Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours

by

Lisa Wingate

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Judy Myers Stafford Character Analysis

Avery Stafford’s grandmother and the youngest daughter of Queenie and Briny Foss. Judy has dementia and lives in the memory care unit of an upscale senior care facility. Queenie and Briny were told that Judy and her twin brother, Shad Arthur Foss, were stillborn. In reality, the babies were trafficked and sold to wealthy families. Judy marries a prominent U.S. senator and member of the distinguished Stafford family. It’s only after she has children and is established in life that the learns the truth about her past. Rill Foss (renamed May Weathers) is Judy’s oldest sister and, with the help of Trent Turner Sr., reconnects with Judy. The three also reconnect with Fern Foss (renamed Beth Weathers) and Lark Foss (renamed Bonnie Weathers), but fail to discover where the other Foss siblings are. As a member of a prominent family, Judy kept the truth about her history a close secret. However, Avery discovers the truth and helps reunite Judy with her last surviving sibling, Rill. Although Judy still keeps her history a secret from the public, she and Rill live happily together in the care facility.

Judy Myers Stafford Quotes in Before We Were Yours

The Before We Were Yours quotes below are all either spoken by Judy Myers Stafford or refer to Judy Myers Stafford. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Personal Identity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Ballantine edition of Before We Were Yours published in 2017.
Chapter 1 Quotes

I’m wearing one of her favorite pieces of jewelry this morning. I’m dimly aware of it on my wrist as I slide out the limo door. I pretend I’ve selected the dragonfly bracelet in her honor, but really it’s there as a silent reminder that Stafford women do what must be done, even when they don’t want to.

Related Characters: Avery Judith Stafford (speaker), Judy Myers Stafford
Related Symbols: Dragonfly Bracelets
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

I scroll to the photo, look into the face of the young woman who reminds me even more of my grandmother now that I’m right across the table from her. “She had this picture. Do you know the person in it?” Maybe these are woodpile relatives? People my grandmother doesn’t want to acknowledge as part of the family tree? Every clan must have a few of those. Perhaps there was a cousin who ran off with the wrong sort of man and got pregnant?

Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19 Quotes

I crave a simple answer to all of this. One I can live with. I don’t want to find out that my grandmother was somehow paying penance for our family’s involvement with the Tennessee Children’s Home Society—that my grandfathers were among the many politicians who protected Georgia Tann and her network, who turned a blind eye to atrocities because powerful families did not want her crimes revealed or their own adoptions nullified.

Page Number: 224-225
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 23 Quotes

So this was my grandmother’s destination. It’s easy to imagine that she enjoyed coming here. This would’ve been a place where she could leave behind her obligations, her cares, her duties, the family reputation, the public eye—everything that filled those carefully managed appointment books.

Related Characters: Avery Judith Stafford (speaker), Judy Myers Stafford
Page Number: 289
Explanation and Analysis:

“I only took it fo’ safekeepin’,” the woman says. She hands me the tin piece and the papers separately. “That cross been Queenie’s, long time ago. Miss Judy write the other. It’s her story, but she never write the rest. They decide they all gon’ carry it to they graves, I guess. But I figure somebody might come askin’ one day. Secrets ain’t a healthy thang. Secrets ain’t a healthy thang, no matter how old they is. Sometimes the oldest secrets is the worst of all. You take yo’ grandmother to see Miss May. The heart still knows. It still know who it loves.”

Page Number: 296
Explanation and Analysis:

I think of the way May explained their choices: We were young women with lives and husbands and children by the time we were brought together again. We chose not to interfere with one another. It was enough for each of us to know that the others were well

But the truth is, it wasn’t enough. Even the ramparts of reputation, and ambition, and social position couldn’t erase the love of sisters, their bond with one another. Suddenly, the barriers that created their need for hidden lives and secret meeting places seem almost as cruel as those of brokered adoptions, altered paperwork, and forced separations.

Page Number: 298
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 25 Quotes

My father moves tentatively to a chair, looks at his mother as if he’s never seen her before. In a way, he hasn’t. The woman he remembers was an actress playing a role, at least partially. For all the years since her sisters found her, there have been two people inside the body of Judy Stafford. One of them is a senator’s wife. The other carries the blood of river gypsies.

