Monday, August 9, 2010

84 Things You May Not Know About Me!

Ridgely Johnson
Meet Ridgely Johnson. She writes a blog called Savor the Ride. This is the first time I am featuring Ridgely on my OP-ED blog; however, she and her blog were the inspiration for a May 31, 2010, post I wrote for Webconsuls: Bystander Effect on Broken Blogs and Websites.
Jorja White

Do you remember Jorja White? I introduced you to Jorja in July when I wrote about Peaks and Valleys. I actually met Ridgely because Jorja re-tweeted one of Ridgely's tweets, thus the Webconsuls' post. Since that time, Ridgely, Jorja and I have become "friends" and we often talk about how some day we will meet in person and sit on a porch and get to know each other.

About a month ago Jorja wrote a post: 84 Things, she followed up by writing a post about Why Lists are Good, then she took it step further and convinced the author, Theo Nester, to write a guest post 84 Things from Theo. This past week Ridgely wrote her own list of 84 Things and she coaxed me to write a list of 84 Things You May Not Know About Me. Here is my list:

1. I was born in San Diego, CA.

2. I have lived in five of the 50 states, CA, TN, AK, NH, and AZ.

3. I am 100% Irish.

4. My maternal grandparents emigrated from Ireland; my paternal grandparents were 1st generation Irish Americans.

5. My father was one of 13 children, my mother was one of four.

6. Both of my parents were fraternal twins, they each  had a twin sister

7. I have two older sisters and one younger brother.

8. I went to an all girls high school, I graduated in 1967.

9. I was the high school ASB president.

10. All of my high school awards were for science. 1st place Biology, 2nd Place Chemistry, Greater San Diego Science Fair 1966, 1966 Ford Future Scientist of America.

11. I moved to San Francisco late summer 1967!

12. I attended University of San Francisco, just across the panhandle from Haight-Ashbury!

13. I love San Francisco, I do not like vegetables.

14. I love New York City.

15. I met my first husband when I was 13, we married in November 1968, we were 19!

16. My first husband and I divorced in late 1974. The day he left I learned how to drive a manual transmission.

17. I completed college at California State University, Los Angeles. 1974

18. I have a degree in Sociology, with an emphasis in Social Welfare and Corrections.

19. I have never been a social worker or a corrections officer.

20. I once met with the U.S. Navy recruiter, that same summer I was recruited to be a community organizer for Cesar Chavez. Cesar Chavez was born in Yuma, AZ.

21. I was inducted into Alpha Kappa Delta, somewhere packed away is a certificate!

22. I have never had a manicure.

23. I have had two pedicures.

24. I can watch certain movies over and over again.

25. I have very curly hair…especially if I live in a humid climate. Some days I like curls, some days I don’t.

26. I met my husband Dennis at Oakwood Garden Apartments in 1977, March 5. I was paying my rent.

27. We were married September 23, 1978.

28. We have two sons, Aaron and Daniel. I write about them quite often. 

29. I like to take photos. I have a lot of photographs.

30. I was one of the high school photographers; I worked on the school annual(s).

31. One of those annuals is now available on

32. I ran the darkroom for Cal State University Los Angeles daily college paper, The University Times. 1973-1974, circulation 30,000.

33. I love to smoke, but quit smoking the last time on March 26, 2009. Too expensive!

34. I do not like camping of any kind. Almost died too many times.

35. Though I grew up in San Diego, I am not very fond of water. Almost drowned too many times.

36. I took piano lessons.

37. My last piano recital was 1962. I played the Warsaw Concerto, from memory.

38. I always like to have a piano in my home. My husband is a very good pianist.

39. For my first job I was a hotel maid, summer 1968. I went to work for Wells Fargo Bank in January 1969.

40. I was an Assistant Vice President for Crocker National Bank and a Vice-President for Indian Head Bank North/Fleet Bank

41. I was once featured in a TIME magazine ad.

42. My husband and I owned and operated a country inn in the White Mountains of New Hampshire from 1986-1997. The inn slept 120. From 1939-1949 the Inn was owned by Babe Ruth's daughter, Julia Ruth Flanders Stevens. Julia (Judy to her friends) would come and visit us and gave us the guest book that her father signed when he stayed at the inn! Julia Ruth Stevens lives in AZ.

43. For some reason I have met a number of famous people.

44. Richie Havens.

45. Dallas Taylor (drummer for CSNY – Woodstock)

46. Congressman Don Young (Alaska), Senator Ted Stevens (Alaska), Senator Frank Murkowski (Alaska) been to his home, Governor Tony Knowles (Alaska) Governor Sheffield (Alaska)

47. Had private breakfast with President Jimmy Carter in the first class lounge of Alaska Airlines. Actually the secret service and Aaron and Dan, then 4 and 1, were with me.

