Sad and Sudden News
March 28, 2012 § 4 Comments
She was present at the creation, when Charles, Raphaela and I started this little joint almost 35 years ago. She had been an actor with Charles in a couple of plays I directed and she called me up one day in 1977 to say that Charles had given up that profession (the theatah!) for an equally meshuggene one–he was going to open a cafe. I called him up to ask about this nonsense and within a few days we had decided to go in on this mad venture together. He enlisted his then girlfriend, the beautiful Raphaela, and within two months, the three of us–Charles, Raphaela, and I–opened the notorious one-room cafe with the notorious toaster-oven and the famous espresso machine.
Judith was with us in spirit from day one, and physically as soon as we made enough money to have someone come in to do the books. Then Charles and Raphaela took off for Italy for 41/2 months (for which I have never forgiven them) and Judith and I ran the cafe. She became de facto our first manager and did the books for years. In the early 90’s when there was a recession (there were such things in those days, but you are too young to remember), her father died, she inherited some money, and–whoopee!–she became a partner.
Her husband Johnny, who was fifteen years older than she, unbelievably survives her. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge, he worked for Bell Atlantic as an engineer for much of his life, in his spare time he was a cartoonist and a playwright (we did one of his plays downstairs), but he began over the last eight or ten years to disappear into the twilit world of Alzheimer’s. And Judith began to devote more and more time to his care. Some years ago she made the painful choice to move him into a home. For the last several years she bicycled up religiously every day to tend to him. For the last several years he has not recognized her.
We recognized her from the beginning as a beautiful, sturdy, indomitable soul. We do still and we will continue to do so as long as this little joint still stands . . .
The family requests no flowers. Instead donations may be made in her name to The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (alzfdn.org)
Robin, Charles, Raphaela, Bob, Dan and the whole Cornelia Street crew