I actually loved my large family. But not all the time. I have a distinct memory of myself at around age five. My parents were going out shopping and my teenage cousin, Barbara, was babysitting the four of us. My mother asked me, "Katy, is there anything you'd like us to get you from the store?" I couldn't think of anything, but I do remember telling her not to bring home any more babies. There were so many of them, I guess I assumed they were just picking them up at the store. My parents loved telling this story at cocktail parties.
Judy was two grades younger than I was in school and when she was a teenager, suddenly she turned gorgeous. She had perfect hair, perfect skin, a perfect body. So, I decided I'd have to hate her. Just a little bit. But a lot one particular night.
We rarely went out on dates together. But when I was a senior in high school, I had this boyfriend who introduced Judy to one of his friends. And so we decided to go on a double-date. I mean, we didn't actually call it that. That would have been weird. We were cool. And it was the 70's. But that's what it was. A double-date, I mean. And we all went to see a movie that had just come out and it was called The Exorcist.
Oh, my God. That movie scared the s**t out of me. I was freaked. Afterwards, as we drove home through the cold and the fog, all it did was creep me out even more.
Now, I must tell you that since there were seven of us kids, a lot of us used to share beds. Double-sized beds. The twin boys and my brother had bunk beds and Char and Ginny shared a bed, as did Judy and I. So when we got home that night after the movie, I put on my pajamas and went right to bed and pulled the covers over me. I was still scared from that movie. Judy went downstairs to the bathroom and did whatever she did to keep herself beautiful and I don't know how I managed it, but I fell asleep. And shortly afterwards, I was awakened by my bed shaking up and down. I started to scream. It felt like it was The Exorcist and the demon was coming to get me.
Oh, but no. It was Judy who had quietly come upstairs to our room to find me asleep. And so she picked up the end of the bed and pulled it up and down really fast, as hard as she possibly could. Can you tell I am still traumatized by this experience?
But no, really. I'm not. Judy's great. She works harder and longer than I do. She's raised three kids, one of whom got very sick as a child and who is absolutely thriving today. And his illness led her to a career in medicine when she decided she was smarter than the nurses who were caring for him. And she was! She put herself through school and graduated at the top of her class. I was never prouder of her than I was that day.
So Happy Birthday, Judy. Have a great day. And remember, someone in Maryland loves you. And that someone is not traumatized any more.
Postscript: I wrote this post about a month ago and opened it up tonight to get it finished for tomorrow. You would not believe what is playing on the Chiller station on DirecTV. Yeah, you guessed it. It's The Exorcist. Weird, eh?