I met Judy Marusick on ICQ, more then 10 years ago, I believe it was in early 1999 that we started to chat and it was difficult for me to believe I was talking to someone as old as my own mother with so much candor, frankness, honesty and even a lot of nonsense most people my age would talk not with their mothers but with people their own age or younger.
Judy Marusick was a wonderment in her own right. She was old in body but with the life and mind or someone half her age. She even still had that naughty twinkle in her eyes. The twinkling eyes I would never forget when she came to see me in Malaysia in the year 2001. You know it is a funny thing that even back then at the age of 58, she was walking with a walking stick back then, as at times she had difficulty walking due to arthritis and knee problems but Judy was a person that when you met her, you looked at her face and nothing else. She might as well have had no body at all just her face was enough, because you would be enchanted by her look and the way she expressed herself, her wicked laugh and her naughty eyes… Naughty Eyes that took away her age by decades! That is how I will always remember Judy.
Judy loved food, she loved her recipes, she loved to cook, and she loved to eat and try stuff even if it was not really good for her health, Judy would try it. When Judy came to Malaysia I was so worried about her diet and what she could and could not eat….. Judy ate everything and ate it with a lot of gusto and in true Foodie Style. She tasted, she commented and she thought of ways she could make the same stuff when she went back home.
Funny thing is I forgot that Judy and I went for a Northern Indian, and just the other day on the 28th of June to be precise I pulled out some recipes and found a shopping list for Judy which I made up for her after the class as she was going to try the recipes once she got back home. We learnt Shahi Raan which was a Smoked Leg of Lamb, Corn with Coconut and Coriander, A Mushroom Sauce, and a dessert called Sukhi Sevvian. All of which I must admit I forgot and never ever made it till I pulled out the recipes and saw List for Judy. It is so strange, because three days later, I lost a friend. A virtual friend who became a real friend.
I do remember though she did do the lamb dish because she did it as soon as she got back for her late husband Monte, who she told me grumbled but ate everything.
Now while Judy was someone who knew a lot of things, there was one thing I would never forget was how she did not know how to deal with Muslims. Not that she meant anything bad about it, but Monte warned her that if she came to Malaysia, the Muslims would take her away and make her cover her head. I remember when we walked through KLCC and she looked around at all our pretty Muslim girls with their headscarf on and suddenly exclaimed to me rather loudly, “ they’re really very pretty, and the scarves are very pretty as well”. She looked at them like a child who just learnt something new. It was a moment I would never forget because we were eating rather lousy Malaysian Delights at La Cucur!
And the Sunday before she left, and yes she made friends with the two local taxi drivers as well I might add. And she would talk about them like they were her new best friends. I teased her it was like a scene from Driving Miss Daisy, but this time it was Driving Miss Judy, because that’s what the taxi drivers called her….yes Miss Judy. And those few days she was here they drove Miss Judy and even me wherever we wanted. Such was her charm.
And finishing the Muslim fascination of Judy… the Sunday she was leaving, she had breakfast in the hotel, and I get this phone call and she was screaming and laughing her usual way, and you know what?, she was having breakfast “with three Muslims”, and she was so excited because as she said herself, “They are so nice”. She proceeded to take photos to show to Monte just to piss him off. Such was our hospitality that day that made this lady so excited.
The funny things about Judy is that it never occurred to me that she was older. As I said early I looked at her face and forgot to look below to see her walking stick and when we went around Kuala Lumpur, I would just walk at my usual speed, which does piss a lot of my friends off because I walk too fast, and Judy always kept up till one day, we were walking in these back lanes and she suddenly exclaimed, “Hey Nicholas, why do you walk so fast?” Then I looked at her and her walking stick and suddenly remembered. That thought me to always look at a person as a whole and do not forget. I am careful these days about this fact when I am with older people.
Now through the years Judy always had problems with her knees, and at times I know she was in so much of pain and yet when we were online she would just make you laugh or tell me happy things despite the face that she was suffering not only with herself but also with Monte when he got sick. She never once went on and on about her calamities. Never once!
She always sent me recipes, and the sad thing is I lost everything when my computer crashed. This I will regret for a long time. But Judy was not one to let you regret. She loved life and as she would say, “things happen, we’ll just have to deal with it”. Judy always knew I wanted more with my life, that is something even my own family never realized or chose not to know, and she always gave me hope and told me to follow the path I wanted and not let anyone stop me because then I would regret it. And you know what Judy… I live by that each day.
Despite our distance, she always sensed it when I was not happy, and over the years as I “grew up”, I believe it was people like Judy who helped me grow and prove myself worthy in what I am doing with my life today. She touched me in her own motherly way even though she was so so far away.
I feel so bad when I looked at my Facebook and saw her last video, and for some stupid reason I thought Judy was actually doing one of her dramas. Judy was famous for her hospital dramas, the one in the Lear Jet was the best ever. I will post those photos up if I find them. Alas that video on the 25th of June was her last Drama Moment. I never watched it because I was so busy and only did so yesterday. I so wish I clicked on it and took your phone number down Judy, because I would have surely called you.
On a lighter and happy note, I made friends with Judy’s daughter Joyce, so I hope this friendship will carry one till we leave this world and go and meet Judy.
You will be missed Judy. Over the years we may have talked less, but I never forgot you, your laughter, your wickedness, and most of all that twinkle in your eyes. You made me realize that you are never to old to do anything with your life, good bad or naughty!
In my heart, Judy could never ever leave us. She was going to live forever because of the way she was, but I guess in my immature mind I was wrong.
Good Bye Judy Marusick……..my friend, my fellow foodie and my benchmark for how I should be when I am older!
But having said all that, I know Judy would not be “wantin us to be weepin and a wailin”, because life goes on… She loved life, everyone was precious to her and that’s how I will be. I bet you she is up in heaven at the moment creating such a ruckus, God’s shakin his head!
Hugs Judy Marusick!