It is easy to remember that our experiences and stories affect people that we interact with every day. It’s harder to grasp how experiences ripple through generations and affect those who will come after us. That’s an idea we explore this episode with Judy Cook.
Judy’s mother left her an incredible gift – eight notebooks filled with stories from her life. These were not journals written day-to-day over a lifetime but reflections written by an eighty-year-old woman looking backward to find the moments that meant something, that stood out, that always stayed with her, and that likely helped to define who she was. Judy’s mother was an incredible person with the soul of an artist. Her stories manage to capture the emotion and perspective of the moment with the wisdom she had at the time of writing. Each one is fascinating. In this episode, we talk mostly about her childhood and adolescence which were both impacted by the Great Depression.
Judy, like her mom, is an artist. I met her at an artist’s coop after she unveiled a textile piece inspired by one of her mother’s stories. As she read her mother’s words out loud, I was moved by the beauty of the story, the piece, and of the connection Judy had with her mother’s childhood. I am incredibly grateful to Judy for sharing her time and family history with me. I’ll never forget the image of her mother swimming on her back with pancake mix, of Haggador, or the doomsday prophesy that, luckily, didn’t come true.
If you are interested in seeing more of Judy’s art (and you should), you can find her homepage here.