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This is Judith and Bernie

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Judith and Bernie are two people who, despite being in their late 70s, were remarkable in their upbeat attitude.  Both are struggling with health and chronic pain issues but clearly, it does not stop them from getting out, going to the gym, and learning how to manage their pain.

As we walked and talked, both were smiling and frequently laughing.  As we started to cross 64th street, Judith started down that block even though she needed to go to 63rd street.  I pointed out that she was turning down the wrong block, but she said there was a mother with a child in a stroller that had been coughing in a way that made Judith think that the child may have been having an asthma attack.  She could not see the mother, but clearly, she is a caring person, even for just a passerby.  I pointed out New Yorkers were really caring. Judith just proved that.

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I had just left my building and turned the corner on West End Avenue heading North when I saw Judith and Bernie walking towards me.  They each had a cane and holding hands.  I stopped to ask them if I could interview them for my blog.  Judith said they were in a hurry to get to their aerobic class at the New York Sports Club gym on West 63rd Street.  I said I would walk with them.  We began to talk with me walking backward as we headed to the sports club.  Bernie is 76, born in Coney Island, Brooklyn.  Judith is 78 1/2, born in Chicago.  They have lived together on the Upper West Side of Manhattan since 1969.  Judith asked me if I knew what a NORC was.  I told her that I am a social worker and my wife is also a social worker working with the elderly and that yes, I knew that it stood for a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community .  She said that is what the Upper West Side of New York feels like to her.

Bernie said that they get out every day and go to the gym several times a week.  He has had arthritis for 35 years and he needs the workouts to keep it from worsening.  Judith uses a cane for balance.  Both of them are retired.  Bernie worked for the Environmental Protection Agency while Judith taught at the college level in New Jersey before retiring.  They have no children. 

 

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Both Judith and Bernie remarked that they have a wonderful feeling for the people and the Upper West Side neighborhood.  They kept on walking at a very brisk pace to their aerobic class.  I hope to meet up with them again, and learn more of their lives.  But, I need to be willing to walk very quickly to keep up with them.