48. Chatted with Johnny Carson in another first class lounge, he gave me his autograph.

49. I like traveling by train.

50. I learned how to create stain glass artwork. I like it a lot. I am not an expert.

51. I like writing my yearly holiday letter. Friends and family will call me if it is late!

52. I did 20+ performances of the play “Love Letters” by A. R. Gurney. I played the part of Melissa Gardner; my husband played the part of Andrew Ladd.

53. Met Pamela Anderson Lee and Tommy Lee. She was hosting SNL. Dennis' boyhood friend was a cameraman for NBC, invited us to rehearsal. My husband, our two sons and I were the only people in the audience.(Oh, yes, Father DeGagne was also with us.)

54. I like to cook. I was the dinner 'chef' for about four years at our country inn.

55. I make great pies.

56. I make great brisket and I am a pretty good project manager.

57. I converted to Judaism in 1979.

58. I served on the board of directors for the Mount Washington Valley Theatre Company. It is real summer stock.

59. I once attended Strawhat auditions in NYC. I was not auditioning…but casting.

60. I wear glasses, have since 7th grade. I am near sighted. I am also left-handed.

61. I know how to sew. I have my mother’s original sewing machine.

62. I also have the Singer portable that my first husband gave me for Christmas 1969.

63. Had dinner with Roy Scheider in Alaska. My husband was on the board of the Light Opera Theatre and Mr. Scheider came to a fund raiser. He was very nice.

64. Once accompanied Congressman Mo Udall to Prudhoe Bay. 1983

65. I now live in Arizona, the home state of Mo Udall.

66. I was once interviewed by Al Roker. My two sisters and I stood in 15 degree weather outside the TODAY program. Al couldn’t resist us. We were wearing funny hats!

67. I once made a television commercial for NBC’s hit show American Dreams.

68. I served on the board for California Repertory Theatre.

69. I met Richard Carpenter (The Carpenters)…his season ticket was next to mine at the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center at California State University Long Beach.

70. I really love Broadway musicals, but I cannot sing.

71. I have raised puppies, pigs, sheep and one lovable Jersey cow, Sarah Louise.

72. I have had many dogs. Queenie, Lady, Tango, Sasha, Benjie, Maggie, Juneau, Max…and now TOBY. Toby is a not so bright basset hound. Never again. Farm animals are easier to tend than dogs.

73. I met Bobby Unser, Dan Gurney and John Peterman (the real Mr. Peterman, of Seinfeld fame). I have Peterman's autograph on one of his catalogs!

74. I love my husband…but he usually says I have him packed and ready to go.

75. We have moved a lot in our married life. By choice… every place interesting.

76. I am a poll worker, since 2000.

77. I have never served on a jury.

78. I have only been called for jury duty once in my life. That was in NH and I was dismissed because I knew all of the policemen from our small town.

79. I like listening to the news. I have been on the news in AZ twice!

80. I was a substitute teacher in New Hampshire.

Judy and JFK, Jr  March1991
81. John F. Kennedy, Jr. stayed at our country inn in March 1991. He came with his fraternity brother to ice-climb. There were 100 other people at the inn; no one, except me, recognized him! The greatest compliment was he tried to return the next year, but we had no vacancy.

82. In 1983 I once spent a day on the Ocean Odyssey. I was four months pregnant and had to reach this mobile drilling rig in the Gulf of Alaska by helicopter. Until this year, I never thought about how dangerous this adventure might have been.

83. I do believe my father was one of the nicest people I have ever met. He had loving eyes and enjoyed telling stories.

84. I can write 83 stories based on these aforementioned 83 things that you may not have known about me me.

Well, nothing very remarkable. Right? But maybe you have learned a little more about me. I must also say that I like Ridgely and Jorja. I am glad I met them. I learn from them most every day and they make me laugh.  Here are a few photos to go with the list.

Let me know what you think about my list. I would love to hear from you and maybe you will write your own list.

Aboard the Ocean Odyssey, 1983

My Front Porch waiting for Ridgely and Jorja
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Freddie said...

Fun list of things to know about you. You really are a good writer.
Do you still have the book signed by Babe Ruth? Would it be possible to scan the page with his signature and email it to me? That would be great!

Judy Helfand said...

Hi Freddie,
Glad you enjoyed reading this list. I will work on getting a photo to you. I am in the midst of getting ready to travel, so I will put your request on my 'to do' list.
I am glad to get to know you.

Anonymous said...

It is so nice to know more about you... I really love being your friend.

ridgely johnson said...

