The Space Between

Me and Jude

“We met on the first day of Grade 3. My parents brought me to my new school, having just moved to Calgary from London, Ontario. I don’t remember much about that day except it was a big auditorium, or felt that way to an 8 yr old, and swarmimg with kids. Lots and lots of kids. I was glad my dad was there to take charge of things, something he seemed pretty good at. It was dad who spotted Judith, a wee sprite of a thing, sitting on a bench all alone. Who knew it was about to become a lifelong friendship.Ali&Jude

“We had just moved to a new neighborhood in Calgary. My mom had gone back to work and my father was looking for work, so I was sent across the field to register myself at the new school on the first day of grade 3. It seemed pretty scary, but I went to the “A’s to E’s” line and got the form I was supposed to fill out. I sat down on a bench and tried to fill it out. I was stumped by the spelling of my father’s middle name, Hayes, and spelled it “Haze”.  No doubt they figured we were Jimi Hendrix fans. After I handed in the form, I was told to wait again on the bench.  I sat watching people and noticed Merrill and Joyce Wattie. Both were wearing suits, unlike the other moms (there were no other dads). I assumed they were teachers.  At one point they kissed and I decided they were probably not teachers. Merrill sat beside me on the bench and asked me my name. I told him I was Judith. He asked me what grade I was going into and I said “grade 3”. He introduced me to the little girl sitting on his right as his daughter Alison, who was also going into grade 3. He directed me to shake her hand and be friends. I had to reach around his belly, to do so.  As soon as I grasped Alison’s hand, I felt safe.”

In October 2012, I drove 6,800 kms with my artist husband, Ric Kokotovich (, and my dog Iggy, to spend 6 months in our adopted city of Merida. Leaving the fast paced world of Calgary behind, I packed my books, art and entrepreneurial spirit, and set off to explore what lay beyond the borders that had become my life. In October 2013 we hit the road south again, hoping to find out what ‘living the dream’ really means. This is my adventure.

2 comments on “Me and Jude

  1. Got a case of the Grandpa eye you two, i.e. a bit teary! Can just see you two there reaching around Dads belly! Laughed over the suits and kissing Jude!

  2. Jude doesn’t know I published her ‘take’ on 1st day of grade 3…but I’m sure she’ll approve 🙂

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