It has been a great honor for me to serve with Judith on the Anne O'Hare McCormick Scholarship Trustees board.
I hope always to gracefully and generously pass the torch, as Judith learned do from Emma Bugbee. (Emma walked all the way to Albany with Suffragettes to take a petition, and filed her copy every night from the road in 1914!)
Here's just about how Judith told the story:
Emma had covered every Democratic convention, including the first one at which women could vote, for 30 years for the Tribune and later the Herald-Tribune. Judith was called into the editor's inner sanctum and told that she would be covering the convention. After a moment of joy and elation at the news, fast on the heels of that emotion came the thought of, "What will Emma say?" She said as much aloud, and the editor said, "Don't worry. I haven't told her yet, but it will be fine."
Each night for a week, Judith went home and said to her husband Bill, "I can't even take pleasure in this, because I so love and respect Emma and I don't know how she will take it," or words to that effect.
One day, Judith saw Emma go into the editor's office; the door closed. About 10 minutes later, Emma came out and headed straight for Judy's desk. Judith put her head down, dreading what Emma would say. Emma came up to her with a big smile and said, "I"ve just had the best news; you're going to cover the convention." She then told Judith that she would give her all her phone numbers and contacts and all the help she could give in every way.
Judith said she learned from that to pass the torch to others.
Yet Emma, who was called out of retirement at 93, not long before her death, to do a story concerning Eleanor Roosevelt, was nobody's fool. Her job insurance at the Trib was one closely held number she gave to nobody, Eleanor's private number. If you couldn't reach Mrs. Roosevelt, you had to go to Emma and ask her to do it.
One more Judith story:
The first time Judith went out on a movie review, she was happy to have the chance but worried about leaving the baby, Stephen, with her husband Bill for the evening. He assured her that it would be fine. She went.
When she returned, the baby was . . . missing. Bill hadn't noticed. Luckily, Stephen had crawled behind the sofa and fallen peacefully asleep. As we all know, it was not the end of her movie-reviewing career, to the delight of millions. But it was a close call.
I have told these stories as faithfully as possible, but if others who heard them can add details, I hope that they will.
On a personal note, when Judith discovered that I was the last person in America to not have pierced ears, she immediately sent several pairs of earrings made by her father, the Kenneth Jay Lane of his day, as she said. It was typical of her thoughtfulness.
So long as she influences our lives and as long as we tell stories of her, Judith is still in the world with us. She was quite a dame.