Page Number: 329
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Before We Were Yours LitChart as a printable PDF.
Before We Were Yours PDF

Judy Myers Stafford Character Timeline in Before We Were Yours

The timeline below shows where the character Judy Myers Stafford appears in Before We Were Yours. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
...and be faced with the same tough choices that Wells recently had to make for Judy, Avery’s grandmother. Judy has been put into an upscale “facility,” but Wells and Avery can’t... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Thinking about Judy prompts Avery to think of the dragonfly bracelet she’s wearing. It used to be Judy’s... (full context)
Chapter 3
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
...wants to get the bracelet herself because she wants to visit her grandma later, and Judy would enjoy seeing the bracelet again. As Avery gets ready to go, she worries that... (full context)
Chapter 5
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
...adapt to life at the facility. Hearing about May’s struggles makes Avery think about Grandma Judy and how confused she must be in her facility sometimes. Avery asks if May has... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
May isn’t there, so Avery looks around the mostly bare room, silently comparing it to Judy’s luxurious mini-apartment full of furniture and family pictures. Avery spots a picture and steps forward... (full context)
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
...gave it away. May stares hard at Avery and suddenly asks if she can meet Judy. Avery notes a change in May’s attitude and the atmosphere and, to protect Judy from... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
May asks if Judy passed away and Avery explains that Judy had to be moved to a nursing home.... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
...an appearance at a DAR meeting to start winning over female voters. Avery asks if Judy ever played bridge with someone named May Crandall. Honeybee says Judy only played bridge with... (full context)
Chapter 7
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
As Avery pulls up to Magnolia Manor—the nursing home Judy lives in—she remembers what it was like before it was converted into a nursing home.... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Avery fills Judy in on the family news and they talk about the town hall meeting Wells and... (full context)
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Avery shows Judy the picture she took of the photo in May’s room and asks Judy if she... (full context)
Chapter 9
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
...Crandall is familiar. Avery explains that May was the woman who took the dragonfly bracelet Judy gave her. Honeybee writes this off, saying May might have seen Judy wearing it at... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Family Secrets Theme Icon
...she can’t shake her thoughts about what the words Arcadia and Queenie might mean to Judy. Unable to get her mind off them, Avery makes up an excuse to slip away... (full context)
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...Courtney, who’s overjoyed to see her. On the way, Avery realizes they’ll pass right by Judy’s house, which the family still owns. Avery decides to stop by the house to look... (full context)
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Avery settles on looking through Judy’s detailed appointment books, remembering that once Judy told Avery she’d be able to read them... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Avery decides to look at some of Judy’s oldest appointment books. In one entry, Judy wrote about meeting Avery’s grandfather and how Judy... (full context)
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Avery’s phone rings, interrupting her thoughts—it’s Trent, returning her call. Avery confusedly asks if Judy was selling the cottage and Trent explains that he’s recently taken over since the death... (full context)
Chapter 11
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
...has are some kind of blackmail. Furthermore, Avery learned from an entry in one of Judy’s appointment books that the dragonfly bracelet has something to do with Edisto, although it’s unclear... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Family Secrets Theme Icon
...and smiles, which makes her feel guilty. Avery reluctantly tells Trent she called him about Judy’s papers, knowing that he’ll be irritated with her. Trent tells Avery she’s wasting her time—not... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
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Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
...gets. He only snorts in response. Avery insinuates that Trent’s grandfather was trying to blackmail Judy. Trent is furious with Avery for implying this and the two stand up and stare... (full context)
Chapter 13
Family Secrets Theme Icon
...of nostalgia. She’s on the phone with her uncle, talking to him about how often Judy brought him and Wells to the cottage when they were kids. Avery’s uncle tells her... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
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Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Avery tosses around theories about what the papers Trent Turner has for Judy might be while she gets ready to take a shower. Just as she’s getting ready... (full context)
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Avery realizes that the papers the younger Trent has probably shed more light on Judy’s interest in the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. Even though it’s midnight, Avery grabs her phone... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
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...are connected. Trent tells her that his grandfather might have been doing a job for Judy. Avery asks him what that means, and Trent says his grandfather was a “finder” of... (full context)
Chapter 15
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...confused because she doesn’t recognize any names or any obvious connection between this baby and Judy. Still, Avery knows it must have been important to Judy. (full context)
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
...Avery says she’s still confused as to what any of this has to do with Judy and she asks if he has files for May Crandall or someone named Fern or... (full context)
Chapter 17
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...says she understands and that she feels a lot of guilt over nosing around in Judy’s past, but asserts that she thinks discovering the truth is what matters. Trent jokes that... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
