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Dancy Terrace or Redell Street between 9th and 10th, Main and Hubbard Streets, Springfield, Jacksonville, Florida

J a c k    &     J u d y

Jack & Judy

My Mother told us stories as children. From the time we were really small. She told the same stories to her students at school, first at Mattie V. Rutherford in Springfield and later at Ruth N. Upson in Murray Hill. She called these stories "Jack & Judy Stories".

These stories were about the adventures of two young children, sisters, very close to each other in age, very different from each other in personality, as they grew up in Springfield briefly at a big yellow house on Sixth Street and for the most part at a place called Dancy Terrace (Redell Street). These stories were also about trips the family would take to Waldo, Florida in Alachua County and to their Grandparents farm just south of Waldo.

Because my Mother felt she wanted to have a little girl and boy in her stories, she named her younger sister, Barbara Mae Thomas, "Jack". After all, Barbara was a tomboy. Judy was the name she gave herself, Joan Thomas, notsomuch of a tomboy.

Barbara/Jack was born to dance and did so from the time she could walk. Joan/Judy "sang like a little bird", or so the DancyT neighbor said. And, of course, Joan loved to tell stories. She also loved to play the piano and played it well.

Jack/Barbara Mae and Judy/Joan eventually grew up and became teachers: Barbara moving north to NYC became a Professor of the Performing Arts at Jersey City State Teachers' College; Joan, teaching 4th Grade at Mattie V. Rutherford (MattieV) and then for a long time after at Ruth N. Upson. And Joan had children.

The years passed and through them my Mother never took us, my brothers or myself, back to Springfield to see DancyT or any of the other places in her stories. Perhaps it was because by that time Springfield had become what was considered to be a dangerous and delapidated place. It was also a very sad place for those like my Mother who had know the neighborhood during better times. And so it was only in the fall of 2003, when I returned home following my Father's death, that a wonderful lady named Joan Moore drove my Mother and me back to Springfield.

I knew the minute we pulled up on 9th Street beside DancyT that something very special was about to happen. DancyT was not like my Mother remembered when Jack and Judy had played there and she was sad. But I saw through that in a minute because I had been to Seattle.

In Seattle Washington in summer 2001 I had discovered the Belltown cottages, the 3 remaining of the original 16 bungalows which had formed a bungalow court or terrace housing unit beginning in 1916, about the same time DancyT was built. I photographed these little houses extensively before they were recently rennovated by the preservationists who saved them. I didn't understand why they were so important to me .... until I saw DancyT for the first time. Strange how the mind works. It can send you halfway across the continent to show you the way home. After all, Seattle is called the "Emerald City".

I want to tell the Jack & Judy Stories, the stories of my Mother and her family as they grew up during the depression years in Springfield. My Mother has said she will help me and I hope she will.

. . . c o n t i n u i n g . . .

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