An Autobiography To Be Remembered

Sometimes you can write an entire book about just ONE friend, and I know the perfect person–the ebullient Bud Klauber, a 96-year-old who is the youngest person I know.

He’s nicknamed Broadway Bud by those familiar with his passion for theater, which started in the l920’s! (And he’s not missed a single major production since.) His other passions range from art and music to baseball and travel (especially cruises, more than 20 of them), not to mention volunteering for decades on the GMHC AIDS Hotline.

In short, he’s thrown himself into life and he’s done it with style.

Having spoken to him almost every day for the last 20 years, I can tell you that he’s almost always in a great mood. That’s why I once wrote an article for Family Circle magazine titled WHAT MAKES HAPPY PEOPLE HAPPY.

In it, Bud shares the true secrets to happiness, which include gratitude and passionate involvement in life, always concentrating on the positive:

“We all have more gifts than defects,” he says wisely. “The secret is maximizing them.”

As a retired fashion executive who worked with U.S. First Ladies, he’s typically dapper in a snappy bow-tie and a wide smile. Although he has faced divorce, alcoholism, and a bout with cancer, the native New Yorker has an upbeat, uncomplaining nature.

 

 

“Keeping my attitude up is from training,” he says. “It’s something I learned at an early age from my mother, a very practical, grateful woman, who lived to be 97. Neither she nor my father would tolerate much complaining. So I wasn’t brought up with pessimism or a lot of whining.”

On a cruise reading KATIE!

Happiness, he says, is fostered by being around those who have a positive outlook, which helps exorcise the demons that can bring anybody down–resentment, anger, guilt, or shame.

Bud’s son Ricky and grandson Jason

“I actually police those demons, and don’t allow them to penetrate my soul. Instead, wherever I go, I’ve got my eyes open for a dose of smiles.

Just yesterday I saw a baby on the street was beaming up at me from her carriage. It was just as if I was getting a huge dose of positive thinking from this smiling infant, who had no clue what happened yesterday, no regrets or worries like we do.

Grandson Jason and Pop

Happily Married, Bud & Kim

“In order for me to be happy, I feel grateful for what I have and don’t pine for what I don’t have.

“I have a lot of younger friends who keep me vital and energized. That’s key. I also have my husband, Kim, the foundation of my happiness. He is pure giving, unconditional generosity and loyalty–a person with real empathy.

“I also have a very close relationship with my son, Ricky, my lovely daughter-in-law Ryn, as pictured above, and my grandson, Jason. And now, I’m even a great-grandfather now to adorable Theodora.

All this keeps my mind churning and learning. Sure, I’m human and I have mood swings–life isn’t Cinderella.”

Indeed, there were some very rough years: “When I was much younger, alcohol used to take away some of the pain that resulted from my not being able to achieve goals I had imagined for myself. There was also a broken marriage and work pressures, leading to panic attacks and depression.

“But all this changed with sobriety. My confidence and my interest in other people skyrocketed. I became more alert, more industrious. I came out of my funk and let go of the ‘poor me,’ and stopped obsessing on things I had no control over.

“Now the simplest things make me happy. I focus on listening to great music. Talking to friends. I turn to flowers, to Central Park, to a song that recalls a happy moment, to meditating, praying—and to ALANON, the 12-Step program that totally turned my life around.

“Even when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, I didn’t shut down at all and continued my activities. I was grateful it was discovered early and underwent radiation and chemotherapy with confidence. The cancer is now undetectable.

Bud and Glenn

“All in all, I don’t feel 96. I feel GOOD! So the chronological number doesn’t matter to me. I handle loss realistically. When my contemporaries get sick or pass away, it’s very sad.

“But I’m still functioning and can’t let it get me down. It’s just another sign to maximize on today, to make every minute count!”