151. Today’s Birthday Babies

Today is the birthday of two winsome members of my family.




My daughter Judy Taylor is (gasp) 50 years old today.  My niece-in-law Denise Fitzpatrick is trailing behind at 46 years.

Judy is my youngest child – the baby  – the last of the litter.  Fifty years ago today it was.  Every single one of my children is now a member of AARP. While I am assimilating this hot flash of realization, I think we’d better talk about Denise.

There are those in this family who may believe that my nephew Tim was instrumental in discovering and winning his future wife, Denise, but he wasn’t.  Denise was chosen.  By my sister Joan and me.  We are still congratulating ourselves.

We knew full well that we couldn’t trust Tim to make such a monumental life choice all by himself.  Thanks to our many prayers, novenas, and rosaries, the Perfect Woman showed up, and Joan and I should get full credit for it.  Tim has never actually thanked us for it, and I don’t want him to because I can’t stand to see a grown man down on his knees sobbing with gratitude. It’s embarrassing.

Tim has made big plans for the day.  Both he and Denise are taking the day off.  First, they’ll plow through the snow to visit a winery.  Then on to a boat show.  They’ll have dinner at a steak house in Iowa City.  He forgot to invite Joan and me but we’ll probably show up as a nice surprise.

The following Denise bio was released by a WikiLeaks spy who wishes to remain anonymous.

Denise was born and raised in Benton County, Iowa. She is one hundred percent full blooded Bohemie.   However, you can see from the picture that she has adopted the Irish as her married family.

Her parents raised hogs all their lives in Benton County.  Denise is a former Benton County Pork Princess.  She still to this day has the pork suede sash and tiara.  She competed at the county level and just missed going to the Iowa State Fair to represent her county.

She also was a member of 4H.  Her mom gave me a box that she had kept in storage.  When Tim brought it home, he was shocked to see not only the sash and tiara but stacks and stacks of yellow, red and mostly blue ribbons from her 4H projects that she had won at the county and state fairs.  The ribbons were for cooking, animal care, home economics and sewing.  Obviously these skills all transferred over into her adult life.  Take for instance sewing.

This picture is a little number she whipped up for a homemade bikini contest at a fund raiser for the North Liberty Volunteer Fire Department.  The effort was good for second place.  it was made entirely of coffee filters and staples.

Later that day she proved her Iowa farm girl toughness taming a bull.

Not only did she learn sewing and animal care but Denise learned and to this day has kept her flair for cooking, baking and entertaining.  Every month, and during the holidays as many as 10 times per month, Denise plays hostess to as many as 60 guests in their home or on the boat.

Halloween Parties.







Girls day out on the lake party.



Beach parties.





Kentucky Derby Parties.




2009 Christmas parade.





Not-sure-what-you’re-smoking-but-bring-it-over-here parties. Denise loves to entertain and she always makes sure her friends (even the conservative Republicans on the right) are having a great time.

Denise only has one child-  Jack – a very lovable and intelligent dog.  It only took Jack one glance to steal her heart and, testament to his intelligence, two weeks to properly train Denise.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DENISE !  All your mother-in-law Joan and I ask is that you remain perfect in every way.

Now to talk about my extraordinary baby daughter, Judy who, without asking my permission,  had the audacity to turn 50 years old today.

Of all seven of my children, Judy was the one subjected to the most abuse.  This was partly due to my friend Aline, and to my impairment behind the wheel of a car.

Many blobs ago, I told you how Aline, Judy and I would show up at the Pike Place Market every week to do our grocery shopping.  https://goingon80.wordpress.com/2010/09/23/secret-of-life-18-traffic-jam/

In those days, before the tourists discovered it – the Market was where you went to get groceries – in bulk, sometimes slightly bruised, stale, dented, expired, but always CHEAP.

As I explained, our primary challenge was getting there and back.  Aline couldn’t drive and neither could I, but since I at least had a driver’s license and a car, I served as the designated driver.  Because of this necessary impairment, our little trio was to become very well-known to the Seattle Police Department.

Judy had to come along on all these ventures because (1) she was the only child not yet in school, and (2) because she had to serve as our passenger decoy.  More about that later.

She wasn’t subjected to child abuse every single minute.  Sometimes, Judy actually enjoyed our little outings.

Little Judy was always a big hit with the fruit and vegetable vendors and the meat market butchers.  She was such a frequent shopper that they knew her well and always gave her treats like ripe fruit – usually bananas –  or bologna.  But we weren’t there for fun and games.  We had shopping to do!

