This is Judith
Judith was a writer and college professor, and although she taught, it was not really her passion. She liked teaching while she was doing it. The college level was interesting, but her true passion was as a writer. She and her husband, Herbert Gutman, were involved in politically left-wing causes. Herbert was a history professor and he and Judith taught at Farleigh Dickinson University, the State University of New York at Buffalo and the University of Rochester. In addition to all of this moving around, at one point, they decided to pack up their three small children to live in London for a while.
As a writer, Judith worked with and promoted the photography of Lewis Hine's project "When Innovation Was King." In the 1920's and 30's Hine photographed laborers, exposed the abuses of child labor and worked for the WPA and the Tennessee Valley Authority .
Judith also traveled to India, cataloged photographs produced in the 19th century that were similar to and predated Ansell Adams. She thinks they are better than his.
This is Judith Mara Gutman. We were both walking north on Columbus Avenue on a cold windy day in Manhattan. We somehow caught each other's eye at the same time and smiled as most New Yorkers do when they make eye contact with strangers. I explained to her that I am creating a blog about elderly New Yorkers who chose to live in Manhattan. This often feels a little awkward - I am letting the person know that just by looking at them, I know they are elderly. Not everyone is comfortable with that. Judith smiled and had no problem with it. She was happy to talk. She is 90 years old, born in New York City, but was an adventurous traveler. And, has lived quite a colorful life. At the age of 20, she and her then boyfriend convinced a car dealer to rent a car to them for several weeks. Rental cars were not something that was frequently done in 1948. They drove to Mexico and traveled throughout the country on their own. They got to meet Diego Rivera and spent time with him. What an exciting time for her.
Judith has three children and three grandchildren. Two of her children live in New York City so she sees them often. One grandchild is a social worker, working in a Methadone clinic. Herbert died in 1985 and she now lives alone. She said she loves living in Manhattan and when I asked her what she likes best about the city she said, walking every day, talking to strangers on the street, the theater, the movies, and the museums.
Judith continued on her way and a few blocks later, I again walked past her. There she was, talking to another stranger, discussing the damage that last night's snowstorm did to the trees. Judith is a true treasure, contributing to the fabric that makes New York City so special.