The Essence of Jim and Judie


Talkative ~ Spontaneous ~ Organized ~ Humorous ~ Optimistic ~ Adventurous


Sensitive ~ Precise ~ Enthusiastic ~ Adventuresome ~ Happy ~ Nice

Very few people have made as much impact on my life as these two people.  They have been like having a big brother and a big sister simultaneously.  These friends are my guides, trusted confidantes, and a great sounding board.  Whenever I needed to bounce ideas, Jim and Judie would be one of the first couples I would go to as a sounding board.

I met Jim at our mutual workplace, Sears, in Square One in the early eighties. He was the newest commissioned sales rep in the Appliance department.  I was in the carpet department sales.  Before long, he had become part of this incredible collective of salespeople. We came from various backgrounds. Despite all our differences, we had the most amazingly cohesive and fun bunch of colleagues I have ever met. To this day, I have kept in touch with many of them, some four decades later.

We created a social club that planned various activities, game nights, fishing trips, and social outings. The trips became more and more ambitious.  What started as day trips became weekend fishing trips.  Eventually, we hatched an excellent idea for the mother of all trips. We would go on a sailing trip of a lifetime. We formed a group of seven people who saved coffee money, pooled it, accumulated enough money to fly down to the British Virgin Islands, and chartered a 52’ Beneteau to sail it for seven days. The story is on this blog site as well –


We visited them in Florida twice and even spent time with them in Newfoundland. The Newfoundland Blog was also worthy of a blog entry:

To give you an idea of how much I trust Jim, He was one of the guys who hoisted me 60’ up the mast for me to get a picture from the top of the mast. Meet Jim and Judie as they collectively answered my “Essence questions.”

First, many thanks for including us in your legacy. You made us think, and we have had lots of good conversations trying to answer your four questions, so here goes. We have responded to some questions separately and some together.




The Florida Visits

When looking back at your life, what forks in the road did you come across and which one made a huge difference in your life?

Three big moments changed the course of my life—meeting Jim. We lost our daughter-in-law to cancer and moved to Toronto from Ottawa. They all changed me as a person but being transferred to Toronto into a new corporate job, taking a chance that Jim could transfer as well, and having our three boys finish school elsewhere for a few months was both exciting and challenging. It changed the trajectory of our lives and opened up a new chapter of adventure in the big city.  We made new friends, relocating our boat to the Thousand Islands, and within the first year, we became empty nesters. 

Jim also had more than one fork in the road (that’s what happens when you have many years to choose from), but meeting ME was his most significant turning point. He was lucky to have been at the same bar at Carlingwood Shopping Center with friends from Sears. That was the start of 47 years so far together. (Editorial Comment – I second that).  The others were some of Judie’s forks in her road as well.



The Newfoundland Trip


What has been the biggest challenge in your life?

Our biggest challenge was putting two families together: my two boys and Jim’s son. I am unsure I ever overcame the challenge, but Jim’s steady hand was a bonus.  Jim decided to share a home and blend our families, a massive leap of faith.   Investing my efforts, trust and love, hoping for a great future. I overcame the challenges with effort, passion, consistency and sometimes discipline, which are still discussed today among the boys as they raise their families.

What nugget would you like to share with others?

JUDIE ~ Relationships evolve and change. Please be there for each stage.

JIM ~ don’t be an asshole… don’t whine, don’t drink too much, and don’t smoke.  As you get older, it helps to have a sense of humour rather than no sense at all.

A few added bits and pieces. Naguib, your analysis that life is like a string and where we are on it has stuck with me. THE VALUE OF TIME

Jim, I bought two houses sight unseen. One was in Florida, where we spent 14 years, and one was in Newfoundland, where we spent five glorious summers. Our house took us 5 minutes to decide what we wanted. One of our greatest strengths is constantly discussing the what, why, what if, etc. 

My other big thing is that we are involved and cross-trained in almost all aspects of daily living. Finances, housekeeping, cooking, and when I figure out the proper names of all the screwdrivers, I will be nearly as good as Jim at fixing things.

Before we retired, we always joked about renting our fully furnished townhouse, living on our boat, and travelling in winter. The opportunity presented itself, and we did it for five years. It helped us downsize.  Downsizing and living with less ” stuff” has been a key to our lifestyle.

We still do a lot of camping and music festivals in our 50-year-old, 13 ft Boler trailer. Even with Jim on oxygen, we manage well.

The famous “Big Ticket Cruisers”

The Sears staff sailing trip. Saving coffee money for one and a half years to charter a 52′ Beneteau to sail around the British Virgin Islands.  This trip would have never happened without Jim agreeing to be a first mate.

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