When we were done, it sometimes took two or three trips to haul our loot up the hill to the car.  Then we would prepare for the trip home.

The times we got stopped by the police were nearly always when we were leaving, not arriving at the Market.  Having to UNPARK the car was difficult.

There are perpendicular hills leading to the Pike Place Market.  There was the hill,  the car so full of groceries we couldn’t see out the back window, and of course, the CLUTCH.  I would put the shift in second gear and then gun the motor hard so we could get up over the crest of the hill without rolling backwards.  But then sometimes the car would get over the top of the hill but wouldn’t stop and would go through the red light.

It was on such occasions that we needed Judy, our passenger decoy in the back seat.

This is how she operated.  Whatever the policeman was upset about this time, he’d get off his motorcycle and plow his way over to us with his ticket book in hand. First he’d glare at Aline and me and then he’d turn to stare into the back of the car.  There, sitting on a 50 lb. bag of non-fat dry milk, or a case of No. 10 cans of applesauce, would be a small blue-eyed toddler, blonde ringlets a-tremble, clutching a banana, and gazing in absolute petrified terror at the big scary policeman who was going to shoot her.

Aline and I in the front seat would sit in hushed anticipation waiting for the inevitable meltdown and the magic words “Well, this time it’s just a warning, but the next time . . .”

After we finished our conversation with the nice policeman, we would drive away as carefully as possible and go straight to the Red Mill across the street from St. Joseph’s Church.  There, Aline and I would have a Pall Mall and coffee, and Judy would finish her banana.  Then we’d all have hash browns and eggs to celebrate having lived through yet another successful adventure at the Pike Place Market.

As small as she was, the tiny tot in the back of the car surely must have realized the theatrical effect she could have on her audiences of police officers.  It should come as no surprise, that one of her many careers included about ten years as a professional actress.  Here’s a few clips from one of her shows back in the 1980s.

Judy’s other careers include being the wife of Gary Taylor, mother of Arden and Colleen, a sheep and goat farmer, an Irish dancer, a theatrical director and costumer, a fiber artist, and the author of  many magazine articles and a sold-out book on Nantucket rug hooking.  She’s currently working on a book about her brother Mark, and wondrous other projects yet to be revealed till the next juried arts and crafts shows.

Judy is a woman for all seasons.  Talented, resilient, hard-working, creative, and exceedingly dear to my heart.

Happy birthday, my youngest child.  Thank you for what you’ve brought to my life.

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10 Responses to 151. Today’s Birthday Babies

  1. A relative says:

    Happy Birthday Denise and Judy,
    I enjoyed reading about you this morning. You are both very beautiful and talented in so many ways. Enjoy the day!

  2. Anonymous WikiLeaks Spy says:

    I think you meant to say “Denise plays hostess to as many as 60 guests in (HER or THEIR) home or on the boat.”

  3. Chris says:

    Hey, Judy and Denise! IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY! Live it up!

  4. Linda Lewis says:

    Loved those clips of Judy acting! It took me a minute to realize Judy was the puppet (she was no dummy). What fun and so talented.
    In the summer when my friends came over, my mom would help us make up skits. She said we’d need an audience and had to charge admission. We’d go to our neighbors on the block with a flier that said, “You are invited to come to a play at 3 pm. Admission: One button.” I think one kid actually took a button from his shirt. We never had more than 5 or 6 in the audience, but we had great fun, especially getting cookies and milk afterwards. Those were the summer days when mom’s actually watched the kids.
    Happy Birthday Judy and Denise! Party time.

  5. Christine Ford says:

    Happy Birthday, Judy! I have a best friend whose birthday is today and she would be 70 years old! How interesting is that ages of you, me, and my friend is 50 – 60 – 70! Cheers to us!

  6. Joan Fitzpatrick says:

    I noticed that , HER or THEIR, home right away. Anonymous ?

  7. Gretchen Covey says:

    Happy Birthday Denise and Judy!

    What glorious testaments to your lovely lives.

    Mom, thanks for the love, time(hours) and care you put into these birthday messages.

    I LOVED watching Judy’s clips from the Bathhouse Theater. Those were great times. The actors at the Theater were phenomenal! Judy, you are talented and gifted in so many ways. Most importantly you have a heart of gold. I love you!

  8. Rene' Melchior says:

    Happy bday to Judy and my newest sister Denise. Love you both. Denise, you always show me a wild and crazy time when we are together, and I love it!

  9. Joan Fitzpatrick says:

    Some time I wish everyone could see Judy’s video on rub hooking. It is impressive.

    Happy Birthday to Denise and Judy. Oh !! to be that young again.

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