Summing up Seventy-Four
What I Keep


I wasn’t excited about turning seventy-five.    I would have been happy to put it off for, let’s say, a decade.  On the other hand, it would be a non-Thanksgiving opportunity to get everyone in the family together. 

Despite the bitter cold and freezing winds in New York City last weekend, I had one of the best birthdays of my life. 

I was not involved in the planning.   I know it wasn’t easy.  The grandchildren in Maryland had to get out of school early, their parents had to battle DC’s Beltway and the Holland Tunnel in a long-weekend traffic jam, and our always-traveling son had to fit in some time between trips to Korea and Brazil.  But somehow it all came together. 

We stayed in a très chic hotel next to the High Line, a park created from a once-to-be-demolished elevated train track, in New York’s (also) très chic meatpacking district.  Our rooms had gorgeous Hudson River views from their floor-to-ceiling windows. My only request had been to see the 9/11 Memorial so we joined the throngs of people paying their respects at the World Trade Center on a cold, gray Saturday morning.

Eating is a high priority for our family, and we did a lot of that.  Walking is important when you do a lot of eating so we did a lot of that too, only using cabs or the subway or ducking into a Whole Foods market when frostbite threatened.

But what really matters is that the weekend reassured me that I haven't done such a bad job of being a wife, mother, colleague and friend.  There were a lot of tears (all mine), as I made an individual toast to each member of my beloved family at our Saturday night, adults-only dinner.  There were more tears (still all mine) at my Sunday birthday lunch over my present, 75 Twitter-Length Tributes to Judy Kugel from friends, family and colleagues.

I will treasure it for as long as I have birthdays.



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Audrey Mitchell

Happy Birthday, Judy. I've been reading your blog since I was 67, so I got a head start. I turned 70 last week and was ready to start my 70 something decade thanks to you.

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