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1958. The time of greasers and lettermen jackets. The time a bottle of Coke was a nickel. It’s a tale as old as time—a pretty girl, popular, of course, and an invisible boy. Usually these stories end in high school. Each person goes on, never to cross paths again. But this isn’t like other stories.
Wally—an ex-greaser and Harley Davidson fanatic—was that invisible boy.
“Oh, I never looked twice at him,” Judy Dietz, 73, says through a giggle.
In high school, he had a crush on Judy, the popular girl, but they had inevitably gone on to separate lives. It wasn’t until their 50th high school reunion, when Wally started talking to Judy about his red Corvette, that she really saw him for the first time.
They got to talking. Both were recently widowed. Both were on a mission to find fun in their lives.
It only took them three months. Then they walked down the aisle. After that, Judy transformed. She traded her penny loafers in for cowboy boots and practically glued a leather jacket to her back. They were the definition of “cool grandparents.”
“We always went to these fancy parties. One time, when we were walking back to the hotel room around two in the morning, we passed the pool,” Wally said, “…and I just gave her a little bump in. It was on purpose, and she came up with the look of the devil on her face. But then we both just started laughing.”
That’s what they did. They laughed.
Then, right after their third anniversary, Judy was diagnosed with breast cancer. But Wally stayed by her side—the chemo, the surgeries, everything. It went into remission. And they kept living their fairy tale. The days were filled with golf, lounging, and most importantly, their cocktail hour.
Years passed…but their reality was shattered when Judy was diagnosed again with cancer…and this time, the outlook wasn’t as hopeful. This type of cancer destroyed bones, usually resulting in immobility. The calcium build-up in the brain (caused by the disintegrated bones) mirrored dementia.
How long? That was the question running through both of their minds.
Judy lived the last years of her life to the fullest. She barreled through the pain…as an unrelenting force. Even when it became too immense, her humor prevailed. She would still stick her tongue out at Wally as he tried to give her the never ending stream of pills (which she never liked).
“We’ve had our good times, and we’re still having them,” Wally says.
Judy became unable to walk and soon after incomprehensible in a matter of weeks, after fighting the new cancer courageously for years.
“I wouldn’t trade my time with her for anything in the world.”