• 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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Baby Was a Black Sheep, Baby Was a Whore

Thirteen years ago, when I was five months pregnant, I had the chance to meet one of my heroes. I can still remember the dress I wore and how I nervously awaited her arrival at an Indian Restaurant high above Central Park South. I chose it for the name, Nirvana. When I met Patti Smith that day, she seemed delighted by my pregnancy and asked about the due date. That’s Darwin’s birthday, she said. I would later learn that Patti knew the birthdays of anyone of significance. My daughter is 13 now, and just starting to play guitar. The book we spoke of that day, a book about you and Robert in your youth, living for art and each other, became something more beautiful than I could have ever hoped for or imagined. And today, it was nominated for a National Book Award. Congratulations, Patti. Just Kids! Just Kids!

27 Responses

  1. I saw that today and figured you’d be celebrating. Congratulations!!!!!!!!!

  2. I was listening to “Lo and Beholden” just a few hours ago. No matter what the mix is on my iTunes, her voice and intention instantly sets her apart, like a wandering guide blowing in on the wind.

    Congrats to you both on the nomination!

  3. Congrats. 🙂

  4. I saw this on Twitter and felt so happy for you – only a fraction, I’m sure, of how happy you feel for her. Kudos.

  5. I saw this on twitter and felt so happy for you: only a fraction, I’m sure, of how happy you feel for you. Kudos.

    • Sorry, I thought this hadn’t posted then mussed up the reprint from my memory: losing a capital T, a hyphen, and a personal pronoun in the process.

      In my defence, I’m almost five months pregnant myself…and you’re one of my heroes, Betsy!

  6. You know how I feel about this. It’s outstanding, like her. Like you.

    And the guitar thing. Well, that is something, too!

  7. It is the least Just kids deserves! Great fantastic book that it is 😉

  8. I heard Patti Smith reading Just Kids on Book of the Week (BBC Radio 4) last spring. I only heard two (of five) days while I was driving in the car. I regretted missing the other days and meant to look for the book. Must do so.

  9. So wonderful. So deserved. Congratulations to you all.

  10. Stop this thread now, and save some exclamation points.

  11. A book to read~yeah!!!!!!

  12. baby’s got her hand out,
    got her finger on the trigger…

    escaping from the piss factory

  13. When you feel that you have accomplished very little of significance in your life…..this book, these two people, Betsy, and then I take Pete for a walk, noticed that my neighbor hasn’t been around for a while, two guys in her house instead. I see one of the guys and I ask where is my neighbor, is she alright. Oh, yes, he says, she’s in Africa teaching Rnglidh yo orphans. She’ll be back.
    So gulp, and I’m not complaining about anything today,

    …unless of course….that bus we’re always talking about runs me over.
    “stop whining”…..Joe Biden…

  14. Congratulations to both of you! I love the book and it will be one I’m buying for Christmas presents.

  15. Patti Smith is the only person who can rattle Leonard Lopate. I heard him interview her right after Just Kids came out, and she completely screwed up his timing — and there’s no one better than he when it comes to getting in rythm with writers. She’s so deadly literal one minute, so skip-a-beat metaphorical the next — never ironic, never “on”, but always almost naively self-confident about her art. It was obvious even in that one radio interview that she’s in orbit on her own world…to have gotten her to put that world in words and sentences and chapters is the beautiful achievement of that book. There’s nothing else like it; Congratulations.

  16. Congratulations. The book really revealed to me how the artistic and the spiritual run on parallel tracks. A worthy nominee for the award.

  17. I want to know how involved you were in that process. How involved in general in a client book completion.

  18. Congratulations!

  19. Congratulations!

  20. Very nice. Congratulations to the both of you.

  21. What a wonderful memory on a happy day.

  22. congrats! i think it’s a sign of good things to come, don’t you?

  23. That”s a cool little story, especially Patti Smith’s excitement about your pregnancy. Good things happen to interesting people. Strumming the guitar at 13 is great also. Has your daughter discovered pentatonic scales? Fun and more fun.

  24. I’m a little late to the party but thrilled to hear the news. Congrats. I read “Just Kids” over the summer and loved it.

  25. Betsy, nobody told you James Franco has been spotted at the JCC in a Satmar costume all this week, pranking people as they cross that stupid parking lot in which every space is strangely far away from the entrance to go past the Mermelstein Family Doormat and the Teplitsky Family Water Fountain and down the Yodelberg Family Staircase on their way to the Eisenstadt Family Elliptical Machines? Tobey Maguire dared him.

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