Judy Kay-Wolff

When Life was more normal …

Back in June of 1984, I celebrated a momentous birthday (my 50th) and Norman (I later learned) had a coterie of my friends stealthily help him arrange a grand luncheon with about 60 guests.  It was a conglomerate of family, business chums, buddies from our trotting and pacing interests and friends (both normal ones and the bridge variety).   Besides keeping the big secret, he wrote to all my favorites and presented me with an album containing photos, notes, letters, etc. which I came upon quite by accident the day we returned from Detroit’s Senior Trials and it seemed so appropriate because my 77th birthday was that very day.   Perhaps it is fate that caused me to happen upon it that day and hyped me up to share some of the enclosures from the bulging scrapbook.   Here goes (in the order they were placed  in the album):

1.  An autographed photo of the cast of “Dynasty” (John Forsythe, Linda Evans, Heather Locklear, et al.); 2. A similar one from the show “Dallas” with Larry Hagman, Barbara Bel Geddes, Patrick Duffy, etc.; 3. An autographed note from our neighbor, ex Philly catcher Tim McCarver; 4.  Happy Birthday Greetings from the one and only Bob Hope; 5/6 . Two individual personalized 8 x 10’s from Larry Hagman (calling me  Judy Darlin’) and one from Linda Gray; 7. A letter signed by Tom Brokaw; 8. A personalized 8 x 10 from Don Rickles; 9.  Another from the famous “Judge Wapner; 10. An adorable autographed photo from Johnny Carson; 11 A typewritten letter from the Queen’s Lady-in-Waiting with the monogram of Buckingham Palace’ ; 12. A note and photo from Wayne (Newton) – with “Love and Best Wishes”; 13. A typewritten letter and  personally autographed photo from Paul Owens, then manager of my beloved Phillies; 14. “Greetings” and a lovely 4 x 6 from Helen Hayes; 15.  Short note from Eagles head coach, Marion Campbell, another one of my favorites; 16. A personal letter from Jim Mora, Head Coach of The Philadelphia Stars (USFL); 17. Autographed photo signed Love, Larry King (headphones and all); 18. Birthday Card signed by Philadelphia then-Mayor Frank Rizzo.  19  A photo of THE POPE and accompanying letter from the Secretariat of State of the Vatican. 20.  A typewritten letter of congratulations from then Pa. Governor Dick Thornburgh; 21. A photo of Frank Sinatra; 22.  An adorable handwritten note from Shecky Greene apologizing for not being able to attend, but inviting us to the Tropicana in A.C. as his guest in August .. and the beat goes on…. more …………….

23.  Letter from Gerald R. Ford; 24. Personalized letter from Senator (and basketball player) Bill Bradley; 25.  Letter from George Bush, office of  the VP.;  26. Typewritten letter from Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Spector; 27. And from another U. S. Senator (and astronaut) John Glenn; 28.  A note from Ed Koch, then Mayor of  New York; 29.  Secretary of  the Treasury, Donald T. Regan’s personal note to me as he was Norman’s boss as Philly ML Manager and then ML Chairman of the Board – and a modest delightful man; 30.  A typewritten note from the Reverend Jesse Jackson; 31; another one from the then-mayor of Philadelphia W. Wilson Goode; 32. From one of my heroes (#1) Philly Richie Ashburn; 33.  A note from Jane Pauley saying since she couldn’t’  surprise me for lunch,  this will have to do. 34.  A handwritten note of birthday greetings from Howard Cosell; 35.  A double handwritten note from Phil Ford and Mimi Hines; 36:  Presidential greetings from Nancy and Ronald Reagan; 37. A handwritten note from Gabe Kaplan ( Remember Welcome Back Kotter?); 38.  A long handwritten letter from Eagles Football coach Dick Vermeil;    39. A typewritten note from Senator Edward M. Kennedy plus …. notes from lots of my real heroes … Al Roth, Eddie Kantar, Dorothy and Alan Truscott; George Rapee; B. J. Becker, Sam Stayman, Eric Murray, Dick Frey, Sami Kehela, Ralph Cohen  and more ….

To the ‘younger set,’ many of  the names will mean little to you, but to my contemporaries and even younger, the names will strike lots of chords.   And … since I am exhausted from typing and I imagine your eyes are bleary from reading, I will send you my poetic thank you to all those who were in attendance within the next day or two.    Hope you enjoyed  the name dropping.   Go blame it on Norman who spent days upon days (maybe even weeks) contacting all the above world renown celebrities.


JoanieJune 16th, 2011 at 9:01 pm


Yes, here we are 27 years later and I can remember not only the album, but the look on your face when they opened the door to a rousing round of applause from your guests. It was one of the few times I ever saw you speechless.

The scrapbook was unbelievable and must have been a real labor of love for Norman. I can understand why you will always cherish it and the memories attached to that day. Even the younger generation would recognize the names of your well-wishers and so many took a major part in the destiny of our country.

Here’s to great reflections, good health and many more happy birthdays. Keep that memorabilia coming.



ReneJune 17th, 2011 at 5:22 am

I enjoyed the list of responding celebrities to Norman’s request .. from all wallks of life. I can understand why you must treasure such a collection.

Your mention of the first two casts (Dynasty and Dallas) calls to mind how we followed them weekly with baited breath. It was an addiction!

And wow — all the famous government figures and sports and movie stars. It had to be a labor of love for Norman but I would expect no less.

DENAJune 17th, 2011 at 5:31 am

It sounds like you have so much buried treasure. Keep plowing through them. They are so different than the average blog and read like a Who’s Who. Keep digging. The old stories are fun to read.

Judy Kay-WolffJune 17th, 2011 at 5:46 am

Thanks girls. Yes, I am a saver but you must agree these albums and clippings are pricless. I am so busy fighting today’s demons, I don’t find much spare time to go back in time — but I will make a concerted effort. I was fortunate to know just about all the greats of the game since the early 60s and as they say –they don’t make ’em like they used to. I am happy you enjoyed all the name-dropping. Brings back lots of memories especially of the icons of our game who comprised a small part of the famed individuals in other fields in the album.

I remember doing a blog a few years ago when Norman did the same thing when I won the Mixed Pairs in Canada with Edgar in 1967 when I was a virtual hack which Norman re-named “Miracle in Montreal.”