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Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...and wonders if they had anything to do with Tann’s crimes. Specifically, Avery worries that Judy was working with Trent’s grandfather to “right the family wrongs.” (full context)
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Avery notices a picture of four blond women on the beach—one of them is Judy and all of them are wearing dragonfly bracelets. Avery reaches for the photo and Trent... (full context)
Chapter 19
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
...hesitantly approaches the door, introduces herself, and asks if May remembers her. When Avery mentions Judy, May tells her to come in. (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
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May is in her bed when Avery comes into the room. Avery tells her that Judy didn’t remember May’s name but could remember there was someone named Queenie. May is unsettled... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
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Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...looks closely at the photo and says the picture is of herself, Lark, Fern, and Judy at Edisto Island. Avery asks if that’s where May met Judy. To herself, Avery admits... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
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Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...to tell her if her family is involved in the TCHS. May tells Avery that Judy was just helping May write her memoir until she decided to keep the story to... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
...mistreating residents. Avery is furious to learn the article includes a picture of Wells and Judy at Magnolia Manor. (full context)
Chapter 21
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
...Avery wants to remind the reporters that follow the family around at public events that Judy can afford to live at Magnolia Manor, but knows she can’t say that. After church... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
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...would matter. Avery says it mattered to her grandmother and is bewildered when Elliot says Judy is the reason Avery should be careful. Avery asks what he means, and Elliot says... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
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...soon. In the back of Avery’s mind, she still hears the words Elliot said about Judy and Avery realizes that Elliot doesn’t see how similar she and Judy are. Honeybee tears... (full context)
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The next morning Avery goes to Magnolia Manor to tell Judy about her wedding plans. When Avery arrives, Judy greets her right away and tells her... (full context)
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After talking to Judy for a while, Avery says she has to go and that her dad will be... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
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...less suspicious for them to have lunch together. Avery tells Trent about a drive-in near Judy’s house that has a playground and they decide to meet there. (full context)
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Avery thinks about her situation while she drives back towards Judy’s neighborhood. She wonders if she got “spoiled” in Maryland because she was able to be... (full context)
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While Avery sits at a stop sign by Judy’s house, she notices a taxi in the driveway and gets curious. Avery decides to go... (full context)
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...nervous about what they will find. On the way, Avery and the driver talk about Judy’s weekly drives until they arrive at their destination—there’s nothing there but a dilapidated iron gate... (full context)
Chapter 23
Personal Identity Theme Icon
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Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
...own it. Trent calls Jonah down off of the decaying veranda as Avery wonders why Judy would come to such a dangerous, dirty place. Trent notes that it is a good... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
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Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
...riverside cottage. Looking around, Avery realizes that this is the exact kind of place where Judy could relax and find freedom from her obligations and the public eye. Trent admiringly observes... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
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...asks Avery who she is, so Avery introduces herself. The woman asks if she’s “Miss Judy’s daughter,” which surprises Avery.   (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
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When Avery tells the woman that she’s Judy’s granddaughter, the woman knowingly says that Avery wants to know about the cottage and why... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
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Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...The paper says “Prelude” at the top and begins on August 3, 1939 in Baltimore, Maryland—Judy’s birthday and birthplace. Avery reads about Christine’s stillborn daughter and the distraught father’s decision to... (full context)
Chapter 25
Personal Identity Theme Icon
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Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...the only one to be appalled. Still, Avery wants to do whatever is best for Judy. May asks Avery if she’ll tell the rest of her family and Avery says she’ll... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...wonders if May senses that she’s been rethinking everything about her life since learning about Judy’s history. Avery asks May if she wants to go out for the day. May starts... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
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Honeybee again asks Avery to explain why she wanted them to bring Judy out to the middle of nowhere. Avery says she wants to see if Judy will... (full context)
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Avery tells Honeybee and Wells about Judy and May’s history. Although Honeybee tries to question the story’s plausibility, Wells seems to accept... (full context)
Chapter 26
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Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...if she would change the course of her life if she could while she holds Judy’s hand at Magnolia Manor, where they both live now. Although they can connect as sisters... (full context)