Judy Kay-Wolff


My sister Deedy (seven years my junior) and I were raised by a dynamic mother and a sports loving dad.  Of course long before the boob tube, we enjoyed the sporting events on the radio and looked forward to each and every game (A’s, Phillies, Eagles, Sixers and of course our beloved Flyers toward the end).

By the time I got to high school, I had access to a car (and as Red Skeleton might have said, ‘ You’re a baaaaaad girl.”  Why?   I used to forge my mother’s name on a letter to Deedy’s teacher, begging off to go to her dentist’s appointment.   Then, at noon time we would zoom down Broad Street to 21st and Lehigh to the legendary Shibe Park to take in a Phillies game.   As Deedy grew older, she became a die hard Flyers Fan and she and her husband, Alan, besides having  Eagles Football tickets, bit the bullet for Flyers tickets as well.   She was indeed a sports fanatic and quite knowledgeable as well.

In the meantime, as my kids grew up, I developed a wholesale sports memorabilia business (operated out of my lovely furniture-less living room in Penn Valley) until the local authorities got wind of it (because of the twelve-wheelers backing up to my front door daily with skids full of sports cards), s0 I wisely shifted locations although the inconvenience was unreal.  This was in the early-eighties   We finally rented a nearby 5,000 foot office/warehouse and had eight girlfriends working for a flourishing and fun-filled business and Norman and I set up at weekend sports memorabilia shows within a three hour circumference where I got to know most of the celebrities who  made guest appearances to autograph photographs as that just happened to be our specialty.   (Off the record, I can tell you the most accommodating and warmest of the old timers were Brooks Robinson, Ozzie Smith, Richie Ashburn, Wade Boggs, Carl Yastrzemski and a few more).

Meanwhile my kid sister had reached the age of fifty in 1991 and my business was still thriving so I decided to throw her a surprise party which Norman seemed to think included the immediate world.   My proudest achievement was to track down our next-door neighbor from the forties and Deedy’s best friend who had entered a convent.  It was not easy – but she accepted with blessed joy.   Now the problem – who could I get as guest celebrity who would excite her the most?   It wasn’t easy   My business was still open but (to distract Deedy), I told my staff I was giving them the afternoon off as we had been working long hours.  Deedy’s best friend was appointed to drive her to a neighborhood restaurant which appropriately I had decorated on the basement floor with sports memorabilia, a pianist and about seventy people.  I had written an amateur show which my henchman (workers at Kay’s Baseball Cards) had sort of learned by heart and after coffee time, the show began.   It was a laugh a minute but unquestionably the highlight of the event was when BERNIE PARENT appeared at the finale and presented Deedy with a headpiece crowning her the Puckhead of the Year.

I can still envision picking her off the floor when she saw one of her idols coming toward her and kissing her.   Yes, I had hired Bernie to officiate the closing ceremonies – an occasion Deedy still talks about.

(I’ll tell you what I did for her sixtieth another time).

I must add that Canadian Bernie Parent was (AND STILL IS) like a folk hero in the Philly area  — a perfect gentleman with a darling, warm personality.   We have NOT won a Stanley Cup since he retired and in fact the City is soon honoring him – so many years after his heroic exploits are history.

What a heartwarming memory for me.


alanMay 12th, 2011 at 10:25 am

I remember your telling us that two of the least popuar guests at shows were Mays and DiMaggio. Sure Mays must be resentful of the pittance he received compared to modern day salaries and Joe D. always walked with his nose in the air and was very greedy about salaries for doing shows.

Is it the same way with bridge superstars?

Judy Kay-WolffMay 12th, 2011 at 11:15 am


When I was first introduced to big time bridge, it was through Norman and it seemed like the creme de a creme — Kaplan, Sheinwold, Murray, Kehela, Kantar and dozens more. The better they were — the more cordial and gracious they appeared to me. Of course, the objective was excellence at the table. The professionalism of today had not arrived on the scene. There was no monetary jealousy and strong cut-throat vying for sponsors as exists today. I personally found the better they were, the nicer and warmer they were. We are living in a different world today as witnessed by the uheard of professional football confrontation. Today, anything goes!

PimoMay 18th, 2011 at 2:23 pm

The creme de la creme of all sports show guests, when refering to the greats of the game, is Stan “The Man” Musial. What an entertainer, what a heart. My personal favorites were the old Negro League players who had stories that were priceless. They loved to do the shows and always wanted to come back. What amazing lives they lived, what talent they had…..

PimoMay 18th, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Speaking of hockey greats, I did many shows with Mr. Hockey, Gordy Howe, who is revered probably more than Di Maggio was even in his heyday. He is Gretzky’s idol as well. He is one of my three great sports idols, all from a time and place where I learned the games, Detroit. Many years later, I did a show with Al Kaline, who is world class. At the time he was over 50, and he still could outplay most of the guys in the league. Of course, Gordy was still playing hockey. Bobby Layne went to the University of Texas while my father was attending. He was undefeated for three of the four seasons that he picthed for the Longhorns. He threw two no-hitters in 1946 and won 28 straight conference games over three seasons. He died in 1986….

My father was never an athelete, nor I, but he taught me well. He was the best of all because he too had that great quality the men above all possessed, heart…….

Judy Kay-WolffMay 21st, 2011 at 10:38 am


I never knew you attended shows. As you know I was in the sports memorabiia business. I look forward to sitting down and having a heart to heart. Should be fun!