"Susie, did you feed my birds?"
"Yes, Judy. I've fed them everyday. And they are nice and comfortable. I put their cage right by your cat so they wouldn't get lonely."
"Mommie!" Judy Garland practically lept out of the hospital bed which had been her home for the last 12 days. "Is that true? Are my birds with my cat?"
"Oh, Judy, of course not. Your sister is just teasing you," said Mrs. Garland, casting an exasperated look at her oldest daughter. "Sue, will you stop teasing her.
Yesterday you told her you threw out all of her stuffed animals. I'm not going to put up with this when we're all home tomorrow!"
Susie Garland laughed. then leaned over the bed, enfolded her baby sister in her arms and covered her with kisses. Judy wriggled and giggled. "I'm sorry, Angel," Susie
laughed. "Your birds are safe in the den and the cat hasn't been in the house for days. And all your presents and cards are waiting on the dining room table. Boy, it
looks like Christmas in there... and all for you!"
Yes, it was all for little Judy Garland, MGM's brightest young star to come along in years. In the brief three years she has been with MGM Studios, Judy has shown herself
to be a true trouper in every sense of the word. The little girl with the giant voice, seen and heard in such movies as Broadway Melody and Everybody Sing
has proven herself to be more of a brave little scout than anyone could imagine.
As you may or may not know, little Judy was involved in a pretty serious car accident a few months back. She had finished working at the studio at about 3:30 PM and called
home to let them know she would soon be there. Now, this particular afternoon Judy was very anxious to get home. You see, Mrs. Garland had been in the hospital for two
days under some very minor circumstances and Judy hadn't seen her in those two whole days. The hospital does not allow children under age 18 into patient rooms, so
while Judy's sisters could visit mother, she had to be content with just talking on the phone with her. And talk she did! To be without Mama, for Judy, was like being
without air. Mrs. Garland and her youngest daughter are almost inseparable and Judy missed her so much. They talked on the phone almost every hour.
But Mrs. Garland was home now, and Judy couldn't wait to get there and throw her arms around her, so much so that instead of waiting for her sister Suzanne to drive to the
studio and pick her up, she simply asked for one of the studio cars to take her home. As the studio car approached Wilshire Blvd., another car, blinded by the setting sun,
went throudh a red light, hitting the MGM car broadside. It was a bad wreck and people came running to help. Judy was seen by several people, but when they searched for
her again, after the police and ambulances arrived, she was gone. They found her within a frantic few minutes later at the candy store nearby. She was in a phone booth,
calling home. "Mama, our car broke down so I'll be a little late. Don't worry now." It wasn't a lie, really, she just didn't want to worry Mother. Two policemen and two
ambulance attendants rushed over just as Judy opened the door of the phone booth - and then fainted to the floor.
Judy was soon in the hospital with a team of doctors over her. A police car had gone to the Garland home and Mrs. Garland and Susie were at the hospital. Judy was very
scared, but didn't fuss when the doctors examined her with all of their scary instruments. After a little while, though, her fright got the better of her and she started
to cry. She just wanted to see Mama for a minute. Now, doctors are of the very understanding sort and they knew it would not harm any if they let Mrs. Garland stand by
through the examination. After they were through, the head physician took Mrs. Garland aside and told her, "You've got some little girl there. I can't believe that she
was able to walk, let alone make a telephone call, in such condition." Judy had broken several ribs and suffered a punctured lung along with some cuts, bumps and
The whole event was exhausting and by early evening, Judy was settled in her hospital bed and was fast asleep. Mama was at her side. At about half past eight, the nurse
told Mrs. Garland that she would have to leave. Mrs. Garland objected. She couldn't leave her daughter. She was sure that Judy would awaken during the night and be
scared to death. "I'm sorry," said the nurse, "but it is the hospital rule. She'll be fine. Really you have to go now, Mrs. Garland." Mother went, but very reluctantly.
She was doubly worried now for not only was her youngest child in the hospital, but at home, her middle daughter Jimmie, was due to give birth to her first child at any
moment. "Lord," Mrs. Garland prayed, "Please keep my daughters safe."
