My high school is planning a 50th anniversary of the school later this year. A nice lady from my high school alma mater wrote and asked me if I would be interested in being the “Class Agent” for my graduating class. In describing my responsibilities, she noted that I would be “friend-raising” instead of fundraising.
I’m not so good at asking folks for money, so I was relieved and happy to help my school.
The first thing I had to do was find some of my “lost classmates.” They weren’t really lost; I think they were just hiding. Out the 47 members of the Class of ’81, I needed to find about 7 of my classmates.
I found the contact information for 6 of the 7 within a few days and forwarded the information to the school. That meant I only needed to find one more person that graduated with me – “Judy.”
Judy wasn’t going to be easy to find. She was a foreign exchange student from Australia. I was sure she wouldn’t be able to come back to the school’s 50th birthday celebration, but I still wanted to fulfill my duties as the “Class Agent.”
I like a challenge.
Judy was from Australia, but I didn’t remember the city or anything else that would have helped. I had no idea where she went to college, only that she went back to Australia when the school year was over.
She was a member of our high school’s surf team. I should note here that our high school in north Alabama was almost 300 miles from the nearest beach. So the “surf team” didn’t really exist. We never competed against anyone or surfed (except for her when she was back in Australia). We just declared ourselves the "surf team" and wore Hawaiian shirts on special occasions.
However, we did receive recognition at the athletic banquet our senior year of high school. The football coach gave us each the “Silver Spoon Award.” We put him up to it, he always had a sense of humor and the spoons/awards were readily available on the tables.
Judy was fun, very kind and had a good sense of humor. Knowing this still didn’t help me find her.
The internet wasn’t as helpful as I hoped it would be, but I did find a reference to a “Reverend Judy” in a church bulletin in Australia. She had the correct first and last name, but I just knew that it couldn’t be “our Judy.”
It had been over 30 years, but she just didn’t seem like the “Reverend type.” I shouldn’t say things like that, but you know what I mean. Maybe a school teacher or a doctor or a marketing person, but I didn’t think that Judy would be a preacher.
After figuring out how to look at other church bulletins and newsletters from this Anglican church in Australia, I found a picture that caught my eye. It was Judy, our Judy, dressed up like a Reverend, just as pretty as you please.
Ok, Judy was a minister, but I still hadn’t “found” her. I fired off a letter to the church who published the bulletins. At the time, it was about 4 in the morning at the church’s location in Australia. Within an hour, I had a response back from a nice man (I assume another Reverend) named “Ian.”
Ian assured me that he would forward my message to Judy in Africa. I didn’t bother to ask Ian what he was doing up so early in the morning. Australians do things quite opposite than we do. It has something to do with their seasons being mixed up.
Our mild mannered surf team member, Judy, was doing mission work in Tanzania, Africa. She was teaching English, teaching women to sew and just helping folks in general. It now made a lot of sense to me. She liked helping people. She was very unselfish.
I’m sure she is wonderful at what she does.
Now, after corresponding with Judy a few times, I understood why I needed to “find” her. I understood why we all need to find the “Judies” in our high school graduating classes.
The Judies of the world help us put things into perspective.
Here I am worrying about things that seem pretty trivial, while Judy is in Tanzania helping folks learn to do things to survive and get a little more out of life.
While I complain about a storm door that doesn’t close quite perfectly, Judy revels in the fly screen on her small house and mosquito netting on her bed posts.
While I complain about the children taking marathon showers using all the hot water, Judy lets water stay in a black bucket under the sun all day in order to scoop out warm water for an evening shower.
While I complain about the cost of gas and insuring too many vehicles, Judy has been asked to provide a motorcycle for a nun who walks an hour each way back and forth to teach school every day.
I’m glad I found Judy.
It was something I was supposed to do.
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