We’ve lost too many good friends this year and one was Judy Revis.
In 1967 a few months after I met my husband Danny, we drove from New York to Boston to spend New Year’s Eve with Danny’s college roommate Kenny and his wife Judy. I liked them immediately, but over the following many years, geography kept us apart. Although Kenny and Danny spoke often and had their Brandeis friendship to build on, Judy and I saw each too seldom to form a really close bond.
But Judy’s very special grace was evident each time we were together. I remember once when we were visiting she baked a delicious batch of chocolate chip cookies. Speaking to her on the phone a short time later, I asked for the recipe. “I’ll send it to you.”, she said.
A week later a package arrived from Amazon with a copy of Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, and a note that read “See page 711 for the cookie recipe!”
Then in 2009 something wonderful happened – the Revis’ called to tell us they had bid on an apartment near Lincoln Center and planned to spend many weeks a year in New York. Would we write a character reference for the coop board?
Of course we wrote a glowing letter, although we perjured ourselves a bit by the sin of omission. What did we omit? We didn’t tell that New York coop board that Kenny was an insufferable Red Sox fan.
So thanks of course to our great letter, they got the apartment. Happily during their Manhattan years we saw them whenever they were in town, and Judy and I finally had a chance to become real friends. Over a private joke we shared, we started calling each other Ducky.
When after a few years they decided to spend more time in San Francisco, they had to work up their nerve over dinner to tell us they were giving up the West 66th Street apartment. They knew we’d be mad, and we sure were.
But thinking about Judy and her special grace, I remember something that happened many years ago when Danny and I went to Boston for the Bar Mitzvah of our friend Joel’s son Jonah. We stayed with the Revis’, and in fact it might have been that weekend when we got in bed to find their dog had hidden his big scratchy rawhide bone between the sheets!
On Saturday morning we went to the synogogue and I sat next to Judy. I was watching Jonah on the bimah, and as the service grew to a close I heard the familiar words of Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead. My mother had died a few months before, and hearing Kaddish I started to cry. With my eyes closed, I was trying to hold back my tears and muffle my sobs, when I suddenly felt Judy’s arms around me.
“I’m holding you,” she whispered, “ go ahead and cry.” How did Judy know in the moment just what I needed?
When Judy became very ill, I started sending her pictures of ducks and gave them funny names to make her laugh. She especially liked the one with the little bandanas I called the Willie Nelson Ducks.
My dear Ducky friend, rest in peace. May your memory be a blessing.
Dana Susan Lehrman