A wonderful weekend with my oldest friend


| vschneps@queenscourier.com |

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When I got a facial this past “getaway weekend” the aesthetician began by saying, “Mrs. Schneps, it’s my pleasure to give you a wonderful experience.” That set the tone for what happened all weekend.

My friend of 60 years is Judy Sheindlin, known to the world as “Judge Judy.” She and her handsome, loving husband Jerry hosted me at their home in Naples, Florida for a wonderful weekend. What a treat it was! It was filled with great meals, great talk, relaxing spa days and sunshine galore.

It was just what I needed!

We celebrated the release of Judy’s new book, available through Amazon. It’s the beginning of a series that grew out of her website “What Would Judy Say?” The book is entitled A Grown-Up Guide to Living Together with Benefits. It’s filled with life experiences that people have had from cohabiting.

I love her chapter heads like “Frogs Don’t Become Princes.” Here Judy explains in her clear voice that love doesn’t have to be blind. A young woman in her courtroom pleads that her boyfriend robbed her blind and told her they were destined for each other. Judy reminds the readers, “love-crazy is thinking that he or she will become smarter or more responsible after you are together and have worked your magic.”

What great advice. How many of us think we can change the person we love, only to learn how false this is? Well, Judy has example after example of this “love-crazy” thinking.

Then there is the chapter “The Art of Cohabiting.” Again in simple, direct language, Judy says that many times she hears problems in relationships based on one party’s lack of self esteem, the fear of being alone or the belief that they’re not good enough—all of which lead people to get involved in destructive relationships. Stunningly simple and direct.

Judy reminded her readers that the courts have no laws to protect people who live together. Her direct advice is to never share bank accounts or sign leases together. Most importantly, she urges couples to sign a “living together” contract.

The book is a powerful “how to” on the subject and a must read for anyone in a living-together mode or thinking about it. It can be bought by going to www.amazon.com.

But books aside, the weekend in Naples was made terrific just by being with a dear old friend. We spent hours sharing our memories and lives today. Although Judy and Jerry live the life of the rich and famous—owning multiple homes, including an estate in Greenwich, Connecticut, an apartment in Manhattan and one in Naples, Florida, a home in Jackson Hole, two magnificent his and her Bentleys, fabulous jewels and bold face name friends—her life is so much like mine, flowing with the tide of our families.

We both adore and worry about our children and grandchildren and their troubles and triumphs. We both take joy in their successes and pain in their problems.

Judy and Jerry live on the penthouse floor with an elevator opening onto their sun-filled apartment. The colors are all the ones found in a mango. The beautiful, yellow-upholstered furnishings in the main living room add to the warm feeling of each of the many rooms. In real estate, the saying is “location, location, location,” and Judy and Jerry found that in their building. It’s in an area called Bay Colony where there are several high-rise luxury apartment buildings as well as the Ritz Carlton.

We ate lunch there every day and I spent hours lapping up the luxury of the spa. The best treat was the seven-head shower. I stepped into the shower to find three heads on one side and three on the other, with one more on the third wall. With water bursting, I got the best shower of my life. What a treat.

Then there was the beach, just steps from the building. Just laying out, basking in the sun and listening to the laps of the bay gave me the peace I was yearning for.

Judy and I may live very different lives, but there are common threads and love that has survived all these years.

What a weekend it was. It doesn’t get better than this…