At just after eleven, the hospital nurse thought she heard a cry from Judy's room. She went in and found Judy softly sobbing into her pillow. "Sweetheart, does anything
hurt you? Tell me, please."
"I'm... I'm okay... I just want my mother." The nurse smiled, "Well, she had to go home. She'll be back in the morning." Judy let out a sob. "Couldn't you call her and
tell her to come now?"
"It's very late. You close your eyes and in no time it will be morning and your mama will be right here."
Judy knew that mother wouldn't want her to cause the nurses any trouble so she tried to sleep but she just couldn't. She kept thinking that she would never see mother
again - how silly - but when you're laying all alone in a strange hospital, crazy things go through your head. The nurse heard her crying for over half an hour and knew
she wasn't doing Judy a bit of good this way. It was against the rules, yes, but she quietly called the Garland home. "She's really fine, Mrs. Garland, it's just that,
well, meybe if you could..." She didn't have to finish the sentence. Mama was in the car and at the hospital in less than 15 minutes.
The Garland family doctor happens to be a great family friend and also an important doctor in the hospital so when Mrs. Garland called him and explained what was going
on, he immediately made arrangements to allow Mrs. Garland to stay with Judy. Not that anyone could have stopped her at this point! In mother tiptoed through the
darkness of Judy's room. She gently brushed her hand against Judy's cheek. Judy opened her eyes and smiled the biggest smile the nurse had ever seen. "Mommie! They said
you left?" "Well, yes, I did. I... I... I had to. I had to go home and get this, didn't I?" Mother pulled a vague object out from her bag. It was Judy's favorite stuffed
rabbit. It was about twelve years old now, all torn and lumpy, but still her favorite. With Mr. Rabbit tucked under her arm and Mother sitting at her side, Judy peacfully
So it went for the next few days. Mother would stay for most of the day, then go home to bathe and change her clothes and Susie would stay at the hospital. Mother would
then return and stay the night. Judy wanted one of them there all the time. The nurses were actually happy to have them. The Garlands are all very friendly and fun to
have around. Besides, mother and big sister really helped the nurses, taking care of Judy, bathing her, changing her bed clothes, washing her hair, reading with her,
overseeing her meals. They even helped the nurses change her bandages.
Then, one bright morning, Judy's nurse came in with a wheelchair just as she was waking up. "Well, Miss Judy, are you ready for a little visiting?" Judy looked around.
Where was Mother? "You'll see." Nurse put Judy into the chair, bundled in blankets and wheeled her up to the new babies wing. Judy's sister Jimmie had been brought to the
hospital late last night to have her baby. Nurse brought Judy to the glass enclosed room where she saw her sister's baby, a beautiful little girl.
Mother and Susie and her brother-in-law were gathered in Jimmie's room. It was the first time Judy had seen her middle sister in several days. After the nurse left, Judy's
brother-in-law gently lifted his little sister-in-law out of the wheelchair and placed her in the bed next to Jimmie. The two sisters hugged and kissed. Susie joined their
embrace. "Now the Garland Sisters are back together again," said Jimmie. And now we have another little Garland Girl!" said Susie. Mrs. Garland later told friends that
seeing her girls like that was one of the happiest moments in her life.
Judy and Jimmie were in the hospital together for the next ten days. Now it was time for the whole Garland family, from mother to newborn baby, to go home.
"Mama, can the baby stay in my room?" asked Judy. Mother laughed. "No, darling. She's too small... and so are you!" The baby will stay with Jimmie in one room and I'm
putting you in my bed so that I can keep an eye on you. You'll have to take it very easy for a while, young lady!"
The Garlands made a grand entrance into their home where they were greeted by many friends and an avalanche of gifts for Judy, Jimmie and Baby. But for Judy the best
gift of all was to be back home with her family, Mama, Susie, Jimmie their granny and now a new baby. Baby Judy. That's right. Jimmie and her husband called their
infant daughter Judith Gayle after the little sister they all loved so much. Judy couldn't believe it when they told her. She just cried. But unlike the last time she was
caught crying, back in the hospital, this time she was crying for joy!