Loved your list- I was so surprised to see my picture on your blog... you are so dear ;-) LT took 104 pictures of me today-whew - yes- new lens

my comments and/or questions
53. LT told me up front, right away in our romance that had a thing for Pamela Anderson- That was 21 years ago. He still does- Poor thing- Pamela calls & tries, but she is no match for one of my early morning roundhouses in Nike Shox ;-)

61. excited to hear you have your mother's original sewing machine- is a Featherweight? tell me the scoop on it

72. I've been called for County and Federal Jury- not selected obviously- did get paid for the federal gig

Cannot wait to hear about the wedding- Billy took me to a little gift shop today to purchase my anniversary Vera Bradley- purse... He purchased the one featured on my post
saw chocolate -- immediately thought of you!
again, thanks for the air space-- my agent loves the exposurexxoo ridgely

Judy Helfand said...

Glad you liked the list. Pamela Anderson Lee was something. She wore men's lone piece longjohns for the rehearsal. My sons had a great time. Of course, the next evening is when, as host, she bared it all for the audience!

My mother's sewing maching is from around 1947. It is a WHITE and it is in a console. What I recall most about this machine is that the wheel moved opposite of a wheel on a SINGER machine.

Talk to you later.

Nicole Rasbach said...

I feel so fortunate to have heard the stories behind some of these snip-its. How is it we (the girls) never talked you into a manicure??
I beg to differ on one point - you can sing!
Thanks so much for sharing these pieces of you.

Judy Helfand said...

I am not sure why the "girls" never talked me into a manicure. Seems it would have been a great birthday diversion party. We did have wonderful days, didn't we?

Now Ady is swimming and Lana is in Juneau, AK on a cruise ship.

I may get that first manicure with Aaron's wedding. I will keep you posted. And for sure this fall Tim, Ady and you must come for a visit.

Thanks for reading my blog.

Anonymous said...

Hello Judy! May I add #85 to your list? You once hauled your piano out onto your folk's front porch on 'N' avenue and played the theme music to "Peter Gunn", accompanied by, I believe, Steve Finnegan on trumpet, and several other fellows playing different instruments.

-Will Moore

Judy Helfand said...

It is so funny you write about my days with the Steve Finnegan Combo. I actually thought about it when I was making the list.

I have so many good memories of you and your brother and sisters. Afterall, I was the babysitter that would rearrange your parents' living room furniture while I was babysitting. Your mom was so funny and matter of fact. Looking back she was probably exhausted from raising four children.

The piano on the front porch incident took place the summer of 1963! 15 years later, 1978, I was sitting in the jacuzzi at the Oakwood Gardens Apartment (where I met Dennis) and a man across from me kept smiling. Finally, the man said to me: "How are you Judy?" It was Steve Finnegan!

Thanks for stopping by Will. And thanks for the memories.


Anonymous said...

my sweet judy, what a fun list! i love hearing all of these juicy tidbits about rock! i just returned from nyc today. i am exhausted! spent three days with my daughter & her two best friends for her 16th b'day in the city. very fun, but i was already tired from blogher. we'll have to talk about the conference. i would love to come to las vegas, but i am tapped out! thanks for writing your list...see you on the porch! (and a damn fine porch it is too!)

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a list. I loved all the little things that are more subtle. To me, those are the things that really make up our lives.

I suspect you could have chosen many more items too and I think you could write a book by telling the stories behind each one.

You certainly have met a lot of famous people. Do you find you are drawn to famous people or have they simply showed up? I remember your story about Kennedy Jr.

I may tackle such a list myself. Thanks for sharing.

Judy Helfand said...

John and Jorja,
I am addressing both of you here as I have been away and since Jorga was the instigator of the list of "84 things" I would like to introduce the two of you.

John, I hope you do write a list. It is interesting what immediately comes to mind and what you remember after you reach #84.

As to your question about famous people...I know this much, I do not seek them out, I am not a groupie or such. It just happens.

Jorja, thank you for asking me to write a list.

Talk or tweet at you both later.


Nona said...

I created a new email (again) log in as myself. Your details are fabulous, as is your annual newsletter. Thanks for your help today!

Judy Helfand said...

I am so happy you read this post. I have known you for more than half of my life, 33 years to be exact. So many good memories with you. See you next month!

Holly - The Work at Home Woman said...

I love these types of posts! You really get an inside peek into a person's life.

That's so cool you were in Time magazine, what was the segment?

I love the Today Show too and I hope one day to go to NY and meet Matt and Meredith - I know, crazy I've never been to NY.

Judy Helfand said...

I am so glad you enjoyed reading this post. It is amazing all the details that make up our lives. The TIME magazine was an ad for Indian Head Bank. It had to do with Home Equity Lines of Credit and they actually photographed my customers and interviewed them. Very fun. I still have a copy of the ad. The Bank framed it for me.
The TODAY Show is fun. Of course, you need to get there early - try to pick a non-winter day so you don't freeze!
I hope you will become a regular reader.

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