top of page

Heidi and Johnita

Heidi_Johnita_black dresses.jpg

Heidi and I were twins, not in looks or backgrounds — although if you look closely at the pictures you may notice us often wearing similar teal and aqua jackets or outfits or earrings, never planned in advance except once but always a delightful surprise. We were blown away during one visit to discover that we even had the exact same toothbrush. 

Heidi_Johnita_on bus.jpg

The one time I tried to capitalize on this sameness was during a psychology experiment I conducted in college based on the Clark and Clark doll study where two young women (Heidi and I) walked around Harvard Square separately and dressed similarly, dropping pencils to see if there would be a difference in how many bystanders would stop to help us based on race. Heidi was mirthful about the experiment from the beginning because she felt there was no way people would even bother to stop to help her but I was confident enough in my theory that we were enough alike that if they didn’t help one or the other it would be because of our race. It seems silly now but I truly believe Heidi and I were like twins because we had twin spirits and still do. Nothing demonstrated it more than our love for laughter even in the face of students yelling at us from above in Greenough Hall or on Widener’s steps for being too loud. 

Heidi_Johnita_ Heidi dancing.jpg

Heidi was also a fabulous and humorous storyteller which I’m not. Every word from her mouth was a story. She has so many funny stories to tell of some of the pictures I’ve included. From me standing outside Pennypacker during Hurricane Gloria to collect rainwater for extra credit for a class called “The Atmosphere” to the green earrings I bought for my first special dance with my boyfriend TJ, to my photo with Mr. Lips (you know who you are and Heidi was particularly pleased that we would be on a panel together during our 30th reunion last year; I am so grateful Heidi could spend time with my kids at our 25th and 30th reunions. It was the highlight of their time, particularly for Jovana, who treasured her fun and stylish godmother). The stories I don’t have pictures of are indelibly marked in my memory. “I’m already home.” (Emphasis on already!). Ocean crescent. And so much more. I loved Heidi’s stories so much — particularly her retelling of MY stories — that I told her I wanted her to be my eulogist. But she refused because that would have interfered with our prior pact to die at the same time wearing the same outfit in Bert & Ernie beds ideally in Rome!! 


Heidi was my biggest cheerleader, always making me feel like the most special, accomplished and beautiful person in the world. She shared the role with my mother, who adored Heidi, and took over the role when my mother died. Heidi visited me in 2018 when I was making a speech at a conference in Florida and left these wonderful post-it notes for me to find after she left: 

Heidi_Johnita_text space Applause.png

 I later told Heidi that I heard Gayle speak at an event where she said she never thought of herself as being in Oprah’s shadow. She’s always been in her light

Heidi_Johnita_Tina concert.jpg
Heidi_Johnita_Tina bus.jpg

I am forever grateful that I texted Heidi on Thanksgiving last year to tell her how sorry I was that I would be in NY on her birthday going to the Tina Turner show for a work holiday outing but I would hope to take her in the future. That’s how we found out we would BOTH be in New York ON HER BIRTHDAY at the TINA TURNER musical!!! She had told me in July when she was at the clinic in Bavaria and I was in Ireland that I shouldn’t come to visit her then but that “when [her] body was [her] body again, maybe we could work out something purely fun. Wherever we both happen to be.”  It was destined that our twin spirits would find a way for our bodies to be together one last time to celebrate. 


Heidi_Johnita_Murphy's bar.jpg
Heidi sent me the wonderful picture of Allihies from Ireland two days before her spirit left her body to roam free. Now I will forever be in Heidi’s light. 
Heidi_Johnita_in city.jpg
Heidi_Johnita_water bottle.jpg
Heidi_Johnita_Tina concert.jpg
Heidi_Johnita_Tina shoe.jpg
Heidi_Johnita_Tina bus.jpg
Hurricane Gloria,
meet Pennypacker
Miami Vice - Strike a Pose
Heidi_Johnita_old photo Johnita.jpg
Mr. Lips
Saying Goodbye to College Friends--- But Not for Long
Kind of Fun to be Between Two Cute Guys on a Bed
Heidi_Johnita_in the middle.jpg
The Earrings
Heidi,  Meet my Grad School Friends in England
Saying Hello To Salou, Spain!
Heidi_Johnita_ciutat publica 1990.jpg
Sure, Let's Laugh in a Tree
Reunited at My Sister's College Graduation in Connecticut
Looking Glam at My Wedding Shower
Heidi_Johnita_with kids.jpeg
Heidi with Jaxon and Jovana at our 25th Reunion
Twins Again at My Wedding in Miami
Heidi_Johnita_in city.jpg
Meeting in Miami for Brunch and a Car Show in Coral Gables
Heidi Surprises Jovana on Her 10th Birthday
Heidi_Johnita_son birthday.jpg
Heidi_Johnita_ Heidi dancing.jpg
Together at my 50th Birthday in Rome!!
Thank You, Heidi, for Giving Me Yet More of Your Clothes
Johnita_heidi_ michelle prize.jpg
Heidi Wins the Award for “Best Laughter” at My Birthday Party!!
Matching Jackets in Rome
Selfie with Jaxon and Jovana at Our 30th Reunion before Hanging Out with Heidi
Heidi_Johnita_Tina concert.jpg
Heidi Takes a Picture of Me (and Colin Powell) from the Balcony with Kevin at the Tina Turner Show on Her Birthday Last Year!!!
Tina Turner Then and Now!!!
Heidi_Johnita_Tina shoe.jpg
My Concert Shoes!!!
The Tina Turner Bus
Heidi_Johnita_Tina bus.jpg
Heidi_Johnita_water bottle.jpg
Jovana Delighted to Discover Heidi's Present a Few Weeks After Christmas
Heidi_Johnita_Murphy's bar.jpg
Heidi Found Peace During Her Last Trip to Ireland
Heidi_Johnita_car radio.jpg
The Beautiful Song Playing as Heidi's Spirit Soared
Heidi was Thrilled to Walk By MLK and my Dad Every Day in St. Augustine 
bottom of page