Catching up with a fast runner

BY JIM MCDIARMID

Judy North was the fastest runner in our third grade class at North School. The second fastest was me. Never could I outrun that girl. She was an excellent athlete. She strengthened her innate competitive nature keeping up with an older brother.

I recently caught up with Judy: At the 60th SLHS 1957 class reunion in September. Twenty-four of us were in the reunion photo. It was a delight to take Judy to lunch between reunion events at King’s Pointe. She was witty and good-natured. Her married name is Ogren. She and her late husband had a very satisfactory marriage. He too was a fine athlete, in another Iowa town. She lost him to cancer a few years ago.

Our elementary school is gone. It is coincidental that Judy went to North School. Also coincidentally her grandfather North was part of the crew that built North School.

We lived in a Geneseo Street neighborhood near the school. There was an all-summer softball game in the street in front of Judy’s home. Our ball was worn out. It was soft as grandmother’s powder puff. Babe Ruth couldn’t have driven that ball.

I asked Judy what she thinks of the advances in women’s athletics made since we were kids. She thinks the progress is admirable. “But I wish we had more chances to compete when we were young.” During our reunion festivities a classmate told me “Mac, we aren’t getting older; we are old.”

Judy reminded me that my dad flooded our back yard so we could ice skate in the winter. One time the neighborhood bully stuck Judy’s hands in the snow and got them so cold she went home crying. Her older brother asked her if she was going to let the bully get away with that? She quit crying, got her hands warmed up and went to the bad kid’s house. She knocked on the door and told the miscreant to come outside. He did. She wrestled him to the ground, pushed his ear into the snow until he cried, then she went home. Judy was tough. I asked who she voted for in the election. Trump, she said.

That astonished me. I asked why? “I thought Bill would tell Hillary what to do,” Judy said. I told Judy my vote was for Hillary. Judy wishes President Trump would quit Tweeting. We agreed that we would both have been happier to have voted for Warren Buffet. Judy lives in Omaha and is conversant about the stock market. Her grown children live nearby.

I told Judy I’m a big fan of Barack Obama. She told me she liked him a lot, voted for him and was quite satisfied with his administration.

My lunch with Judy was more than I hoped for. We had good weather for our reunion. I don’t like being old, but it does provide perspective on how lucky people are to grow up in Storm Lake.

Jim lives in N.C.