Judy Kay-Wolff


I remember meeting a very cute couple in the early sixties .. Louise Robinson and Richard Freeman.    They were friends of Norman, along with an enormous chain of Washington area bridge buddies which included Alvin Roth, Andy Gabrilovitch, Fred Karpin and Bobby Jordan (who later settled in Philadelphia and was Norman’s best friend and oft-time local bridge partner for over twenty-some years).    Richard Freeman became known as “Dick” but he has been Dickie (Norman’s endearing pet name for him) to me for almost fifty years (even when I proudly sat beside him on the Hall of Fame Committee in 2004).  

Amazingly, many of my late husband Norman’s friends married within a year or two of each other.  The group included Louise and Dickie, Edgar and Betty Kaplan, Lenny and Marion Harmon, Ivar and Alice Stakgold (perhaps a few years later) and in August of 1963 — Norman and I tied the knot.   In fact, even Jordan got into the act!  After losing his beautiful, dynamic wife Polly (recognized as one of the best gin players in the country), Bobby re-married.   In fact, I was the matchmaker, introducing him to Phyllis Friedman (a non-bridge player) with whom I worked, and Norman and I attended their wedding three months later.   That period was reminiscent of the classic Bridge Mating Season.

What fascinated me about Dickie was not his bridge (which came along much later) — but I remembered him in the era before the boob tube where they used an electrical device you may recall as a radio and I savored Sunday afternoons listening to a program which featured some ultra-young geniuses called THE QUIZ KIDS.   The two I envisioned most clearly were Joel Kupperman and Dickie Freeman.  These youngsters (and the others on the program) presented a frightening phenomenon that such little children could have such highly developed brains — light years ahead of the rest of us.    Decades letter, in 1963, I watched in amazement as Dickie, the visiting Bridge Director, whizzed through the matchpoints — giving the modern computers a run for their money.

Norman and I didn’t get to spend much personal time with the Freemans alone, but they frequently visited Philly for tournaments and many an evening we would all sit in Bobby Jordan’s apartment in Center City, playing quiz and word games.   We were often joined by Peter Pender, a legendary master in his own right.  Another couple who were sensational in the same ilk were Alan and Dorothy Truscott.  They had a plethora of word games.   My favorite:   The only word in the English language where the letter ‘F’ is pronounced like a ‘V’ (“of”). However, in good conscience, I couldn’t overlook another bright bridge star who specialized in the puzzle field (mostly with anagrams — and sometimes two words to be unscrambled into one) — and that would be Bart Bramley together with his wife Judy Wadas.   I believe one he posed to us was a combo of thirteen letters (Nearby Priests = Presbyterians).   I always loved dinner with the Bart and Judy but came to the deflating realization when I gradually accepted the fact I should have stuck to word games not cards.   However, playing bridge with Bobby is as much fun as the literal mind-breakers — and besides, I always love watching a magician in action — making tricks come out of thin air.

Forgive my rambling — but my friendship with Dickie encompasses almost fifty years and a lot of water passed under that bridge.   Sadly, with Dickie’s death late Monday night (though ailing for some time now), it is like the end of a beautiful era in my life and I shall always be grateful for knowing  such a modest, soft-spoken gentleman as Dickie Freeman.    My heart goes out to Louise.


MarthaJuly 1st, 2009 at 10:09 pm


I really enjoy the personal touch you bring to the blog, your memories are what keeps me coming back. I hope you will continue to share with us many more of these fantastic times you had the good fortune to be a part of..and still are. By the way I Googled QUIZKIDS and couldn’t find Dick. I think you should make Google aware of their oversight.

Chris HasneyJuly 1st, 2009 at 10:45 pm

Another bridge great passes with his stories in him. (I hadn’t heard.) This is really getting old. Please see my comment “Bridge Stories.” We have to ACT, folks.

[…] saw Judy’s Blog that Richard Freeman passed away a few days ago.  This picture is from the ACBL […]

JUDY KAY-WOLFFJuly 3rd, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Dear Martha:

Thanks for your flattering words. Yes, if I opened up my memory lane floodgates, I’d never leave the computer. Something always reminds me of something else and there I go again.

But how about you? I’ll keep ’em coming if you promise to reconsider coming back to the game other than when you, Blair, Bobby and I team up for sectionals and regionals. I know about all that repressed talent — so give it some thought. We need more dedicated and ethical people in the game to restore it the majesty it once had!

One of the best moves I ever made was calling Marc Jacobus and asking him to recommend a realtor here in Vegas. When you buy the first house you see, it proves you’ve got great vibes.