• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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The Angels Got Together

August 9, 1483 – Sistine Chapel Opens

August 9, 1854 – Henry David Thoreau publishes Walden

August 9, 1922 – Philip Larkin born

August 9, 1936 – Jesse Owen becomes the 1st American to win 4 gold medals

August 9, 1945 – United Stated drops atomic bomb on Nagasaki

August 9, 1960 – Elizabeth Susan Lerner born

August 9, 1969 – Charles Manson and “family” murder Sharon Tate and four others

August 9, 1974 – Richard Nixon becomes first American President to resign from office

August 9, 1995 – Jerry Garcia dies

38 Responses

  1. Sorry to have missed last week’s fun and games. Thankfully, I’m back in time to help Betsy celebrate Nixon’s resignation.

    Hope 50 is filled with a rendezvous with Jon Hamm and a kick-ass screenplay deal.

  2. Happy Birthday! Fifty rocks!

    For you and Jerry:

    • I was wondering how August imbedded his and one of mine ended up that way. I would rather you saw “I will survive” first!

      • I tried to claim the first comment (damn you, Sherry!) with huge embedded video. The message there is, ‘it may be your birthday, but it’s -still- all about me.’

  3. Happy Birthday 🙂

  4. I knew it was coming one of these days and glad to know it’s today. Happy Birthday, Betsy – you’re such an important part of our lives, and we love you!

    Have a great day,

    Kyler

  5. Happy Birthday, B.

  6. Happy Birthday, and thanks for having the best blog, ever.

  7. You share a birthday with Larkin? … jealous. Please have an awesome day. Run. Streak. Throw things. Stand by the side of the road and lob objects at passing cars. I’ll likewise celebrate … the felicitous occasion of your nascence!

  8. Happy Birthday, Betsy! I’ll be 50 with you for 10 days, then it’s on to being older than you again.

    I gave away 2 copies of Forest during a speech I gave last week at the RWA National Conference. Also pimped your blog to 400 writers, because I enjoy your daily dose of angsty wit that much.

    I hope you have a lovely birthday!

  9. Happy Birthday from all the lurkers too!

  10. Betsy, you really are a dream come true.

    I love reading your blog.

    Happy Birthday!

  11. Happy birthday, Betsy.

  12. Happy Birthday! May this be the best year of your life!

  13. Happy birthday..all the best kids were born in August.

  14. happy birthday!

    angels indeed! my daughter turns 15 today.

  15. And, it’s 8-9-10, surely a sign of something lining up just right.

    Your birthday may be the anniversary of the Tate-LaBianca murders, but I get to share a birthday with Charles Manson.

  16. HB, BL!

  17. Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    Your blog is a strange, well-lighted place. Happy Birthday.

  18. Happy Bday!

  19. Jasmine

    When they cried freedom, when the sweet
    mingling of woodsmoke and jasmine
    with dust – grass, granite, antelope
    bone – gathered into wrists which turned

    light the colour of blood, darkness
    a memory of the colour
    of blood – when their voices lifted
    that song and sent it echoing

    across Africa, I knew it.
    Sibanda had taught it to me,
    polishing the family’s shoes,
    squatting outside the scullery

    door. We both wore khaki trousers
    many sizes too big; no shirt,
    no shoes. I spat on the toecaps
    while he brushed: and while he brushed

    we sang: ‘Nkosi sikelel’
    iAfrika…’ over and over
    till the birds joined in. August birds.
    ‘… Maluphakanisw’ udumo lwayo …’ *

    It comes back to me, this August,
    now that the jasmine is blooming
    and the air is stilled by woodsmoke;
    how they cried freedom, and how I

    knew their song. A lingering chill
    pinches Zimbabwean sunsets
    into the cheeks of my children
    squatting beside me as I write.

    It is their song too. I teach it
    to them, over and over, till
    my tired eyes are pricked with tears
    held back, sweet smoke, dust and jasmine.

    *(Zulu) “God bless Africa … Raise up her spirit.”
    by John Eppel

  20. Happy birthday!

  21. Happy birthday, sparkle. You light up our lives. And it’s taking every ounce of self control I possess to not embed that Debby Boone song. Because you’re 50, so I KNOW you remember that shit.

  22. Best birthday ever to a formidable funny force

  23. happy birthday!

    funny, i’ve got this image of (hypothetical) you painted on the sistine chapel, reaching for ?

  24. Happy Birthday, Betsy. It’s my mother’s birthday, too. All the women I know born on this day kick my ass.

  25. Happy Birthday, Betsy. I hope all your wishes come true.

  26. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    *throws confetti*

  27. what an elegant way to mention a special date.

  28. happy birthday! so far my fifties are great…really…not just saying that.

  29. I highly recommend 50 and beyond. It is so much better than the alternative. I’ll raise a glass of a nice Syrah to you tonight. Now I have to go look up what happened on my birthday–doubtful I could live up to the Jerry Garcia thing.

  30. You get Larkin, I get Tina Turner.

    Happy birthday, Betsy, indulge yourself. See you in the near future!

  31. Oh, I’m sorry I missed your birthday. I’ve been staying (mostly) unplugged and off the blogs…and I missed your big 5-0.

    Happy belated birthday! I’m glad you had a day of friends and fun.

    How does it feel…fifty?

    I just hit 40 (in April) and I hate it. Getting old and losing my looks is evil. I still feel young. *sigh* I’m working on the graceful part of growing older. Sort of.

    May this be your best decade yet.

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