 7 year old Son and a 4 year old Daughter and a 32 year old husband as well as many friends, who 28 years later still think of her often. Yes we have moved on, I was fortunate to meet a wonderful woman and we combined our two families, the son and daughter have both grownup to be good people with their own families with two sons for Rob and two daughters and one son for Brigit, who lost her husband to cancer when she was 32.
The picture that I saw as I went through the “rabbit hole” would have knocked me over if I was not sitting down when I saw it, as the image is so much like the pictures of Julie at about fourteen. On her headstone is a poem she recited at our Wedding:
Doubt that the stars are fire,
Doubt that the sun doth move,
Doubt truth to be a liar,
But never doubt my love”.