Letter To My Younger Self by Judy Katz-Levine

Letter To My Younger Self

I did not expect this much of a deepening. Remembered myself, you, me,
as a girl with athletic agility, feet double-stepping as dad tossed
balls across the lawn, grounders he called “pepper”. Later on he told me
everyone is unique – not only the famous. I had a health problem – and
my mother saved my life – taking me to the children’s hospital in
Philadelphia – remember that. And swimming at the Jersey shore, waves
cresting and my mother’s face glistening and tan. The long talks with
her echoed in my dialogues now with my son. Playing tennis with mom –
she always won! What energy. Hard to keep up with her. The two brothers
teasing each other – tossing the tennis balls to the younger brother,
teaching him. Then he’d become a pro. Driving the older into NYC to
music school – so he could learn to write Broadway musicals. And my
God did he. And the lessons with the flute teacher – how she told me to
sing. I did not expect to marry. I married a man with an inventor’s
mind, a mind with my grandfather’s gift for invention. Did not expect
to give birth. Have a son. And each loss, the loss of my dad, my
mother, the loss of my grandfather when I was 4, after seeing the
merging oneness of forsythia, left me as a deepening well. The laps of
breast stroke, Australian crawl, I swim at the lake, mirror of the
water, show you, my young self, lost at a pool, found by my aunt; people
have been good to me. You. Found myself in written texts/poems,
improvisational jazz, meditation. Strong enough now, to integrate an
accumulation of waves of losses, or peaks created by writing the poems,
blowing flute at the jam sessions, the little gigs, the big ones,
binding with the loved faces, deep enough to be there for my friends in
this life who are still riding waves. For myself. I’m still doing the
footwork in the dunes. Want you to know.

Judy Katz-Levine

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