About 6 months ago Dale got a phone call from the President of the Anne Kenneally Hynes Memorial Scholarship Committee, a local charity which raises money for scholarships. One of the ways they raise money is by holding a Legends and Legacies Gala each year and at this gala they honor two individuals or (sometimes) families, someone with roots in our community who has done great things to make our town a better place. Also, ideally, someone who will have lots of friends and family that will buy tickets and go to the event, thus helping to raise funds! You see where this is going, right? The committee chose our family to be honored this year! And, because our family is big and has done lots of things, the committee specifically wanted to focus on Dale and his brother Randy.
The committee did a lot of planning and work for this event over the last several months and Friday night was the gala itself and it was a truly special evening. Our table of 10 included Dale and I, Randy and Mary, Dale’s brother Barry and his wife Jen, JACK, Hannah, and Jessica. Yep, we got Jack out on a day pass to attend and it was wonderful to have him there and see him looking so healthy and well.
After the dinner there were speeches and I was selected to give the speech on behalf of my family. It was an honor to do so and, even though I put a lot of work into getting it just right, it was pretty easy to talk about these people because I am so proud of the things they do. I’m including it here for you all – it’s not too long and I think it will show you just how awesome my family is.
I’m so honored to stand before you tonight and speak on behalf of the Julius family. You know, I’ve only been a Julius for 20 years and I’m certainly no expert. I am, however, the only one without a fear of public speaking apparently. And so, here I am, a Julius by marriage poised to tell you about this incredibly special family.
We all know that the focus of the committee with regards to this honor is on Dale and Randy. And I think that’s great as they are two of the finest men I know. They’ve done some remarkable things with their lives, including 45 years together in the legendary Dale and the Duds, as well as their own personal accomplishments. Randy is a very talented writer and artist. He has won the state duck stamp competition on many occasions and he’s been President of the New England Outdoor Writers several times. Dale was a Boy Scout leader for over 45 years, he runs an extremely successful Civil War Roundtable every month, and he’s currently the President Elect of the Kiwanis Club of East Bridgewater. And those are just a few of the many things Randy and Dale have done. But, here’s the thing. They didn’t get to where they are on their own. They got that way because of their incredible parents, Jack and Ruthie.
If you’ll indulge me for a moment I’d like to tell you a little bit about them. They met in Avon in 1944 and, from the moment that Jack Julius laid eyes on Ruthie Emery he was smitten. After a whirlwind courtship, they married and moved to Roswell, New Mexico where Jack served in the Army Air Corps. When Jack’s service was complete they returned to this area, and ultimately settled in East Bridgewater in 1953. By then they had 3 sons, Randy, Glen and Dale. A few years later they had their only daughter Lisa and then in 1969 their family became complete with the arrival of Barry. Jack and Ruth were completely devoted to each other and by extension, to their children. They gave them the freedom to pursue their interests – baseball, music, hunting, art, basketball, scouting and more – and by extension supported those interests themselves. When Glen wanted to join Boy Scouts, Jack became a scout leader. When Randy and Dale decided to form a band, Jack let them practice at his garage and he and Ruthie went to every performance they could over the years. When Lisa got involved in sports, Jack and Ruth became strong advocates for equality in girls’ sports. And when Barry came along and gave them a chance to raise a child all over again they embraced that opportunity with joy.
There have been some bad things that have happened in our world in recent years and there is a quote from Mr. Rogers that I have seen time and time again. He said: When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” When I consider the Julius family I feel like they are a perfect living example of this quote. They are a family of helpers. Whether it’s teaching a young boy to tie a knot or shoot a bow or serving our country in the military, whether it’s bringing joy to a bride and groom on their wedding day through music or caring for someone physically through nursing or emotionally through artwork, this is a group of people who help others. They share their gifts. They watch out for their neighbors. They volunteer in their communities. They pitch in and reach out and give back. And they do all of these things because they saw their parents do these things. Randy and Dale and their siblings learned to be good and kind and helpful by watching the things Jack and Ruth did. They didn’t read about how to be a good volunteer in a book, they didn’t get lectured about being kind to others; the examples were subtle but constant and showed a continuous commitment to serving others with the ultimate goal being to make the world a better place.
And they did. Jack and Ruth made the world a better place by raising 5 children who contribute daily to the good things that happen. These are people who work hard and have a grand time doing it. They volunteer, they paint and sing and play music and spend time outdoors, and they have families of their own who are continuing the good Julius name. Jack and Ruth have 11 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren, and two of those great grandchildren are namesakes. The youngest one is named Jackie and he will be one month old tomorrow. What’s more of a legend, what’s more of a legacy, than that? I can’t think of a thing except for maybe hoping that someday there will be a great granddaughter named Ruthie.
Thanks for your attention while I praised my family a bit. If you’re lucky enough to be born into or marry into a good family then you wind up surrounded by people who love you and always see you in the best way, the way you want to be seen. That’s the way I see my family – The Julius Family. It sure is nice to know that other people see them that way, too.