What with St. Valentine’s Day coming tomorrow, I thought I would tell the story of how I met Judy, my blog partner and spouse of almost 35 years.
So cast your minds back to 1983 in Chicago. I was working for a political organization, preparing for a regional conference up in Madison, Wisconsin. Judy was an experienced community organizer and between jobs. More on that later.
Judy wanted to go to the conference but didn’t have a working car. I, on the other hand, didn’t have a driver’s license. My boss, Holly, solved this problem by suggesting that we go up together in her old Toyota pickup truck, one of those with room for only 2 in the cab – others had to use a bench in the back (which at least had a covering).
Holly had an ulterior motive: she wanted to recruit Judy for our local steering committee. So I was instructed to be extra nice to her.
The first time Judy and I met was when we rendezvoused in order set off to Madison. She told me later that she wondered who this ne’er do well was that didn’t even have a driver’s license.
There was a third person, Victor, along for the ride. He started out in the back of the truck, and we agreed to switch places at the halfway point.
So on the ride up some mutual interest developed between Judy and I. When we made our mid-way stop, Victor insisted on staying in the back, possibly because he realized that he was becoming a third wheel, so to speak. Sorry about that, Victor.
Anyhow, less than 2 years later we were married.
Now I want to share something about Judy which says a lot about the kind of person she is. We met shortly after she had left her job at a community organization on the Southwest Side of Chicago, at the time a heavily white, ethnic, and blue-collar area.
In 1983, white Chicagoans were in a state of near-hysteria over the election of Harold Washington, Chicago’s first African-American mayor. The top staff at Judy’s organization thought it would be smart to use that hysteria to build up their following.
Judy was the only person internally who argued against this. As a result, she was subjected to a campaign of what today we would call gaslighting. People spread rumors that she didn’t understand organizing, was having a nervous breakdown, or “just needed a man.”
Despite all this, she did not bend. She quit the organization, even though she had devoted years and countless hours to working there.
Over time, I’ve seen Judy do this on multiple occasions – stand up for the right thing, even if it meant she was the only person in the room to do so. She is not a gadfly – she likes people, works well with people. But she has courage and a bedrock sense of right and wrong.
This is only one of many reasons I fell in love with her. Among other things, she also has a great laugh. After all these years that laugh still gives me a warm feeling.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Judy. I’m glad we ended up in that truck together.
I loved your story! Happy Valentine’s Day to both of you!
A wonderful story for Valentine’s Day, Jason! My best to both of you. Enjoy tomorrow!
Love does find a way. Congratulations. Have a lovey-dovey Valentines day
Thanks for the story — it’s a good one! Happy Valentine’s Day to you both!
What a great story. My hubbie and I have been married for about the same length of time. We met in graduate school in much more conventional circumstances — taking a class together.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you both.
A great story… no wonder you fell for Judy … Paul and I had similar ideas about what is important in life & we never looked back.
Just wish I could say we met in a pick-up truck! Happy Valentine Day to you both.
Lovely story. Have a Happy V-Day.
The other half of the story is that not too long after we met, the organization he worked for ran out of money, and he worked for most of a year for unemployment insurance and housing that rotated to a new board member’s apartment each month. They were very glad when he moved in with me! Starry-eyed idealists, both of us. Love at first sight.
Now you’ve really made me sound like a ne’er do well.
Wonderful story – Happy Valentine’s Day to you both! Enjoy all your posts and photos!
Delightful story. Happy Valentine’s Day and many more!
What?! Just like that? “Anyhow, less than 2 years later we were married.”
I thought that covered all the essential details.
Yes, I suppose. Perhaps the other details are no one’s business anyway.
What a lovely Valentine’s story and tribute to Judy. She sounds very special. And to pick her up in a pick-up truck is very neat.
Awwwww, always good to hear a love story!
Now, that’s a nice Valentine’s Day story. ❤️I will admit when I saw the heading, I thought you had traded your car in for a truck so you could haul more plants and compost. 🙂
I’ve been thinking about doing just that when I retire!
Having common causes does make it nice when you come together. What a sweet story. I am happy you two found each other in that little blue truck. Happy Valentines Day to you both.
Ah, sweet story. We got married the same year. Wishing you many years more of joy!
I concur, this is a wonderful story. And now I suspect a lot of us have also fallen in love with Judy. Well done!
Happy V-Day to you both, thanks for sharing your story.
This is the most heart-warming thing I’ve read in quite a while, mostly because I know both of you, and because it’s not saccharine but it’s from your heart. You are such a fun couple, and it’s fun to hear about how you met. 🙂
Thank you, Beth.
Such a great story Jason. Really heart-warming. Happy Valentine‘s Day to you both!
Great story. We need more like you two.
I had a truck almost just like that one but I was already married when I got it. I’m glad it helped with your own marriage. They were cozy.
Happy Valentines Day!
What a lovely story! Thank you for sharing.
Wishing you both a Happy Valentine’s Day.
That is a sweet story. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Judy. I hope you have many more Valentine Days together.
Aww, what a wonderful story! Loved every bit of it, and yes, poor Victor…LOL! Judy sounds like the exact kind of person who needs to be elected to public office. The glaring absence of spines and convictions in those currently calling the shots is pitiful. Happy Valentines to you both! ❤
Hello Jason, that’s a really romantic/not-romantic story if you know what I mean. A bit like mine – I met my first and (still) current partner over 10 years ago in a Starbucks Coffee by introduction but we really clicked over a trio of 17th Century restored Qing Dynasty Chinese vases in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. I like to think it’s a pretty niche way of starting a long-term relationship.
Sounds like you each have very refined taste.
What a wonderful story for any day of the year! It’s trite to say, I suppose, but love can transform every day, and your days together obviously have been filled with love.
what a truly lovely story. I love hearing how people meet their partners. I met my husband John, not on a car share, but by sitting on the bench behind him, while we were studying Landscape Architecture, and here we are 25 years later.
Reminds me of Anne of Green Gables, though I’m sure your husband was much more of a gentleman than Gilbert Blythe.
I will have to re- read Anne of Green Gables !
Actually I’m basing my comment on the PBS TV series.
That’s beautiful and real and I love it! You two look exactly the same! So glad you ended up together. :o)
We look exactly the same? A total lie but keep ’em coming.
You’re both grayer but your faces and hair look the same!
What a lovely story, Judy sounds like a wonderful person! Loved the photos and the fact you found each other. Wishing you both many more years of happiness.xxx
So I’m reading this on Feb 20 and I agree with everyone else. GREAT story! Wishing you both many more years of shared ideals and love. And yes, I’m wishing Judy would run for office!!
Congratulations, you two❤️❤️