Editor's note: This is one in an occasional series of chats with local seniors about their lives, youthful aspirations, sources of pride and regret, plus a bit of wisdom to share with younger folks.
Judy Ritchie, 71, retired from People's United Bank headquarters in Bridgeport in 1992 after 19 years as vice president of depositor services. She then established the Great American Stamp Store, a Westport shop specializing in creative papers and art supplies.
During this Seniority interview, Ritchie said she and daughter Jamie Kilmartin, her business partner, recently completed their fifth book on papercraft.
Q: How long have you lived in Fairfield?
A: 40 years.
Q: Are you married?
A: To Wayne for 51 years.
Q: Children, grandchildren?
A: Two children; six grandchildren.
Q: Are you retired?
Q: What do you do?
A: Operate the Great American Stamp Store in Westport. We sell papercraft materials and art supplies. In 1992, I started the retail shop after retiring from a 19-year career as a vice president at People's United Bank headquarters in Bridgeport.
Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?
A: A teacher. My business partner, daughter Jamie Kilmartin, and I teach papercraft classes at the Great American Stamp Store. I was the oldest of eight reared on a farm in Minnesota. I was expected to keep busy and lead by example. Our teaching fits into that.
Q: What are your main hobbies and interests?
A: Travel and boating.
Q: Do you have a favorite work of art?
A: Anything people create with paper.
Q: What music do you enjoy?
Q: What TV (shows) do you watch regularly?
A: "The View" and "Good Morning America."
Q: Who was the best President of the United States?
A: President Abraham Lincoln. He went out on a limb to bring the country together.
Q: If you could tell President Obama one thing, what would that be?
A: I am not in a position to tell him anything. I don't know the first thing about the complicated issues he must deal with from the Oval Office every day.
Q: What is your greatest guilty pleasure?
A: My nightly vodka gimlet.
Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: People who talk on their cellphones while driving. I also can't stand time-wasters.
Q: What achievements of yours are you most proud of?
A: My children. They are good, honest, hard-working and ethical. They also are good parents.
Q: What, if anything, are you greatly concerned about?
A: That the next generation will not do better than their parents -- the way it's been for generations in America. It looks as though they are going to have tougher sledding.
Q: Best piece of advice for the younger generation?
A: Work hard and do what you want to do to make a living.
Q: What brings you your greatest joy?
A: My immediate family and my brothers and sisters from the farm in Minnesota.
Q: If you had a magic wand, what would you wish for?
A: The economy to improve so independent businesses can operate successfully.
Pmccormack@bcnnew.com; 203-255-4561, ext. 116.